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  • Address:
    550 Washington St
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    Financial District / Embarcadero
  • Cuisine:
    Price: $31 to $50


  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.chiaroscurosf.com
  • Email: info@chiaroscurosf.com
  • Phone: (415) 362-6012
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm Dinner: Monday - Wednesday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm, Thursday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:30pm Closed Sundays - We will open for special events (please call for more information)
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Alessandro Campitelli
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Late Night, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Montgomery St
  • Parking: Street Parking
CHIAROSCURO is contemporary restaurant that combines traditional values with a modern air. Inspired by the black and white films prominent during the Italian Neorealist movement of the 40’s and 50’s, CHIAROSCURO’s clients will experience a level of service that constitutes a class of its own and an atmosphere that will express a simple yet charming air. The design is reminiscent of a terrace on the Mediterranean Sea or a street in Rome and offers visual stimulus that sets it apart from the rest. The homemade pastas, bread, and a menu out of an Italian dream will draw you in by the succulent taste of rich dishes that will leave your palate begging for more.Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
Diner Reviews
  • "They emphasize Roman cooking and while the the hostess indicated that they tried blending old with new I have to say they have gone quite far afield of Roman cuisine. It is much more like nouveau cuisine. At a little over $60 for a small pasta dish and small main plate the price is quite high which they attempt to disguise by means of a prix fixe format."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "We loved the food paired with the wines, the service-the decor. Everything was wonderful & it made for a very romantic dinner. Thanks!"
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "Chiaroscuro aptly pitches their cuisine as "Roman", and in my opinion dining there is like a quick trip to that great city. The food is outstanding and although the ambience is quite modern (stark, almost), the service and attitude of the staff is warm and friendly. After looking at the menu, I asked the wait staff if they ever prepared deep fried artichokes. She returned saying that this was planned for a menu later in the Spring, but not available now. Not 10 minutes later, a pair of delicious deep fried artichokes appeared, compliments of Chef Alessandro. A terrific and memorable surprise! This place is a real find, and one of a few memorable dinners achieved in San Francisco during a recent trip."
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "Enjoyable meals, very good service. Excellent for lunch prompt service."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "The first time I ate here, the food was amazing. The second time not so much. In addition both times slow service, drafty and loud.. The wines are not wonderful and wasn't too impressed with their non alcohol list either."
    Dined on 2/12/2014
  • "We had a group of six and had a total blast. The service was always good, but a little inconsistent in attention, but very friendly. The food was delicious. I loved the scallops appetizer and my husbands trio of pastas was muy muy muy delicious!!!! I'd definitely go back!! It is loud though, but beautiful space and super fun!!!"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "Innovative Italian cooking (Roman, I guess). Simple, stylish décor with stone hard benches (because they are made of stone!). Competent wait-staff, nice selection of bootish vino. Occasional over-salting of some dishes (the pasta trio, which also arrived at 3 different temperatures...on purpose?) Generally a good experience worthy of a return visit."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Had been several times and enjoyed it. Took clients for a business lunch and when we arrived at noon we were THE ONLY PATRONS there. Still had to flag down waiter after 20 minutes to order. Appetizer arrived 15 minutes later with no salad (they were going to course the 1 salad separately). Given the slow pace I asked them to bring my salad and entree at the same time. After an hour and 15 minutes my salad arrived solo with the other entrees. I again implored them to bring my entree and after 90 minutes it finally arrived, at which point we had to leave so I sent it back. Instead of an apology all I received was attitude from the host. While disappointed by the listless service we were shocked at the incredulity of the host."
    Dined on 2/19/2014
  • "The food was outstanding as was the service. The wine list was great and the sommelier recommended a perfect choice for us, right in our price range. We had the 3-course meal for which we chose appetizer, pasta and dessert. This was more than enough for us, 4 women dining out. Men or those with larger appetites may want to add another course."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "This has some wonderful Roman dishes and a smattering of dishes from other parts of Italy. The pasta are all made in house and are delicious. The wine pairings are well thought out and a bargain. Our waiter, who has been with the restaurant a while, was very helpful and very entertaining. A warning, the restaurant is full of hard surfaces so is quite noisy."
