550 Washington St
San Francisco, CA 94111Neighborhood:
Financial District / Embarcadero
ItalianPrice: $31 to $50
- Dining Style: Casual Elegant
- Website: http://www.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, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Wheelchair Access, Wine
A word from CHIAROSCURO
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
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
CHIAROSCURO - Best Restaurants in Financial District / Embarcadero ›
CHIAROSCURO reviews from OpenTable diners
98 reviews since July 24, 2014
- Ambiance4.2Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (64)special occasion (46)neighborhood gem (38)notable wine list (32)romantic (32)great for lunch (16)good for groups (5)hot spot (3)late-night find (3)great for brunch (1)great for outdoor dining (1)scenic view (1)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
- great place to eatOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 11/17/2014great place to eat, server was great. the three course meal was greatSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Somewhat disappointing overall, with some plusesBombaDined on 11/12/2014The pluses for this restaurant included good service and a nice and affordable wine list. The food was of only average quality, with the first courses better than the main courses. The décor and setting are nice and seem conducive to intimate dining, but the noise level made casual conversation difficult and detracted from the evening.
- 6-star experienceStevePVIPDined on 11/11/2014Best Italian food that I've every had: succulent, tasty lamb appetizer; spectacular pasta dishes; perfectly prepared veal tenderloin and steak entrees.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Lively but lacklusterSon2SFVIPDined on 11/8/2014We did the four course with wine pairing and the bill for two with tip was over $300. The service was good and knowledgeable but the food read better than it tasted. Food temperature was a major issue- everything arrived to the table cold. The grilled lamb appetizer was chilled. The pastas were cold and didn't possess a house made quality. The chicken dish, which we saw arrive at the table next to us after our order was delivered, was garnished and sauced as ours was not. Total inconsistency. The wine pairings was disappointing and uninspired. Totally unexpected and very wrong, the amuse bouche in two presentations were bizarre, just bizarre. Prompted to visit from an episode of "check please" and we have to conclude that they were wrong.
- Happy Accident!AllenTXmomDined on 11/8/2014We were out walking and saw this place, so we looked it up on Trip Advisor. It had a great review and we love small, neighborhood so decided to give it a try. It is a cozy and beautiful place. Our server, Kathy, was very knowledgable and helped us make great choices from the menu. The wine pairings were also wonderful. I had the signature pasta trio and my husband the seafood pasta - both excellent! Also if they have the Meyer lemon sorbet - get it! Delicious!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- coyotecoyoteDined on 11/7/2014Service was quite poor. Food while edible it was not any thing special. The portions were very small we went away feeling hungry.We were expecting a memorable evening and left disappointed.
- DisappointedGregFDined on 11/7/2014Saw this reviewed on "Check, Please, Bay Area", where it got great praise. But except for one of the specials--a pasta dish--everything seemed a little bland. The grilled lamb and the burrata antipastis were just okay. The pork loin was dry, the pheasant pretty tasteless. One of the three pastas in the "triologi" was a stuck-together mound that was hard to eat. The presentations were beautiful, though, as is the place itself--and the wait staff was friendly and very attentive. The only alcohol we had was a glass of wine each, but the bill still came to $200 for the 2 of us. For that much, we expected to be a little more wowed by the food. I know plenty of restaurants where I can get an amazing meal for that price. So I would not go back.Special Features:
- Hit and MissYoloCatVIPDined on 11/6/2014Channeling Michael Bauer...loved the industrial minimalist décor; but they need to figure out a way to fasten the seat cushions to the banquettes. Appetizers: Burrata and fish appetizer with cod puffs were very good. Pastas: The trio of pastas was disappointing: carbonara was way too salty; others were mediocre and gummy. Entrees: Steak and pheasant were very good. Dessert: profiteroles were soggy and bland; cheese course was not well-chosen and miniscule. Coffee & after-dinner drinks: Waiter never asked. I also found the corkage fee odd: $25 for the first bottle and $40 for the second.
