Acquerello, San Francisco -4/23/2022

The restaurant Chef's menu Coffee/Mignardise/wine cellar


Acquerello opened in 1989 and is modern/contemporary Italian restaurant located in the Nob Hill neighborhood in San Francisco.  Acquerello has received multiple awards including two Michelin stars, Wine Spectator Grand award from 2012 to 2019, and has been heralded for its cuisine, wine, and service for over three decade.  The food is a contemporary interpretations of Italian cuisine from chef and co-owner Giancarlo Paterlini an Executive Chef Suzette Gresham. Both chefs grew up locally an worked at the San Francisco Hotel Donatello before opening Acquerello.   Acquerello (Water color in Italian) is named for the watercolors that line the walls of this intimate former chapel.

Acquerello street view has a very unassuming front.


The restaurant called me up and told me that Acquerello is the kind of establishment where they are requested to dress up.

I then called Phuc and Huyen telling them they have to dress nicely for dinner and they still requires men to wear a jacket.




Hoa and I we also dressed up for the occasion.


Everyone sure look like a million bucks!


As you enter the restaurant there is another glass door leading to a small waiting room before entering the main dinning room.


Over the top, a beautiful and tall flower arrangements on a wooden table that is lit underneath and stands out throughout out the room.

Around the table you can see the signature decanters and a bunch of opened bottles of wine.


The dinning room is a former chapel with vaulted wood-beamed ceilings, warm orange walls and contemporary paintings and the room is very inviting, comfortable, refined but never stuffy.


The vaulted ceiling is the only reminder that this was once a chapel.


Table set up with white-clothes table set with fist size roses, and classic design China that are matching with the color scheme of the walls. 


The dinning room is dimly lit and our table a simple silver vase with roses and a beautiful hurricane candlelight.


Traditional China plate with gold embellishment with the menu on top.


I am not sure if they have a la carte or not as our waiter only gave us the Seasonal tasting menu which is what we prefer anyway.


I also told them that Hoa and I we are celebrating our retirement and they gave us this card.


That is really nice of them to write us a special note.


The room feels embellished yet comfortable, with vaulted wood-beamed ceilings, warm orange walls and contemporary paintings.

We got the best table in the dinning room, our table was in the center of the room and we could see the whole dinning room.


For the special occasion, Phuc and Huyen brought two special bottles of wine: Petrus Pomerol grand vin 1998 and a bottle of Angelus grand cru Classe 2000.

Chateau Petrus is one of the world's rarest and most expensive wines.  The 1998 was a small production with only 2,400 cases and is probably almost impossible to buy these days and if it is available, you will have fork out beaucoup bucks!


Robert Parker wrote for 1988 Chateau Petrus:

Richly-scented like you wouldn't believe, earthy truffle, undergrowth, black olive and rosemary fill the glass as your nose hovers over it, and don't let up right through the palate, providing waves of first aroma then flavor. At 24 years old this provides apt evidence of why Petrus 1998 is a legend of 20th century wine. The vintage plays to all of Petrus' strengths; a classic Merlot year that here combines velvety soft-edged tannins that caress and cushion the abundant black cherry, blackberry and bilberry fruit. Traces of campfire, mocha and licorice are shot through every mouthful, and this is just so good. Jean-Claude Berrouet was at the helm at this point, expertly conducting the many strands of the wine.


The 2nd bottle is Angelus Grand cru Classe 2000 - It was featured is Casino Royal (James Bond) while Bond (Daniel Craig) dines with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in a railway dinning car on this way to the Casino Royale in Montenegro.

The dazzlingly fruity, creamy balanced Merlot were blended with the slightly generously-ripe Cabernet Franc. The wines have a purplish black robe and display aromas of blackberry, plum and blackcurrant as well as delicate hints of smoke and liquorice. They fill the mouth, are amazingly concentrated and have a magnificent tannic structure. The balance between acidity and lush richness produces a strong impression of freshness. These wines will keep for a very long time indeed.

Raphael is our sommelier and he was pretty knowledgeable and Phuc gave him instruction on when to open the wine.  Raphael and Phuc consulted each other and they both agreed that the wine should be in a decanter.

Raphael serving us the Chateau Petrus.


The Petrous is poured!




Swirling and smelling the aroma of the Petrus.


Cheers for the special occasion

I was a bit nervous to taste the wine as it could go either way (24 years old bottle) but to our heart content it was a fantastic bottle of wine.  A one of the life time experience thanks for Phuc and Huyen generosity.


Chateau Petrus is extraordinarily rich, powerful and concentrated, often with characteristics of chocolates, truffles, Asian spices and ultra-ripe, creamy, black fruits. Chateau Petrus is usually approachable after a decade or so in bottle, but the wines from the very greatest years will continue improving for many more years.



Raphael was relieved when he opened the cork foil and saw that the cork was in pristine condition and had no problem opening the bottle of Petrus.

Phuc told us that when he bought the Petrus in 1998 it was not released yet so he had to wait a while to get it.  Once he got the bottle, he definitely stored it at the proper temperature for 24 years and turning/rotating occasionally over the years).  Of all the factors influencing the quality of the wine, temperature is perhaps the most important.  Because it was stored properly the Chateau Petrus was in its prime! 


View of part of the dinning room from our table.


More view of the dinning room from our table.  The picture on the right is a cart full of mignardises that is pushed around to customers once their meal is over.  Lots of choices.


NEXT..... Tasting Menu


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