Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Aug 21, 2003 07:21 PM

How is Bacco?

  • b

Has anyone been to Bacco recently? It's an Italian restaurant on Diamond Street near 24th Street. Yeah, it's me again, looking for Italian restaurants for my guests from back East. This place looks great, but I would like to get the chowhound view before making any decision.

Thank you.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Still one of my favorite restaurants in the bay area. Below is a recent post I made about it. I have visited once since that post and tried the following new dishes (which were all specials that night):

    Buckwheat polenta with whipped baccala -- two perfect squares of polenta, crispy on the outside, with great salty/fishy "mousse" of dried cod spooned on top. Excellent. Though the fava crostini are still my favorite starter.

    Papparadelle with pork and green beans -- Also excellent. Plenty of braised pork with flecks of onion, carrot, and celery with fresh green beans, all swimming in rich braising liquid.

    Puff Pastry with marscapone cream -- four light-as-air triangles of puff pastry, dusted with powdered sugar, sitting on a bed of vanilla flavored sweet marscapone and cream, with a scattering of blueberries. Wonderful.

    Compared to the other nice Italian(ish) places I've visited (Oliveto, Tra Vigne, Pane e Vino, Incanto, Delfina, Scalas, Bistro Don Giovanni), Bacco feels the most like an Italian restaurant in Italy. The rest definitely feel like American Restaurants That Serve Italian Food. Bacco's the only one that has a predominatly Italian staff (the hostess and busboy are the only exceptions). It just feels the most home-like, warm, and comfortable. The food itself may be a little more authentically Italian at some of the others (Delfina and Oliveto) but it is definitely more authentic than Scala, Giovanni, and Incanto. Without a doubt the quietest of the group I mentioned.

    My main gripe, as I brought up in the prix fixe thread, is that they do not portion or price their dishes such that you can have antipasto, pasta, secondi, and dessert courses. The pastas especially are huge. If you like that procession of courses, you'll want to share dishes (e.g., with two diners order one pasta and one meat dish and share both). If you're content with three courses of appetizer or salad, entree of meat or pasta, and dessert, then you'll be as happy as a clam.

    Bacco seems to get dismissed as just another mediocre Noe Valley restaurant. I think that's a pity.



    1 Reply
    1. re: nja

      Just reread my post. "Swimming" might give the wrong impression. There was no standing liquid in wich the other ingredients were sitting. Rather, there was an abundance of meat and vegetable rich sauce clinging to the pasta.

    2. b
      Bryan Harrell

      Unfortunately, I missed eating at Bacco this summer during my annual two-month stay in the adjoining neighborhood, just a ten-minute walk away.

      In years past, meals at Bacco have been the highlight of my stays in San Francisco. Forget most North Beach Italian food for tourists; Bacco seems straight out of Milan to me. Nothing I have ever had there has been mediocre.

      Also check out Firefly nearby on 24th street if you want American cuisine you could proudly serve to an Italian gourmet.

      1. Haven't been to Bacco in a long while, but I still remember the fish cooked inside of a sealed parchment paper wrap. It was delicious.

        1. Ate at Bacco back in April and had a wonderful meal. Excellent food (great risotto) and friendly service. The atmosphere is light (yellow interior) and upscale-neighborhoody, if that makes any sense.

          Note that the pacing is more "relaxed" than some other places--we appreciated it, as it made for a nice leisurely meal, but just so you know...

          1. Just watched Check Please 4/4/08 and Bacco sounds Awesome! I hope to go one day.
            Homemade pastas

            Any Chowhounds have recent experiences? Many posts are quite old.


            Ristorante Bacco
            737 Diamond Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

            4 Replies
            1. re: hhc

              I haven't been there for a while, but their risotto was as good as I've ever had in a restaurant. Nice quiet atmosphere.

              Search for both bacco and risotto and you'll get some recent reports:


              1. re: hhc

                As my profile indicates, Bacco is a favorite (both for food, and as I've also often mentioned, a sentimental favorite, since I went there on first date with hubby about nine years ago :-))

                I will admit, since La Ciccia opened I haven't been as often (I can walk to La Ciccia and overall I like the food better, and it is certainly more unique), but I have been to Bacco within the past three months, and it is still worthy of a spot on my favorites list. Certain dishes are standouts: the risotto is great; as is the fava bean crostini (come to think of it; it is Spring. Time to get back to Bacco to have some). Pastas are also very good. Nice veal dishes too. On weeknights they have a $37 pre-fixe.

                Service has always been truly lovely, and the wine list is nice (all Italian).

                One comment: while Bacco is definitely quieter than La Ciccia, I wouldn't call the atmosphere quiet on a weekend (which is one reason we tend to go during the week, when atmosphere is much more relaxed). On holidays it can be hopping with family groups, otherwise it tends to be more of a 'date' restaurant...

                Hope you check it out and report back!

                1. re: susancinsf

                  Here is a report on my Christmas Eve dinner there:


                  which reminded me that the stuffed shrimp appetizer is also a favorite, have had it several times.

                  And also adding another link; this one might have more associated with it than the duplicate link.

                  Ristorante Bacco
                  737 Diamond Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

                2. re: hhc

                  just stopped by last night for a spur-of-the-moment dinner with 3 friends, in part because of the recent flurry of discussion about this spot lately and also because it was one of the few places we could get a last-minute reservation for 4 at 8pm on a friday night. overall, a bit of a mixed experience--some good, some not so good.

                  to start--bread, apparently house-made, but too dense for me, not a lot of flavor.
                  apps: shared the bacco salad (arugula, gorgonzola, walnuts, balsamic vinaigrette) and the burrata cheese, served with prosciutto, arugula, olives. the salad was huge, pretty good, well-dressed, not too exciting. the burrata was creamy, delicious (how can you mess up burrata), and i found the accompaniments actually nice to have, although not really necessary. the prosciutto was yummy. also, a huge serving. the couple we were dining with also had the salumi plate, which they seemed to enjoy, but did not wow them.

                  pastas: gargagnelli with snapper, olives, basil, tomato sauce (a special). the house-made pasta was very nice, although i think i prefer it a little more al dente--maybe that's inappropriate for freshly made pasta? i don't know. the snapper was good, not overwhelming. probably not something i would crave or order again. i tried a little of the gnocchi with truffle and cream sauce that someone else ordered--gnocchi was a bit non-fluffy, didn't taste the truffle, just lots of cream.

                  entrees--shared the wild boar stew on polenta. pretty good. i prefer the version at la ciccia, which i love.

                  desserts--shared gelato scoops (vanilla, hazelnut, pistachio). the pistachio was good.

                  wine--a 2003 barolo. delicious!

                  service/atmosphere--things were hectic when we first came in. not quiet, but i liked the bustle. servers were very polite, the owner came over to say hello. i wished things had been coursed differently--the entree and pasta were brought out at the same time, which was a LOT of food, and also seemed weird for an italian restaurant to do (primi, secondi...?). also, things emptied out really quickly at about 10pm, when we were thinking about ordering dessert. they were nice about it, didn't REALLY rush us, but everyone was standing by the register, chatting, seemingly waiting for us to finish so they could leave. and actually, as we got our coats to leave, the hostess grabbed her coat too and put it on when we weren't even out the door yet and started leaving. this was probably our own fault, given that we are used to dining pretty late and at a leisurely pace, and it's noe valley and all that. but i would keep that in mind and probably not advise going for a late-ish dinner.

                  but overall, it was an ok experience, and i like the concept of the neighborhood restaurant. it would be nice to drop in on an early weeknight evening if you are in the 'hood.