1911 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9411537.787411 -122.433658
Monday-Sunday 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm
Neighborhoods: Lower Pacific Heights (Fillmore), Central North, Lower Pacific Heights
This small, superb restaurant on the Fillmore wharf produces some of the best Italian food in the country -- more than outshinining its more famous sister, A16. No other bay area Italian restaurant combines technique, imagination, and ingredients in quite the same way.
Amazingly intricate Italian food abounds at SPQR. Chef Matt Accarrino hand makes the delicate melt in your mouth pastas and wine star Shelley Lindgren commands with her stellar selection of vinos.
Bland and cramped – I have to join the ranks of those who just don't get what the fuss is about. I've been there twice and had pedestrian food (at best) both times -- the food was not only bland but uninspired conceptually. The appetizer on my first visit was dense and tasteless. Tried the soup the next time and it too was absolutely without flavor (despite having a liberal amount of pancetta). The pastas were a bit better, but certainly nothing to swoon over and not even so good as those found at many other restaurants in SF. Add to that a much too cramped space (I was actually jostled by waitstaff on one occasion) and I'll have to pass on future visits. (Chez Nous, where and why did you go????)
Great food, but expect to wait an hour or more for a table – I read the review in the Chronicle went there with a few friends on a Thursday night. I arrived at 6PM & did not get a table until 7:30PM. There is NO room to wait except for the bar, which seats only 10 people. At 7:15 the hostess said it would be ANOTHER 20 minutes. Luckily a few seats at the bar opened up & we sat & ordered 3 appetizers (fried mozzarella, sausage with lentils & proscuitto w/ olives) & a wine. The food arrives VERY fast & is extremely good, but we felt rushed. Our 1st appetizer arrived at the bar just as our table was ready so the hostess came by & asked us to "wrap it up with Betsy". Betsy was our bartender. They require, or rather "recommend" you close out the tab at the bar before moving the 5 feet to your table. So we were trying to eat the appetizers while paying the tab & having the hostess come back & ask us 3 times if we were ready yet. That sucked, because I really wanted to enjoy our 3 appetizers, most of which we had to leave at the bar.
We finally sat at our table, ordered the young fried chicken, lamb, & beef brisket. The food is excellent. The lamb needed sauce, it was very plain & had a side of fresh greens that wasn't dressed at all. Very bland. The chicken came with a dipping sauce, although it was delicious all on its own. The beef brisket was plentiful & very tasty. They keep a constant supply of bread & olive oil on the table (the olive oil is out of this world but unavailable for purchase anywhere!).
The food was delicious but the Lamp Scollopini (needed sauce). The place is small & cramped & there is no where to wait. The draft from the door is AWFUL. Patrons come in & put their names in & hold the door open while they hum & haw with the hostess who stands in front of the door (there is no room for a hostess stands so she has to stand at the entrance). Also, they don't call you when your table is ready, you just have to keep popping back in to see if your table is ready.
I guess I need to try SPQR again – Apparently I need to try this restaurant again. I went shortly after they opened and was very disappointed. As someone who lived in Rome, the food does not compare to anything you would find there. the suppli' were decent but they definitely need to work on presentation of this dish (as well as their other plates). i found the restaurant extremely inconsistent from a decorative perspective too. the owners apparently could not decide between new age, modern design and rustic elements. the glasses were contemporary and non-traditional but all the servingware was earthy. I can appreciate dichotomy and creative design as much as the next diner, but this just came across as inconsistent. so did the clinical, gallery-like walls next to the beautiful organic floral/leaf arrangements. The hostess also forgot about us...they do not take reservations but if you're going to use that system then you have to be able to remember which patrons arrived first to be seated. some of our food arrived cold and the service was sub-par. the space is small, but somehow chez nous was able to pull it off without feeling claustrophobic (maybe it was the cozy red walls). I sincerely miss Chez Nous! I'll have to go back to SPQR to see what all the fuss is about.
