Anti bottled water...a good idea, I think?
IMHO - Bottled water should always be an option. In some enviromental studies class long long ago I was told that bottled water in this area is actually safer then tap, although I did read that these resaurants 'took pride' and have installed filtration systems as well as a method of carbonizing the tap, having a bottled option just seems 'right'
this being said I'm perfectly fine with tap, the only time i'll go out of my way and ordered bottled is at that health code hazard of a restaurant with a 'employees must wash hands' above the bathroom sink but they're out of soap and the faucet is reduced to a trickle. not sure why i'm supporting such a shack to begin with...but c'est la vie.
i guess this isn't really the right venue to discuss this, but yes, anti-bottled water is generally a good idea. obviously, the environmental and economic expense of bottling and transporting water from hundreds or thousands of miles away is difficult to justify, particularly when our domestic water is deliciously refreshing hydrogeologically young and virgin sierra snowmelt.
there may be times, however, when folks might enjoy water that has been in more intimate contact with the earth, from which it picks up minerals, which in turn can impart a flavor or texture. acqua minerale is spring water, which is also ground water, which is also what comes out of a well. the specific 'terroir' of the particular aquifer will determine which minerals get into that water, and whether that water henceforth tastes salty, flinty, metallic, or soapy.
as an environmentalist, it pains me to say this, but as a chow i must. an individual here in sf can have a love of the flavor of a certain italian water, and that this cannot be reproduced simply by carbonating hetchy water. another more benign option would be local mineral water, like calistoga, which should be relatively similar to waters from places with similar, volcanic geology.
most of the time, however, all the flavor differences are slight, and are overwhelmed by carbonation, ice, a lemon slice, or of course the food and wine themselves.
the greatest exception in my opinion is the poor taste and texture of domestic water that comes from rivers that are heavily 'used' by agriculture or municipalities (like the colorado) or certain slow chloride rich aquifers. these often taste salty and soapy, and would be unsuitable accompaniment to good chow.
in other words, there's a reason good restos in LA or Houston should serve something other than straight tap, but much less of one here in SF.