Amarena has my favorite Tiramisu
Amarena has my favorite Tiramisu in the US, and this is coming from a Tiramisu snob. Fantastic rotating wine list. We had an Italian varietals from a specific year that was a small vintage and is no longer available. So tasty, too bad we forgot to take a picture. The service is attentive and the waiters have a pleasant Italian accent that adds to the ambiance. Everyone is very knowledgeable and can provide recommendations based on your preferences. I had the lasagna which was super yummy. The others also walked away happy!
3/7/2013 4:00:00 PM
Authentic Italian dining, great menu options if not terribly creative, but good ingredients.
Will definitely return!
3/23/2013 5:00:00 PM
Everything was excellent,
Everything was excellent, but we had to wait about 40 minutes before getting seated.
4/19/2013 4:00:00 PM
Great neighborhood Italian restaura
Loved the food & they were excellent at the pacing. Cozy & quiet.
5/10/2013 12:00:00 AM
Amarena is a great little
Amarena is a great little place! Oddly enough, one of the great things about it isn't the food or wine, or even the great service. It's that it's always full of locals. When I have guests from out of town, or even an important date. Amarena is always a first choice!
One request! Please put your spaghetti with beef and lamb meatballs back on the menu!!
5/10/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great Food, great ambiance, great service, and the greatest memories!
5/10/2013 4:00:00 PM
A great find!
i love this place - wish i had found it sooner! had the cherry tomato soup which was awesome - tart and very fresh. also ordered the chicken and wondered "how good could a roast half chicken be?" - well, it was delicious. crispy roasted skin with rosemary on it, tender meat, sautéed spinach and roasted potatoes on the side. i would definitely have this dish again-
on my prior visit, i had the tuna tartare which was really good and some salumi which comes with these puffed up donut like bread balls that are savory. oh my god - that stuff was insane!
this is a very well run, family-owned place that obviously takes great pride in what they serve.
5/16/2013 4:00:00 PM
We met some family at this Italian restaurant. The restaurant felt like we were in a dining room of a family member. All of the employees seemed to be Italian and very friendly.
The portions were perfectly sized, not too big nor too small. Everything I had was delicious and everyone else said likewise.
5/17/2013 4:00:00 PM
Cute Neighborhood Gem
My friends and I decided to take a chance on a new restaurant and I'm so glad we did. The food was delicious, we all finished everything on our plates and wanted more. The portions were generous and again, so yummy! The restaurant itself is small and intimate, could be romantic, but it was still fun with four people. The wait staff was friendly and helpful and let us try the wine before we decided on what bottle we wanted which was a big plus for us. All in all, a great place!
5/23/2013 4:00:00 PM
Absolutely a Gem!!
What can we say? No trip to San Francisco is complete unless we visit Paolo and enjoy the great food, wine and atmosphere at Amarena. Nestled in on a corner at the top of the hill, it is just like visiting a small bistro in northern Italy. The food is always first rate, well priced and the wine's are excellent. Not a huge cellar or wall full of expensive bottles. Just a rack on the wall with some of the best Italian wines at very reasonable prices. Paolo introduced us to a great Barolo the first few times we were there. This time he was out of it but suggested another wine that was less expensive but equally as sumptuous. Who does that? So we had two bottles! My cousins were in from Italy and agreed the food was just like home.
5/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
Amazing as usual!,
This place is amazing! I have been to Amarena 4 times now and love it. The food is always incredible. I am so lucky it is a block from my house!
5/26/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great neighborhood place,
Great neighborhood place, great service and food. Feels like you're eating in someone's home.
6/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
Delicious hidden gem!
We booked a table for 7 people the night before the SF Marathon. We needed to eat early, so we had a 5:30pm reservation. The host saw us waiting outside in the cold at 5:20pm and open the restaurant and sat us early so we could get out of the cold. So nice! We had amazing service, so friendly, prompt (my water never went empty) and truly Italian! I think our server said she was from Rimini, Italy! Then the food came out, the bread was fantastic. The thought the bruschetta was delightful, super fresh tomatoes and basil, yum! My homemade bucatini was delish and I tried my husband's gorgonzola cream sauce gnocchi, I think it was the best gnocchi I have ever tried, and I LOVE gnocchi, so this really blew me away. Plus the restaurant is so cute!