    Dined on 2/24/2014
  • "Everything about the restaurant was first rate, including the price. Definitely for special occasions."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Chiaroscuro is aptly named! The contrasts of light and dark are evident in each dish as well as across the menu. A recent cucumber amuse was mouth-watering and lively. The carbonara was creamy and luscious. The flavors on the plate of guanciale were a contrast of luxurious richness and spice. Chef/Owner Alessandro travels to Rome each year to bring the best food of that ancient city to us in San Francisco. His creations are beautifully presented and amazingly flavorful. The wine list is thoughtfully selected to accompany the food and is quite reasonably priced."
    Dined on 2/20/2014
  • "We ABSOLUTELY LOVED Chiaroscuro. What a great discovery! This neighborhood gem transports you to Rome in a modern, candlelit setting. We not only enjoyed an amazing meal, we also had a wonderful time there. The food was incredible (from the beet salad, trio of homemade authentic pastas, to the chocolate souffle). The executive chef, Alessandro, is a star with tremendous talent and passion for great food. And the service was the best we have had in 16 years in San Francisco. The waiters and waitresses also convey a love and enthusiasm for the food that is truly exemplary. We were there for a special occasion and will be back again! We highly recommend this restaurant."
    Dined on 2/21/2014
  • "Possibly the best Italian food in San Francisco. Especially when the owner's mother is in town from Italy. The lasagna is decent sized but gnocchi portion is fairly small."
    Dined on 2/7/2014
  • "I consistently love the food and service at Chiaroscuro, but have only ever been for lunch before this week. I was surprised when I arrived to find out that they do not offer an Ala Carte dinner menu, but only serve 3, 4 and 5-course prefixe menus, which start at $60 3-course/$28 wine-pairing option. As long as you're prepared for this, your experience will be fantastic because they always have excellent customer service and wonderful food. . . but be prepared! :-)"
    Dined on 2/18/2014
  • "This was my second visit to the restaurant but the first time for dinner. The staff at Chiaroscuro did an amazing job with the service and every aspect of our group dinner. We had the 5-course tasting dinner with wine pairing and shared all of the dishes. I asked for vegetarian options, not a problem either time I've been. Both times, I've had the pasta trio as part of my meal. The rest of my group shared all the other dishes and had a true feast. The fourth course, a cheese assortment was truly a treat. We loved watching the open kitchen."
    Dined on 2/13/2014
  • "Quality of food and service is always very high. They have a great Italian wine list that is well priced."
    Dined on 2/18/2014
  • "Outstanding and innovative Italian Cuisine with superb service. There was nothing I could find to critique. Will be taking friends there soon."
    Dined on 2/13/2014
  • "Took my wife for a Pre Valentines Day dinner. Great food, although choices are rather limited. Lamb appetizer incredible! Pasta also very good. Would have liked more wine choices. No Chardonnay on the wine list! Three course meal is more than enough."
    Dined on 2/12/2014
  • "We had a lovely evening and excellent food (though very small portions) but the evening was spoiled by the addition of a 15% gratuity without prior notice for a party of 6. The truth is, we typically tip 15 - 20% for food, but not necessarily that high a percentage on the wine. Here the wine tab was quite high and the imposed gratuity was disproportionately high. If that is the restaurant's policy, then they should have brought it to our attention before the bill was presented."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "The ambience is calm, soothing and romantic. The service was both attentive and responsive, but not obtrusively so; we felt that they were truly aiming to please. The dishes were for the most part not only delicious but also creative and beautifully presented. The wine pairings were amazing - they were well worth the price (generous pours!). A lovely meal from start to finish."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "I live about 3 hours south of San Francisco, but visit the city frequently for business. I dream about this place and seek this restaurant out whenever possible. I am dying to bring my husband and friends to the city for a night, just to eat here and share this gem with them. The food is out of this world, and eating it in courses the way they've designed it, is not just dinner, it's an experience! I always have the wine pairings with my courses and Paul does an excellent job selecting the wines to really accentuate whatever it is I'm eating. This place is unforgettable, if you are in or near San Francisco, you must give it a try!"
    Dined on 2/6/2014
  • "We stumbled upon Chiaroscuro by accident and boy are we glad we did! What a gem! Delicious, interesting food and exceptional, attentive service. We'll definitely be back!"
    Dined on 2/5/2014
  • "What a wonderful dinning experience, the best I've had in San Francisco. The food and wine list are sensational. Everything we ordered was thoughtfully prepared and beautifully presented. The chefs and their staff are very passionate about their work and it shows brilliantly. Paul the wine sommelier and maitre d'hotel is very knowledgable and a gracious host."
