Bar Tartine

My family and I went to Bar Tartine on my last night in San Francisco. We left stuffed and satisfied. The restaurant has a definite light, hip San Francisco feel present in the restaurant’s design and transcending into their service and dishes. The dishes are unique, the best by far being the beef tartare flatbread; some dishes, like the lobster mushrooms, were disappointing.

Overall, I would return to Bar Tartine, but not for my last meal in SF. The bread, wheeled over from Tartine Bakery, is obviously superb. The cultured butter was better than the more eccentric lard.


Rye kvass / pickleback


Sliced Bread + Cultured Butter


Sliced Bread + Lard, onion, paprika


Beets in chickpea sauce


Lobster mushrooms and sorrel


Beef tartare on potato flatbread with green horseradish


Charred salmon with padron peppers, corn, and mushrooms


Smoked potatoes with black garlic


Sprouted lentil croquettes with kefir and coriander


Poached Chicken with white beans, tomatoes, and skordalia

Bar Tartine

561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 487-1600


Back in the day when my parents were young and hip and lived in Nob Hill, they came to Acquerello quite often. Since those days, Acquerello has steadily improved in food quality and reputation – and has become one of the best fine dining restaurants in San Francisco. (Comparable to Gary Danko, but by no means equatable.)

The restaurant is quite formal. Jacket is requried, and they refer to themselves as a “special occasion restaurant.” I was worried about taking photos inside, but was assured that it would only be a problem if I was distracting other diners. Given that the table next to us was a large, loud table yelling in Cantonese, I had no problem pulling out my camera for a few quick snaps.

Three complimentary starters:IMG_3622IMG_3626IMG_3627



IMG_3634Ahi tuna crudo, grapes, pickled Santa Rosa plums, rosemary, black olive, and tonnato sauceIMG_3633Frog Hollow peaches with burrata, rhubarb, black sesame, and basil

IMG_3630Snake River Farms beef tartare, onion soubise, white celery, and Balsamic pearl onionsIMG_3641Cuttlefish ‘tagliatelle’ with capers, chili flakes, lobster,and agrettiIMG_3639Smoked potato gnocchi with prosciutto, confited summer truffle, chive,and ParmesanIMG_3638Acquerello risotto with Brentwood corn, Tiger prawns, pancetta,and Calabrian chiliIMG_3648Grimaud Farms air chilled duck breast, beets, black pepper crumb, hibiscus and blackberriesIMG_3643Maine lobster tail with smoked butter, Brentwood corn custard, confit tomato,and tarragonIMG_3654Bourbon-caramel semifreddo, Amaretti crust, chocolate, and caramel sauceIMG_3656Complimentary desserts to finish off our meal.IMG_3657And a box of biscotti to take home. The biscotti were beyond delicious – quite different and wetter in texture than those I am used to (like my dad’s famous biscotti).

Overall, Acquerello was a fine dining experience. Every dish we had incorporated new flavors and was prepared to perfection. Surprisingly, I found the complimentary dishes to be more exciting and well-prepared than some of the dishes ordered from the menu. Contrary to some previous reports on Acquerello, we also found our dessert to be delightful. We were hesitant to order any dessert, given how full we were, but we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of pastry.

Acquerello was an experience I would do over again no question, as long as I am not the one paying.

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