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The very best risotto..

Where can I get the best risottos in S.F. or the East Bay? Don't care about cost. And if I may narrow it somewhat, the wild mushroom and/or shellfish(scallop, lobster, shrimp) offerings I prefer. And butternut squash, if anyone does that.

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  1. the risotto at one market is the best i've found. but it is only served at lunch. and it has a duck confit on it that i don't think goes all that well.

    quince serves one -- it is good, but i wasn't blown away by it.

    i used to like the one at vivande, but they went out of business.

    the one at north beach restaurant is so-so at best.

    you are probably best off making this dish at home.

    1. I've enjoyed the mushroom risotto at Scala's, though it was a bit like eating a bowl of melted butter. I believe the chef has left or is leaving, so I'm not sure if it's still good.

      1. I think beretta does a nice risotto. I've only had the squid ink version, but it was nice and creamy.

        1. I think the best Risotto I had in a Restaurant would be at Acquerello www.acquerello.com It was a few years ago and involved Truffles.
          You would need to check if they have it on the menu. Though I would not be surprised if they offered to make it for you even if it was not.

          1. The best I've had in a restaurant around here was at Oliveto's annual risotto festival. I'm not sure they've done that in recent years.

            Bacco's used to be very good but I'm not sure if it has changed since the chef died.

            If you like shellfish risotto, you should try the arros negre at B44 or Barlata (same chef, same recipe).

            4 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Does the ArrĂ²s Negre have the creamy consistency of Risotto?
              Because it should not if prepared in the classic Spanish way. It is very much like the texture of Paella.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                It was not the chef, Vincenzo who died but his FOH partner, Paolo. Vincenzo did, however, move to their sister restaurant I don't remember where...Walnut creek? Either way, haven't had the risotto since Vincenzo was there.

                1. re: bdl

                  Oh, right you are. Vincenzo Cucco owns Divino in Belmont, which does not have risotto on the menu.

              2. Paul Bertolli used to make some outstanding, creative risottos (his ancestry and earlier experience were in Italy, of course) during his very long tenure as chef at Chez Panisse (the restaurant - he had very little to do with the Cafe upstairs) but he moved on. (To Oliveto, then beyond.)

                I'm not surprised at all to see Acquerello recommended. A gem in SF for old-world-guided cooking with integrity, in an era of flash and fad.

                Risotto is an easy and inexpensive specialty to make at home, very well and as good as any restaurant, if you know principles and use quality ingredients (like the right rice and good homemade broths). Most of the scores of times I've had risottos, I made them. Marcella Hazan's 1976 "Classic Italian Cook Book" (the original single volume, with all the side notes and quips that were edited out for space in the later reissue that combined her two classic books) laid out principles and nuances for many people in the US.

                I never get tired of a lively Milanese-style risotto, which has many little variations and subtleties. Most of the saffron I've bought (from Bay Area Indian grocers) the past 30 years ended up in that dish.

                1 Reply
                1. re: eatzalot

                  I've read some positive reports on Perbacco's risotto but I like their pastas so much I've never ordered it.

                  I've had properly made risotto at Zuni.

                  Bertolli's cookbook ("Chez Panisse Cooking," 1988) has an excellent section on risotto.

                2. the seafood risotto at sotto mare is always great. the risotto itself isn't the absolute best i've ever had, but it's still well-made and hard to beat the fresh seafood.

                  FWIW, some of the best risotto i've had is when i make the white truffle risotto from the french laundry cookbook - although it's so rich that it's more of an appetizer than an entree

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: vulber

                    I found that recipe. Will give it a try.. thanks!

                  2. La Folie, if they have the lobster risotto. A small portion of absolute shellfish and rice decadence. I could have died happy after I finished that bowl, LOL.