6/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
Definitely rates a repeat visit
Real Italian preparation: delicious pastas, beautiful salads in a relaxed, refined atmosphere with friendly, professional service. Our only problem was trying to decide what to order as we wanted to taste everything. Guess we'll just have to come back. Oh, and parking...definitely a challenge in this neighborhood.
6/16/2013 12:00:00 AM
Very authentic Italian restaurant
I took my Italian class to Amarena because the servers are Italians, born and raised in Italy. I am so delighted to have found such an authentic Italian restaurant. Also, the Italian aperitivo on Thursdays is excellent!
6/26/2013 4:00:00 PM
being ¨hot¨ has it´s downsides
there are so many wonderful things about this place: neighborhood location, delicious food, good-humored Italian wait staff, well'decorated intimacy but unfortunately we felt a bit rushed as there were people lining up outside and standing at the bar staring at us because they wanted our table. Otherwise we would have had a more leisurely dessert.
7/3/2013 4:00:00 PM
A wonderful experience!
Amarena's was recommended by a work colleague quite awhile ago. Last Saturday, we finally made it - a huge shame it took us so long - Amarena is delightful! We ate early starting at 6pm, because we had a show to go to later. The restaurant was very quiet at the time but had filled by the time we departed. Service staff were very friendly, helpful and efficient. Food was superb, nicely presented, tasty, good proportions. An excellent menu provides a variety from which to choose without being overboard; wine list similar. It is a total experience like being in a family-friendly neighborhood gem with a touch of elegance and a romantic overtone. Definitely a keeper for us; will be back soon!
7/6/2013 12:00:00 AM
Don't miss the Linguine w seafood
It was fabulous. Unfortunately, the rack of lamb was only mediocre. The choc mousse cake and vanilla ice cream with cherries were both excellent.
7/12/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great food and service
I love the waitresses at Amarena! They are professional and just the nicest. My boyfriend and I went there for my birthday with another couple and the newly introduced couple loved it too. We have been there dozens of times and it never gets old!
7/12/2013 12:00:00 AM
A fantastic surprise.
When we walked into the restaurant we were a little disappointed by the way it looked. Not upscale at all and the service was VERY slow, but besides that we had the most amazing meal we ever had. My mom had the special that night. A Filet w/a wine mushroom sauce and polenta, I had the Bucatini Pasta with onions and bacon and my little one had Fettacini Alfredo. The most wonderful tasting food and we can't wait to go back to San Francisco. Taught us a lesson. Don't judge a book by it's cover.
8/1/2013 12:00:00 AM
Best Italian food in SF
Try it once if you havent- the outside doesnt look like too much, but the restaurant is one of the best experienes you will have- great food, great wine, great hosts, great atmosphere!
8/17/2013 12:00:00 AM
Wonderful neighborhood dining!
This was a wonderful small neighborhood restaurant in Russian Hill, that we discovered on Open Table. Charming and welcoming Italian staff, and fabulous handmade pastas. Simple decor. The pasta with porcini mushrooms and truffles, ravioli, and pappardelli with wild boar tomato sauce were all fabulous. This was a lovely and memorable meal and evening. It's not trendy or a loud, hot spot, and that made it all the more special for us.
8/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
Loved the meal and ambience. Got seated about 30 mins late, but enjoyed a glass of wine while we waited.
8/31/2013 12:00:00 AM
I just moved into the neighborhood and decided to try this little gem! I was NOT disappointed. The food was amazing and the servers are really nice. I've been back 3 times in 2 weeks and feel like a regular - what a great feeling! The food is spectacular and well-portioned, especially for the price. I will be back many times and intend to take every out of town guest that comes through here!
9/5/2013 12:00:00 AM
Neighborhood Gem Delights
We were a party of 7 on a late Saturday night and Amarena took us in with no problem. Located in the Russian Hill area, you could tell this was a "locals spot." We were well taken care of by the wait staff. The Oriechette pasta and mushroom pasta were outstanding. At the close of our meal, the owner came over to make sure everything was right with our experience. Taking the time to care about this is what distinguishes Amarena from many other restaurant experiences. Well done.
