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
What? I can't hear you! Pardon? Speak up! – My husband & I had wanted to try Aqua for a couple of years, so I took him there for his birthday recently. It is by far the NOISIEST restaurant we've been to in San Francisco! The ambience is nice, yet the tables are VERY crowded. The wine list is exTensive and very high priced especially for the white wines. Corkage fee was $30 so it was a good thing we brought our own Chardonnay. Every food course we had was excellent, flavorful and the presentation delightful. The Ahi tartare and mahimahi entree were terrific. Be prepared to pay $$$$. For special occasions in the future, we'll go to one of the many fine, quieter, restaurants downtown instead.
Terrible disappointment -- Avoid! – Reserved here for a special dinner to de-stress post-holidays, and was horribly disappointed. The food was allright even if didn't justify the $75 prix fixe charge, however the atmosphere and service were terrible, and the wine prices outrageous. We ended up just going with the 2nd cheapest Burgundy on the list as were so shocked at the food prices, and was still pricey and not very good. The wait staff were snooty and we were surrounded by businessmen talking mergers. It just seemed like a cash machine for people with expense accounts; no charm at all. Avoid.
Valets damaged car, GM Tony Marcell does not return calls – The food is great when dining with a small group and decent when dining in a large group. However, after spending several thousand dollars on a group dinner, we emerged to find that the valets had damaged our car (the muffler was dangling underneath). We called the GM (Tony Marcell) many times over several months to see if such a fine dining establishment would take care of its patrons, and he only returned 1 call with a "I'll see what I can do" voice message. We subsequently sent the service bill in and have yet to hear from him, despite many calls. I am happy to go back and bring many dinner events there when he gets back to me.
After a decade, this impressive destination still turns out exquisite seafood in a plush setting. – The Scene
Luxury prevails in this deep, spacious dining room, punctuated with jumbo-sized floral arrangements and looming floor-to-ceiling mirrors. Exceptional servers and a well-informed sommelier guide the affluent patrons through the pricey bill of fare.
With expert chef Laurent Manrique at the helm, the kitchen's execution approaches flawlessness, with culinary frills like ethereal foams gracing several dishes. But don't expect unadorned fish, since the chef treats his seafood like meat, partnering it with vibrant flavors and unexpected sauces. A seared scallop is set off by braised short rib, and mild-flavored cod is draped with an intense piperade sauce. Even the ubiquitous ahi tuna tartare gets an innovative twist, scented with bold Moroccan spices and lemon confit. Perhaps most famous as a foie gras advocate, Manrique's sauteed treatment of this delicacy is achingly tender, floating in a rich duck bouillon. Desserts, such as a oak spice creme brulee, nearly steal the whole show.
Amazing food – I took my fiance to Aqua to celebate his promotion. Unless you are fairly wealthy (or benefitting from an expense account), this is definitely a special occasion place. The food was absolutely wonderful, from the amuse bouche through dessert. They also have an extensive wine list that included something we had had in Italy but had been unsuccessful in finding in the US - a great surprise! The tuna tartar is ridiculously delicious - you can order the one on the menu, which features moroccan spices and lemon - or as them for the "original recipe" the includes sesame oil and pine nuts. You can't go wrong either way. It's no wonder that Aqua is one of the highest rated restaurants in SF.
Slow service – Food was great but the service was way to slow...should not take almost 2 hrs for appetizers and entrees for two people. When we did get the dishes they were hot and delicious.
Exquisite – Aqua is truly an amazing San Francisco dining experience. I've eaten here twice and experienced impeccable service and food both times (GREAT wait staff). The food is perfectly prepared and presented. I highly recommend the tuna tartare to start and the Hawaiian Ono as a main course is delicious. For those of you who enjoy souffle, try their coconut souffle for dessert....yum! Definitely get a wine recommendation from the sommelier to make the perfect dinner pairings. If you have a special occasion or have a close friend or family visiting, take them to Aqua and they will definitely be impressed.
Great food and great ambience – While unfortunately it was a little hard to find (there is only a very small sign that says Aqua on the window), and while it's very expensive, the seafood is indeed excellent. The 3-course prix fixe meal is a hefty $68. I chose the special porcini mushroom soup for the appetizer, the salmon for the entree, and the peach gateau for dessert. They have great fresh bread: sourdough and olive rolls, and sliced wheat toast. Before the appetizer, they brought out a tasty little complimentary plate with chilled soup and a fried tuna patty. The mushroom soup was delicious, as was the salmon. The gateau was so-so, but I tasted the coconut souffle as well, and if you like coconut, you'll enoy it. I heard about the complimentary cookie plate, but as our friendly waiter seems to have neglected us toward the end, we didn't get any. That saved us a few dollars on the tip, but even so I'm sure the restaurant makes handsome profits with the prices being charged. All in all, great seafood and luxurious surroundings, but there are probably other places in the city (Roy's for one) where great seafood won't overburden your credit card.
the best tuna tartar around!!! – Not so much to say about this place other than the room is beautiful and i LOVE the tuna tartar. We'll be back!
Pros: Impossibly delicious food, absolutely top notch service, comfortable atmosphere | Cons: Price – I took my girlfriend here for her 30th birthday. Via OpenTable I got our reservations and included a comment about our special event and requested a particular table I heard was "the one". We were greeted by a friendly hostess who, when we gave our name promptly had us seated at our requested table, where a birthday card from the restaurant waited my girl. The atmosphere was nice, and quite comfortable; we felt welcome and were treated to excellent service, and introductions from the sommelier and restaurant manager. This is truly a place where service is taken very seriously. We ordered differing menu items and received full place settings as appropriate to each course we ordered and each of our respective dishes (her appetizer spoon was different than mine by design). While we had time to ourselves to enjoy the evening, each course never felt slow, and occasionally was timed so that the moment we finished a course, one server would clear that setting, while another greeted us with the following course. Even the wine service was pleasant, as the bottle was kept in another area, leaving our table absolutely spotless and uncluttered, yet we never had an empty glass all night long. Every single dish was unbelievably delicious...it almost felt like some weren't even possible to create in ther first place. Desert was equally wonderful, and they of course again remembered my girl's day by writing happy birthday in chocolate on the dish that she ordered.
The ONLY downside for us was price; it is a place I would love re-visiting, but at around $150 each (with a reasonable wine + tip), it's not somewhere I can enjoy except on the most special occasions.
All in all, I would highly reccomend Aqua for your special night. I would encourage you to let them know ahead of time about your special occasion to give them an opportunity to do something a bit more special for you - I'm sure you will remember your dinner for many years to come. Cheers!
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