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“Family affair”

Albona Ristorante Istriano
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Ranked #178 of 5,711 Restaurants in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $40
Cuisines: European, Italian, Seafood, Central European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: North Beach / Telegraph Hill
Cross street: Taylor & Mason Sts.
Transit: Last stop of the Powell-Mason Cable Car Line at Taylor and Francisco Sts. (1/2 a block away). No. 30 Bus stops at Columbus Ave. and Francisco St. (1 & 1/2 blocks).
El Dorado Hills, California
Level 6 Contributor
134 reviews
77 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Family affair”
Reviewed September 29, 2012

Our party of four dined at Albona last night after reading all of the stellar reviews on TripAdvisor. We were able to walk to the restaurant from our Fisherman's Wharf area hotel, tucked into a quiet neighborhood probably a 10-minute walk south of the waterfront area.

Our overall impression was that this was a very nice dining experience, but a few of the dishes fell a little short of "great." It's a small place, and I think we had every member of the restaurant staff greet us warmly or serve us at our table at some point during the evening. This was our first experience with Istrian cuisine so we weren't quite sure what to expect, but it's not your typical Italian menu.

The salad with the carmelized figs and cheese wowed everyone at the table, but the gnocchi struck us as just okay.

This writer very much enjoyed his rack of lamb, prepared a perfect medium-rare with a delcious sauce. One diner was disapponted with the small portion of veal shank, and thought that the polenta was a little spongy. The seafood linguini had a generous assortment of shrimp and mussels, but tasted a bit heavy on the salt.

This being a small establishment with a handful of staff, this is the kind of place you want to come to settle in and enjoy a leisurely-paced dinner, not a place to come grab a quick meal. We were at our table just shy of three hours.

The wine list is not extensive but has something to appeal to most tastes and to pair well with their menu. We had a terrific Barolo which they thoughfully decanted for us early in the meal to give it time to breathe before drinking.

Overall, we enjoyed our meal and the experience but didn't feel that we could give Albona an "excellent" based on the food.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Loves2Travel2gether
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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438 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    322
    72
    26
    12
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
San Diego, California
Level 6 Contributor
533 reviews
327 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 355 helpful votes
“Love love love..love love love”
Reviewed September 28, 2012

Love..lots and lots of love. I found this place from a yelper I follow and not only was it as amazing as described but so much much more. The food is Istrian but you can tell it has the discipline of someone French trained. The Gnocchi were ethereal puffs of heaven sent potatoe on a shallow pool of cumin scented beef pan sauce! Strudel? Yes! You want uh need to eat a delicate spiral of fresh tender pasta, ham, bread crumbs with bubbling white sauce, fresh basil and tomatoe confit! Pork stuffed with Sauerkraut dried fruit mmmm.. mmm good. Figs and syrupy black pepper glaze on catalog perfect salad greens! Slovenian Wine-well I've never seen or tasted that so the Waiter said "let's taste it" and we did. I felt so welcome. This is the Family I always wanted but never had and when the Cab we ordered didn't show the Chef drove us Home.
Please go here.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Challenger007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
257 reviews
144 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 375 helpful votes
“Wow....”
Reviewed September 26, 2012

Albona is an amazing place. Warm atmosphere, and terrific food. This is northern rustic Italian cooking not your typical pasta and gravy or fru-fru "modern Italian" cuisine. My wife and I both started with risotto dishes (seafood for me, mushroom for her) that were cooked perfectly. My Wife's beef fell off of the bone, and my rabbit was amazing.

The staff are warm, accommodating and knowledgeable about food and wine. The food arrived in a timely manner and at no time did we feel rushed. Albona was a terrific find...thanks to trip advisor.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank BrWayne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haleiwa, Hawaii, United States
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“best service”
Reviewed September 23, 2012

The food and service were both great- we ordered 4 dishes and told them we would split everything, so each dish came on 2 plates so my wife and I could split easily. Both the waitress and the chef Samuel were very friendly and helpful because neither of us had any experience with that type of cuisine. There was also a very old couple seated next to us and they asked the chef Samuel directions for how to find their car which they had parked at a nearby supermarket. Because it was actually parked a bit far away, he took their keys himself and went and found their car and brought it to the restaurant! My wife wanted to cry she thought it was so sweet. Anyway I highly recommend it for a cozy delicious meal with a staff worth the business.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank seg6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
“Fantastic service and yummy food”
Reviewed September 21, 2012 via mobile

We really enjoyed the food and excellent service here. The menu is quite inventive which made a nice change from most of the italian places in north beach. The only problem was that it's rather expensive otherwise we would have gone back more often!

Helpful?
Thank Wendy C
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.

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