9/7/2013 12:00:00 AM
It feels Italian
I love the relaxed, friendly, home like feeling of this place. You can enjoy a "conversation" while having a splendid meal, and good wines.
The service is timely, and very friendly. The wine list is very good, but I am a Prosecco person.
Il cibo: " Lipari salad" ( one of the Eolian Islands), and eggplant parmigiana " like nonna used to make it when I was a child in Napoli" an Italian friend told me when a first brought him here. Gnocchi al Gorgonzola-"divine". Actually the only place I ask for this dish outside Firenze. Il pesce, sempre tasty and nicely presented. In winter won't miss their boar or whatever game Paolo has caught that week. Il dolce? Tutti sono buoni...
" One restaurant in the Bay Area where I bring my Italian friends"
9/10/2013 12:00:00 AM
San Francisco Must
Amarena is on my must visit list anytime that I travel to San Francisco. It is a great neighborhood restaurant that was recommended to me years ago by the Fairmont Concierge. I have never been disappointed by the warm surroundings, amazing food, and good wine list. Service was attentive without being rushed.
9/12/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great food, great staff. Got
Great food, great staff. Got the small 2 person table in the window which was also nice. I had the chicken, girlfriend had the lasagna, both were excellent, red and white house wines were good as well as the tiramisu. Felt like dining in Europe.
10/3/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great little place
Very small neighborhood restaurant. Food was delightful . My husband declared the caprese salad the best he has ever eaten. Both my salmon & his tortellini were excellent. Our only disappointment was a large table behind us that included two very young & badly behaved children which was annoying & distracting.
10/4/2013 12:00:00 AM
A+ From Strat to Finish
Greeted by the owner when we arrived early, offered a beverage while we waited on the sidewalk outside. Fantastic waitress knew the menu and wine list; was utterly charming. Food amazing... Get dessert. We went with out of town visitors and it was the perfect choice.
10/5/2013 12:00:00 AM
Authentic Italian-Friendly Service
We loved coming to this neighborhood restaurant. There's another Italian restaurant up the street that everyone raves about. I've been there and have never understood the high praise. Amarena has delicious food, personalized and friendly service, and a warm and energetic energetic atmosphere. Reasonably priced too.
10/18/2013 12:00:00 AM
The ambiance is cozy, the food is great and the wine list is Italian with some interesting choices. Has been around for a long time in the Russian Hill neighborhood. Parking can be a problem but taking the Hyde St cable car and making a short walk is the easy way if you aren't cabbing or have a car service. It's well worth the trip for authentic Italian food. If you live in the neighborhood you know that it gets busy and is a small restaurant so reservations are usually best.
Would definitely recommend and have not been disappointed with any of the food choices!
10/18/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great Italian food
Went here because the Yelp reviews were good, and they didn't lie. The food was amazing (I had the butternut squash ravioli, which I highly recommend), our waitress was friendly and really helpful with the menu and wine list, and the owner chatted with us before we left. It wasn't difficult to get a table on a weekday night and it's location makes it a place you might not know about unless you stumble upon it
10/21/2013 12:00:00 AM
I will definitely dine here whenever I'm in SF. Just off Hyde, a cable car ride was easy. Had a very lovely dinner with friends. Waiter forgot to bring a glass of Vin Santo I'd ordered, but made up for it by making it on the house with a side of mini biscotti. Veal was delicious.
11/4/2013 4:00:00 PM
i love the pasta options there
very authentic and our waitress is from italy. Very warm and feel very authentic.
11/14/2013 4:00:00 PM
The service really makes this
The service really makes this place. The waitresses have been there for a while and treat everyone so well. Great spot.
11/15/2013 4:00:00 PM
Yes, Amarena is still holding its own. The wide spaghetti all'amatriciana was fabulous; perfectly cooked pasta with a flavorful and rich tomato sauce. The Red Snapper special was tasty although at $24 not quite worth the price. It remains one of my go to Italian restaurants in Russian/Nob Hill area.
11/21/2013 4:00:00 PM
Great night with out of towners
We walked down for dinner after drinks at home. This isn't the first time this has been our modus operandi. We are always remembered, the wines are good and well-priced, and the food is like Italian comfort food. It will continue to be our go to place when we don't have the energy to organize a full-fledged dinner party at home.
12/4/2013 4:00:00 PM