- Pastas are good, pricey prix fixeMoragaCourtDined on 11/5/2014We enjoyed our meal, but were not blown away. I think the fact that the prix fixe for 4 courses (if you want to taste a primi and secondi you need to pick the 4 course) is $75 is a bit crazy. We really enjoyed our pastas... I had the gnocchi and my hubby had the trifecta of pastas and everything on our pasta plates was amazing. I wish we could go and just enjoy the pasta without having to pay for everything else. My pork loin was just ok, and my husbands pheasant was also just ok. My appetizer of raw fish was pretty good, and actually my husbands salumi plate was a highlight. Again the food was good just not "$200 for a date night good". We won't go back again.Special Features:
- FoodieEBDinerDined on 11/5/2014Heard about this restaurant from several sources, so I decided to try it for myself. Brought a friend here for his birthday. The food was very good, the service was very good, and an interesting wine list. My only concern was with the minuscule portion of my dessert...the cheese. I had never been served a smaller portion...and I had just returned from Paris in the last 3 weeks where I had many cheese courses for dessert...but none so small. Order a different dessert. The cheese plate is hardly enough to taste.Special Features:
- OK.. Not as fabulous as I expectedwhodunnitDined on 11/1/2014We went to dinner at Chiaroscuro with much anticipation after the rave reviews on Bay Area Check Please TV show. Bad Stuff: No Sommelier... They ran out of several items on both of Food and Drink menus. The Trio Past was SO salty- it was inedible. When I communicated this to our Server, she agreed with me that it is "salty" and that it should be this way. But, I am known to be a "Saltaholic" and it was even too salty for me- which makes it totally inedible. The Ravioli's were bad tasting and should be taken off the menu- as far as Im concerned. The seafood trio appetizer didnt work- and quite bizarre. Now, the Good Stuff: The Black seafood Pasta was heavenly and I would go back just for this dish. Service was warm and friendly.Special Features:
- Weekday lunchChiaroscurofanDined on 10/28/2014A rare lunch in the City with my wife was outstanding. We were warmly welcomed and it all got even better from there. We shared several dishes for the variety. Share plates and serving utensils were provided without fuss and the service was smooth and well paced. The fried artichokes reminded me of Rome but better and lighter. I could go on. It's always a treat when Mamma Elena is in the kitchen.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- MangiatoneDined on 10/23/2014Had my favorite pasta dish the Trilogia and it was as terrific as always. My companions salads looked great and they said they thoroughly enjoyed them.Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIPDined on 10/18/2014Not impressed. Pasta was very cold and very starchy. Lamb appetizer also cold and very rare with little flavor. Service was quite good, but very noisy restaurant.
- ChiaroscuroBobSDined on 10/18/2014This was our second visit, and we were equally delighted. Great service, attention to detail, very friendly. excellent food. Mattia, our waiter, is great! I like the wine list, and hope to try more in the future. A great evening.Special Features:
- Other Worldly PastaSkithebirdDined on 10/18/2014The pasta choices are made fresh every day and served al dente with perfection. No one does it better anywhere, even in the best of Italy!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- AmazingRhathmanDined on 10/11/2014One of our best dining experiences in The City! Highly recommend.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- ChicVIPDined on 10/4/2014Too noisy and the service was not the best. The menu is interesting and a good cart of wines mostly Italians. The price is ok as well but the restaurant accepts groups parting extremely noisy. I am not coming backSpecial Features:
- SherryDined on 10/3/2014Great restaurant but I would have to say for the price the portions are small. It's definitely not a restaurant where you can share food. My 27 year old son ordered a salad and there were only 2 whole leaves of lettuce on the plate, now that's not right. Also I am not a fan of a Prix-fixed menu for every day, holidays OK.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Dinner GuestOpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 9/26/2014The food at this restaurant is simply divine. An experience I plan on repeating many, many times.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Lovely, with exceptional servicesnuhDined on 9/20/2014We tremendously enjoyed our experience. It was our 9th anniversary dinner, a fact we did not tell the restaurant, but they behaved as if they knew. The service was either so subtle as to not warrant notice or, in the case of Mattia, our sommelier, delightful, helpful, and generous. Of the excellent dishes, the bistecca di manzo and the catch of the day (trout and spot prawn) particularly stood out.Special Features:
- Delicious Food!YumYumDined on 9/20/2014This was my second time at CHIAROSCURO, and both times the food was delicious! The pastas were especially good - perfectly cooked, flavorful sauces, good combinations. The antipasti and secondi were equally good as well as a desert and cheese selection. A special word of thanks to someone on the team who prepared fantastic jellies for the cheese and deserts - very saturated fruit & berry taste and just the right amount of sweetness!Special Features:
- A special placeHappyTimesDined on 9/18/2014From the time I walked in until leaving I was made to feel special. The food, service and atmosphere were wonderful and I look forward to future visits.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Food as good as ever + great wine!SteVPVIPDined on 9/16/2014First visit with their new 3, 4 or 5 course format, and we ended up liking it. The highlight was deciding to have a bottle of their white wine to get free corkage for our special bottle we brought. We tried a Vie di Romans white blend containing Malvasia and Reisling which turned out to be a very delicious and dry white. Our waiter knew the wine well and decanted it to let the tastes change in rapid fashion. The hit of the night. Three of us each had the 3-course meal trading bites of 3 different appetizers (Burrata, Degustazione di salumi and prosciutto e melone) followed by 3 different primi (bucatini al carbone, ravioli di mozzarella e funghi and the Trilogia). Everything was delicious! Portion size varies so ask your waiter.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIPDined on 9/13/2014For a restaurant that was not very large and had some empty tables when we arrived for our 8:30 dinner reservation, service was incredibly slow. Some of the dishes ordered were wonderful: special appetizer of melon and ham, the fish of the day, the beef entree. However, the 3 pasta dish (what I had come for) was overly salty, with only the carbonara completely to my liking. All desserts ordered were satisfying but the very long wait in between courses was annoying.
- The flavors!geewhizVIPDined on 9/11/2014Everything had such wonderful flavor. Really great food and the portions are just right. It's also a place where you can actually talk to each other and not have to shout.Special Features:
- Continually great quality and flavsOpenTable Diner Since 2010VIPDined on 9/11/2014Alessandro creates great dishes. Micheal Mina spends his time in strip clubs.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- wonderfully fresh and vibrantcastrofoodieDined on 9/6/2014fantastic food, well prepared, great flavors. awesome wine pairings.Special Features:
- likeschocolateDined on 9/3/2014Saw chiaroscuro on Check Please, so we checked it out for my birthday. The rigatoni amatriciana (one of the three pastas in the trilogia) is the best pasta I've ever eaten! My wife got the bucatini al carbone ai ricci di mare e vongole (charcoal grilled pasta with seafood). She kindly let me finish hers as well. It had a wonderful, clear seafood note. Looking at the menu later, we saw it was from the sea urchin & saffron sauce. Superb, as was the service and decor. We see from other reviews that chiaroscuro offers family style dining as well, so we'll have to return with a group.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Quite a disappointmentdisappointmentDined on 8/27/2014The lamb appetizer was fine…after that it was downhill. I had the trilogia, and though I expected the pasta to be served al dente, this pasta was hard in the center and it was served barely warm when it got to my table.. The desert was served on a biscuit that was so hard it could not be broken with a fork or knife, with canned fruit smothered in what seemed like canned whipped cream and three tiny pear slices on the side. What a disappointment. I expected much better. I went early , 5:30, and there were only two other tables occupied.Special Features:
