252 California St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9411137.793509 -122.399552
Tuesday To Friday From 11:30 AM To 02:30 PM Monday To Saturday From 05:30 PM To 10:30 PM Sunday From 05:30 PM To 09:30 PM
Neighborhoods: Financial District, Northeast
Skip it – The snooty atmosphere didn't help us overcome the exorbitant prices and small, sometimes unappealing servings. Service took far too long (took 15 minutes to get our drink order) and food was undercooked despite our ordering request. Our recommendation - skip Aqua.
Disappointing – I was visiting San Francisco for the first time with my girlfriend and asked a local friend to book a reservation. He recommended Aqua but had never been there himself. I heard that San Fran has a wonderful restaurant scene and wanted to visit one of the best. The food was terrible and tasteless. The bill was $600 with tip for 3 people and no one had a good entree. I don't mind paying that kind of money if the food is outstanding. I was thoroughly disappointed and would not recommend Aqua to anyone.
Don't Waste your Time – The food is simply overdone/oversalted and absolutely not worth the price. Save your money and go to any one of the better nearby restaurants. Michelin 2 star - you wouldn't know that was the case, so disappointing I feel compelled to write my first online review....
DONT GO TO AQUA IF YOUR HUNGRY – First of all there is a set menu of 3 tiny meals for $75. I ended up ordering the lobster for an additional $40 and when i got the lobster i laughed, It was the size of a hot dog with no bun. . Between the 4 people i was with, the food and 5 cocktails, the bill came out to $600!! And we ate pizza after. I would not recommend this place to my worst enemy. and to top it all off it was my boyfriends birthday, so i told my waiter thinking he was gonna to do something special. but instead he brings a slice of cake with some writing on it and not even a candle. I don't mind paying $600 for a meal but i would at least like to leave the restaurant feeling full and satisfied.
Disappointing – My partner and I ate here recently, and we left disappointed. The evening started off poorly, as 25 minutes after our reservation time, no one had checked back with us on our table, so I flagged someone down, and we were seated. Needless to say, this is the sort of thing that just shouldn't happen at a Michelin 2-star. All would have been forgiven if the food had been up to snuff, but it was very uneven. We had the chef's tasting menu, which featured heirloom tomatoes. A couple of the seven dishes were successful--the gazpacho and the crab with tomato and watermelon--but others were uninspired, while the cod was so oversalted that we would have sent it back if we thought it worthwhile, but we just didn't eat it. Twice during the meal--twice--we were served someone else's dishes. Again, not a big deal, but just below par for such a highly touted restaurant. Perhaps we visited Aqua on a bad night, but we won't know, as we will not go back.
Definitely Not Worth The Hype Or The Cost – My wife and I wanted to take her brother out for a nice meal and decided that since he likes seafood Aqua would be the perfect spot. We all really wanted to like the restaurant, but sadly we were disappointed. Compared to some of the other nice, local restaurants (Gary Danko, Le Colonial, Fresh Cream (Monterey)) Aqua just didn't live up to the hype or expectations. We did the 3 course tasting menu and ordered the dishes our waiter recommended. The amuse-bouche were beautiful but all too salty. Our appetizers were definitely the high point of the meal. My wife's lobster soup and her brother's Tartare of Ahi Tuna were delicious and unique. My Foie Gras was fine. Things took a turn for the worse with the entrees. We ordered 3 different fish dishes and were all disappointed with the lack of any creative or robust seasoning or preparation. All were bland and kind of boring. The desserts didn't sound very appetizing and tasted fairly pedestrian. As for the service, our waiter was quite friendly and the sommelier was helpful, but we had to ask to have our water glasses filled and though we made reservations more than a month in advance we were seated right next to the noisy bar area. I don't know if the restaurant is living on past laurels or people are swayed by the emperor's clothes, but we were not impressed and won't be returning.