    Dined on 2/5/2014
  • "Nice room but all hard surfaces making it difficult to have a conversation. Expensive - fixed price menu with 3 or 4 options. 3 course is a starter, small pasta course and dessert for $60 - add an entree and its $75. Food was very well prepared but very slow service - suspect the kitchen was overwhelmed. Servers friendly but also overwhelmed. Wine list limited and expensive."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "Great food, authentic Roman pastas, and a superb wait staff provided me the inspiration to make my first comments on an OpenTable forum."
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "I really like this place. The food is mostly very very good. A while ago, however, I had the the parpadella which got severly stuck and didnt flow well. The lamb dish was great but the display a little too 80's. The service is wonderful. Everyone is very kind and attentive. And the sommelier is a sweetie."
    Dined on 12/14/2013
  • "The food is delicious. Just a little disappointed with the mousse. It did not have any spicy kick to it."
    Dined on 1/23/2014
  • "My husband and I had been looking forward to trying this restaurant for a while now. This past Saturday we decided to treat ourselves to the four course tasting menu with wine pairing. We had the most fabulous food/wine - every dish we tried was spectacular. The waiter was also incredible - such wonderful service. He even treated us to an extra dessert on him - the strawberry cheesecake gelato - wow! So good. This restaurant is a must-go; especially those who truly appreciate good food. We will definitely be back again!"
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "Chiaroscuro is a real find - excellent food, and with the wine pairings, gives the diner and stress-free and interesting meal. The chef's Rome experience shows - the restaurant matches any I've eaten in in Rome and Tuscany."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "Despite having guests with me, I wanted to be alone with my food to savor each bite of the trilogia. The amatriciana sauce is one of the best bites I've ever eaten. You taste the passion of the chef through this dish. The cacio e pepe is also unrivaled. I moved away from SF and order this dish when it says cacio e pepe. Nothing comes close. The pepper and pecorino make you salivate. Really. This restaurant and its amazing, warm staff make me wish I never left SF. Oh, and if you want a wine or cheese selection, ask Paul. You will be me mesmerized by the passion and detail."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "Great spot -- terrific food, wonderful service, very cool decor. Table placements perfect for talking. Narrow wine list -- although it is a good Italian wine list in SF should have a little bit better California selection."
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "Have only gone 3 times but it's very nice; a bit on the expensive side. The first course took a long time to come out but they "comped" the corkage to compensate for it."
    Dined on 1/6/2014
  • "This was our first time for dinner at Chiaroscuro and it won't be our last. We had lunch there and it was outstanding. The dinner was just as wonderful. Every dish we had was beautifully displayed and the taste was over the top. The plates were so beautiful we even took pictures. We will return again to enjoy another wonderful night out."
    Dined on 1/7/2014
  • "I have proposed to my girlfriend at this restaurant. After she said "yes", the waitress brought us 2 glasses of champagne to congratulate us. The environment is very romantic and service is outstanding. We were served a delicious 7 course meal complete with wine pairings with every course. It was a memorable experience. I would definately recommend this restaurant to everyone that loves fine dining and gourmet food. I gave Chiaroscuro 5 Star."
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "Sommelier was spot on with wine suggestion. Feel new menu requirement too restrictive, would like to have tried items in a more flexible way. In spite of Roman food theme, desserts not really Roman."
    Dined on 12/27/2013
  • "A good spot for a business or lunch with friends. Will try it next for dinner."
    Dined on 12/18/2013
  • "We generally enjoyed the food as usual, but remembered afterwards why we had in the past sworn never to return to this restaurant -- it's massively overpriced. It's now even worse with the fixed price 3, 4 or 5 course options. $60 for a salad, tiny plate of pasta, and a tiny dessert? Give me a break. Service was friendly but painfully slow -- so slow that we all elected to have dessert to go rather than wait even longer for plated service. The trilogia is great but you basically get 3-4 bites of each, Wine glasses are also overpriced at 13-16 per glass. Given the poor value of cost to food, we won't be returning, which is unfortunate. It was always too expensive relative to the competition, but now it's worse."
    Dined on 12/24/2013
  • "The food was overall well executed and good, though small portioned for the price. The problem is long waits between courses, the restaurant was not full and we found the staff uattentive to filling our wine glasses, and repetitive requests for a little more bread. But the meal took almost 3 hrs because the kitchen can't seem to get the food out."
    Dined on 12/23/2013
  • "As always, absolutely divine! Food was fabulous--best lasagne ever! Service excellent. Setting pleasing. We have never been disappointed and always look forward to returning."
    Dined on 12/13/2013