The food-and-wine talent behind A16 bring a no-reservations Roman-osteria concept and seasonal menu to Fillmore's dining strip. – The Scene
In keeping with the spirit of Roman cuisine, which eschews the heavy use of spices and lets the simplicity of a dish's main ingredients stand on its own, this one-room space is white-walled austerity through and through. With table seating up front and a small, curved, marble-topped bar in back, there's little to distract the crowd of young professionals waiting for seats and dining from each other's company, save for a smattering of vintage TWA and Fellini-film posters and the like. It makes for an intimate--if sometimes a bit cramped for some tastes--atmosphere, but the attention to detail, service- and food-wise, more than makes up for the somewhat tight quarters.
Letting the spice rack gather dust means that each dish must work that much harder to make an impression--an intimidating enough challenge made even more so by the locals who still miss the space's former occupant, Chez Nous. Yet co-executive chefs Nate Appleman and Daniel Holzman have every element pulling its own weight, and many of those nostalgic diners may be forgiven for asking, "Chez who?" The roast chanterelles and sunchokes with pancetta and parsley starter are a perfect way to dip into the spare elegance of the menu, as are the bay scallops with dried tomatoes, red onions and breadcrumbs. The fried pumpkin, unfortunately, is overwhelmed by its own batter, but that's the only off-note. The aglio e olio with garlic, olive oil, pecorino and chiles is a perfectly able effort, and the porchetta with braised escarole is a good deed done for pork lovers: In lesser hands, the layers of meat and fat would need to be accompanied by a Lipitor prescription; here, it's not exactly health food, but the pure, smoky flavor inspires joyful denial. And as long as no one's worrying about the lab numbers or girth growth, the panino with caramelized milk, pears, shaved chocolate and sea salt, which is essentially the dessert version of a grilled-cheese sandwich with sw
Tales of the finger lickin? Line – Warm thoughts about tasty meatballs bathed in a rich tomato sauce and chocolate desserts that leave me speechless grace my mind when I think of A16...I thought SPQR would much likely follow suit.
The space is pleasant, the display behind the bar is catchy to the eye and the food at glance appears to be of great design. Simple pastas and meats, as well as an array of sides that should please any hungry palate. We ordered the "fried mozzarella," that appeared to be on every table as we entered and we found them hot and melty, served in a cold tomato sauce. We followed with the gnocchi and a brussel sprout side. The gnocchi was excellent in its unique polenta soft preparation, and while the brussel sprouts were definitely over-salted they were still perfectly cooked and satisfying.
Here?s the issue, upon sitting we watched in shock as a side of brussel sprouts left the kitchen and arrived at the expo counter heading to satisfy a patron in the foray beyond. Low and behold the man with the shaved head and dark rim glasses rearranged them on the plate, typical expo, and then sent them out. All was well except instead of wiping his hands on his ever-ready waste towel he decided to clean his fingers with his much closer mouth!!! We noticed this, as well as that he repeatedly tossed stray crumbs from the expo counter into his mouth too.
Our saving grace was that we were seated at the kitchen counter so the chef's handed us our food directly , allowing us to be the first to taste them.
Alas, the marriage of A16 and SPQR in our culinary dreams will not be happening as of yet. Our commitment to Meatball Monday's will unabashedly continue but as for SPQR, maybe we need a dash of a break.
What Fillmore Street Has Been Craving – As sad as I was to see Chez Nous go, I am beyond excited with its replacement. Althought the wait can be a bit long, the food is well worth it. Everything we ordered from the Antipasti to the pasta was outstanding.
Friendly service, crowded, average food, avoid on Friday/Saturday nights - overrated – Great location, friendly service, average (and really salty) food (we actually had to send it back to the kitchen) ...we will truly miss Chez Nous. SPQR is not even in the same league. No reservations = long wait for a table in a crowded/loud room.
Roman holiday for food lovers – Impressive opening. All the appetizers were scrumptious, but the fried suppli (risotto croquettes with mozzarella) were amazing. All the homemade pastas we tried made us swoon, specially the classic carbonara. Great wine list, fun vibe, and friendly service = successful restaurant.
They need to add noise reduction but I hear it is in the works.
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