Avoid when it's busy! – We used to love eating at Aqua, but have noticed a real falling off in the service in the last year. In additon, the tables are much too close together (at these prices, take out some tables, especially the ones in the awkward spots!), so when it's crowded, Aqua is very noisy. Our last time there, the service was worthy of a restaurant charging half as much -- same course out at diiferent times, wrong dish placed in front of each diner, and we felt rushed. The food is very good, but this is San Francisco and we have choices.
Not at all worth the price – I took a freind to celebrate her having finished law school; for the two of us, the bill, before tip, was close to $600. We both had the prix fixe dinner- $125 each. After I complained to the maitre d, the service was quite good; before that however, the service was simply emabarrasing. The swarm of servers/bussers were trying to rush us out so quickly, that they were taking the plates while we were still eating; at one point, they took my freind's plate while she had food in her mouth -that is when I complained. We ordered a (ok, three) quite nice Barolo- but it was really over priced. The prix fixe menu was seven courses, some were excellent, but really only a few. The rest were simply mediocre; all were extremely small portions. The tables are far too close together; the guest next to us nocked over my friend's wine squeezing back to her table (though, I must say, the response was excellent; they changed the table linens in a flash, and gave my friend a card for free dry cleaning without hesitation). The problem is that you are paying for world class food, service, and ambience; you end up with pretty good food, spotty service, tiny portions, and you may as well be sharing a table with the people around you- lord knows you are regularly brushing against each other. The bill is the biggest issue. Without trying to sound arrogant, I have eaten in fine restaurants in many countries; never have I felt so completely taken (for what it cost, I could have flown to London for dinner). If you have money to burn, and want to see what a real rip-off is, go to Acqua. Otherewise, stay away.
Forced to either spend a minimum of $72 or $102 – I was in San Francisco last weekend for a last minute television show shoot with my photographer. Our company told us to splurge on a nice dinner so we headed to Tadich Grill just a door down from Aqua. My parents used to take me to Tadich Grill when I went to college in S.F., but alas, Tadish was closed. We didn't have time to look for other restaurants as we had to catch a flight and it was an early Sunday evening when most restaurants are closed in the Financial District. The service is superb, the ambiance is lovely, but the prices are outrageous. My mistake, we should have looked at the menu before we sat up at the bar to wait to be seated at 6:30pm for dinner. When we opened the menu our only options was a three course prix fixe meal for $72 a head or a seven course tasting menu for $102 a head. We were stuck!!! We knew the company didn't have plans to treat us to something this expensive. I produce lots of food stories for local news in Los Angeles so I was well prepared for tiny portions...tasty...but tiny! I have to say, after the meal, we were still starving and split a corned beef sandwich at SFO at Max's Opera House Deli in the Alaska airlines terminal!!! Okay...the food at Aqua was yummy. I enjoyed the presentation mostly. The morsels of food were tasty but I would not spend $72 again for it. You do NOT have the option of just ordering an entree...you are forced into $72 or $102. I love fine dining but I would have been happier with a Pluto's salad with tri tip steak from the Inner Sunset! If you do go to Aqua, check out the menu before sitting down....they may not be serving what you're into. I have to say my Langonstina starter was amazing and the apricot dome with cherries was something I'd still talk about. As you can see...a mixed review on my part!
Absolutely nothing to write home about! – I love everything having to do with food: I love eating it, preparing and cooking it, and sharing it with family and friends. (I am a New Orleans transplant, now living in the Bay Area -- so I mean it when I say I have a passion for good food)! Okay, after having been unimpressed with Aqua about a year ago, I agreed to take a friend there for his birthday. Unfortunately, it was my treat....
First, let me say the service is outstanding (as it should be at those prices), and the food presentation is actually a work of art. However, the taste of the food is as bland as straw. My friend had lobster; I had sturgen -- and they managed to find a way to make both dishes tasteless.
I would have loved to experience what the masses believe about Aqua, but I've come to consider they acquiesced to some form of subliminal mind control (it's in the water)! I will never go again...and for $300 and three bites of food, I got ripped off.
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