- Superb Service and AMAZING foodKRSEaterDined on 8/23/2014Oh my God! Everything is phenomenal, including the service. Our server was pleasant and attentive, arranging for us to meet the creative and amazing chef. The perfect end to a great evening. Come with an appetite for the fabulous! The Trio Di Peace and Trilogia are amazing dishes that thrill the tongue. The Bistecca di Manzo was so tendered it simply melted like butter. Even the wine pairings were perfect. This small restaurant is a rare gem that combines superb food and incredible service.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great food. Wish it were cheaper.OpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 8/22/2014My wife and I went here for dinner a couple nights ago and really enjoyed it. The food was great. But we were surprised that they only has a prefix menu. Getting the cheapest option, with one glass of house wine each, and tip - it came to well over $200. It's a shame, because I'd like to go back, but at these prices, it likely won't be for a long time. There are too many other restaurants with really excellent food in the city, but will run you about half the price of this place.Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 8/19/2014why were we awarded no points for this experience?Special Features:
- Top Restaurant!HotsauceHankVIPDined on 8/15/2014Still remains one of the best restaurants in San Francisco. Food was outstanding, as was the wine and service. It is fine dining casually and elegantly executed. The dining room is also very initimate and quiet. Perfect for a romantic night out or a nice dinner with a group of friends. Can't say enough at how wonderful this restaurant is. Go!Special Features:
- Excellent with one MissZIODINOVIPDined on 8/15/2014Every reviewer on a local TV show praised this restaurant to the hilt. It came very close to their plaudits. The decor was striking reminding us of the newer restaurants in Italy. The service was very good. The staff was spare and therefore busy. We did not feel neglected, but a little more personality would be nice. The food - especially the pasta - was excellent. There was one exception. The night we ate here - the fry station missed a beat. One of us had the fried squash blossoms. They were delicious but instead of having that distinctive crunch they were a tad limp. Our pheasant was excellently presented and was accompanied by a pheasant croquet which was over done. Despite the fryer having an off night we wish to try again.Special Features:
- feedmewellfeedmewellDined on 8/15/2014Saw on Check please! Was excited to take out of town guests. The only outstanding dishes were the buratta salad and Rainbow trout special. The special squash blossom appetizer with 3 different stuffings was oily and all tasted the same. The Kobe beef was tough & chewy. The pasta trio and gnocchi just ok . Ordered a cheese course, but wasn't given any choice of cheeses, although shown a large cheese list along with the wine list. Service started great, but less than half way through, it just disappeared. Our wine bottle was not kept on our table, it was kept on a counter behind us. We were left with empty glasses several times and don't feel we finished the second bottle. Disappointed!
- elegant but not stuffywindsurfnerdDined on 8/15/2014Birthday dinner was a 3-course with wine pairings...each dish was nicely prepared, fresh and flavorful, with a complimenting wine. I loved the creative and seasonal cocktail to start! Service was attentive and crisp.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Very disappointedmariDined on 8/4/2014After reading the reviews and recommendations from Check Please, we went with high expectations. Perhaps that was our mistake. The presentation and service were outstanding, but the food was mediocre. The trio of pastas was gummy and very ordinary. Definitely overpriced. We enjoyed the wonderful service and wine pairings, but would absolutely not recommend the mediocre and very expensive pasta.Special Features:
- Best Dining Experience Whole TripPatienceDined on 8/4/2014Service was above excellent. Waiter was knowledgeable about all aspects of the dining experience. Food was exceptional. The dining room is mainly concrete so it is a bit cold. The dining room was very small with an open kitchen and I think the European touch of the chef spending a brief time saying hello would have added to the experience.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Order the 4 or 5 coursesartspc72VIPDined on 7/26/2014My husband and I ate here the night before a race, so we planned on eating a light meal. We both ordered the 3 course option. My husband had the seafood appetizer, the steak secondi and the pear tart dessert. He loved everything but the dessert. I had the salad, the pork secondi dish, and the gelato dessert. The salad did not have much flavor, and the pork was good but it needed more of the peach sauce. The gelato was incredible, though. Neither of us had the pasta, but it all looked incredible (the next table over all ordered pasta). Service was great until we were done eating, then it took 15 minutes to get our check. I recommend going when you are not in a rush, and ordering at least 4 courses, as the portions are rather small.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.