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Jul 1, 2007 09:08 AM

Perbacco, SF report - not worth the hype!

I made reservations on and was really looking forward to this restaurant. Unfortunately, it doesn't live up to the hype.

We were on time to our reservation, but still had to wait to be seated. I really hate that. I requested an upstairs table & we got to look down at the main dining room. It does get noisy downstairs. Pics were too dark upstairs, but I'll link them in my Kara'a cupcake post.

Breadsticks were good, but the salsa verde was Bland. We then got 1 roll each. Roll is very chewy and cold, nothing special. Butter was fine.

Dishes we tried:

Burrata cheese $11-red corn/cherry tomatoes, green onion, basil. I thought the cheese was housemade, but one of the guys there said it's from Italy. It was just ok. I liked the corn & cherry tomatoes.

Salumi -tried the tasting of salume $13-nostrano/finocchiona/toscano/sanguinato/soppre ssata. I thought they were ok, hubby really liked the blood one that has a tiny slice of apple on top.

brandacujun $9-Ligurian salt cod & potato gratin w/ crostini. salty fish w/ a weird potato like mash up that was very heavy. Crostini was ok. Had leftovers but waiter never brought it to us & hubby didn't want it anyways.

tajarin -$15 for large serving. Handcut tagliatte/5hr pork sugo/porcini mushrooms. It looked like instant noodles, but tasted Bland & doughy, nothing special.

Pappardelle-braised short rib raju/red wine/parmigiano reggiano $12 for small. Noodles were doughy. Nothing special.

Skipped desserts. Though we got 4 tiny pieces of Italian candy w/ the bill.

Separate bathrooms down at the Basement. From the 2nd floor u can take the elevator to the Basement (B) and turn left. Think there are many M/W stalls, I used a single Women's stall w/ toilet & sink inside.

Valet parking available out front, though on Sat after 6pm lots of FREE meter parking on Front, Battery, & California.

Our total before tip was $79.21. Expensive for crappy food.

Not recommended. We liked Incanto better.

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    1. HHC, I agree about the dark rooms, and it's funny, I liked the blood sausage with apple like your husband. I also had the same reaction that the handcut tagliatte looked like instant noodles. Funny.

      I didn't think overall it was that bad, and would be willing to go back for a drink and try more of the starters. I wasn't that impressed by the entrees.

      Service was good and was seated on time for me. It was a Friday night.

      1. The one thing I'd agree with is the lack of light. We had a table reserved, but I actually asked for us to be seated at the bar. Which was quite lovely on a sunny day in the city.

        Anyhow, a diametrically opposite viewpoint presented below.

        Here is what we had at lunch last week.

        Starters :

        Roasted red and gold beets with arugula and vinaigrette - outstanding, just perfect for those rare sunny days in the city.

        Salumi misti - nothing special.

        Appetizer / Small Plates:

        Pansotti with braised chard and ricotta and walnut butter - amazing taste, perfect execution, me and the wife loved the walnut butter.


        Semolina dusted petrale sole with asparagus salad - my wife seemed perfectly happy with this entree. And if you think I am picky ..... :-)

        Grilled lamb sirloin with salsa verde - this was simply fabulous. Succulent Medium rare lamb with vinagerette and the salsa verde (a misnomer, imho) had a unique mint-laden taste.

        Would we go back ? Absolutely !!

        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

        7 Replies
        1. re: osho

          I haven't had any of the other dishes you mentioned (except the salumi misti), but it seems there's inconsistency. One time I had the red and gold beet salad at lunch and it was great -- I was just as enthusiastic about it as you. The next time I had it, at dinner, it was terrible. It looked like half the salad and the vinaigrette was missing. The ingredients also were not as fresh and impressive as they were the first time around. Probably should've sent it back, but we were already running behind schedule to make a concert. It's that kind of inconsistency which is bothersome.

          1. re: shortexact

            Quite interesting. In fact, we are going to Perbacco again - next week.

            I shall report back on the consistency, or the lack thereof.

            1. re: osho

              Just wanted to report that we have been back to Perbacco more than a few times, and have not had a bad experience so far.

              Always been there for lunch though.

              1. re: osho

                Thanks for writing in. Of the two times I went there, the one I enjoyed more by far was also lunch. Glad to hear you've had a string of good experiences. Since this thread was last active almost a year ago, are there any new great dishes to look out for?

                1. re: shortexact

                  There are several more recent reports in other topics. Click the link under Places Mentioned.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Just got back from having lunch at Perbacco a few minutes ago. It was really excellent. I had dinner at Oliveto on Saturday and enjoyed the food at Perbacco more, and I really like Oliveto. I had the Agnolotti with herbs and truffle jus, the short rib and panna cotta. All of the dishes were very very good. My lunch companion and I made happy noises all through lunch.

                  2. re: shortexact

                    What I would like to shower some praise on are two items:

                    There was an excellent artichoke soup last week and the salumi quality has improved by leaps and bounds, in spite of the fact that some of the items contain huge bits of fat.

                    They also had an excellent fish entree about two months ago. I'll try and look for it in my notes.