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.
Snake River Farms beef tartare, onion soubise, white celery, and Balsamic pearl onionsCuttlefish ‘tagliatelle’ with capers, chili flakes, lobster,and agrettiSmoked potato gnocchi with prosciutto, confited summer truffle, chive,and ParmesanAcquerello risotto with Brentwood corn, Tiger prawns, pancetta,and Calabrian chiliGrimaud Farms air chilled duck breast, beets, black pepper crumb, hibiscus and blackberriesMaine lobster tail with smoked butter, Brentwood corn custard, confit tomato,and tarragonBourbon-caramel semifreddo, Amaretti crust, chocolate, and caramel sauceComplimentary desserts to finish off our meal.And 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.