231 Ellsworth is a fine dining restaurant that specializes in refined American cuisine. It’s been serving San Mateo for over 25 years. The restaurant’s menu celebrates seafood with a wide range of the freshest options available. The kitchen receives deliveries every morning of local and exotic fish varieties. 231 Ellsworth is also known for its fine wine list with a variety of new and old world selections. It has a number of hand crafted cocktails created with fresh squeezed juice, house-made syrups and herbs.
231 Ellsworth was reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle and CBS San Francisco. It offers small to large plates, as well as sides like parmesan truffle fries and an artisan cheese course with a selection of cheeses. There’s also a chef’s choice four course tasting option, which changes nightly. Indulge in elevated dishes like Applewood smoked pork belly sliders, exotic mushroom agnolotti and duck confit cassoulet.
I really enjoy every meal at 231 Ellsworth and always ask myself why we don't go there more often. The service is great but still casual and not as stilted as so many top tier restaurants where you are dealing with robots vs real people. If you haven't been go and enjoy, don't set your expectations too high and you will love it. If it's been a while since you've been, go back soon and just sit back and enjoy.
I found the tasting menu with wine pairing delicious and good value. I would definitely return.
The food was ok... Not worth the price. Services was very good.
We dined early and enjoyed the ability to converse easily in the dark room on a busy street. Our waitress and the food were both commendable, and if the wine list were more reasonably priced our evening would have been even more enjoyable.
The food was great. The recommendations were spot on.
My wife and I moved to San Mateo last year for work. We dine out most nights, and have tried nearly every spot in the downtown area. 231 Ellsworth was not only the best place Downtown, but we think it rivals the better spots in SF, Napa, Yountville, etc. The food is excellent, the choice between bar and main menus gives a great option between casual and more formal choices, the wine list is the most thought out and interesting in the area, and their staff, from bartender to waiters/waitresses, are so knowledgable, and give a perfect amount of individual attention.
We eat here once every other week for the last year, and have had two special event dinners.
We came here day after Valentine's Day. Our waitress that cared less about doing her job. For the few questions we had about the menu she got the info wrong. And not once did she check in during our entire 2 hour dinner to ask if we were enjoying our food. The food was lack luster at best. No flavor, no creativity. This was an expensive dinner wasted, a romantic evening wasted. I will not come back and will never recommend.
If you love being able to see your food - and everything else in the room - in starkly bright light - the kind of lighting I associate with buss stations and autopsy exam rooms, then this place is great! If on top of that you love having to beg your waitress (who was obviously moonlighting from her day-job as Subway) for a wine list, then this place is great. If you love begging to have a $200+ bottle of French Châteauneuf-du-Pape decanted because it was served as cold as my kids like their soda-Pape, then - bingo! - this place is great!
If you don't like those things - as much, for instance, as I don't - then this place falls into that column of 'lessons learned'.
For Valentine's Day they offered a fixed priced menu with wine pairing at $110 and $50 pp respectively.
First off, the room was lit like a hospital room. I suggested to our server that they dim the lights and she said she would however it never changed.
We started with cocktails then at about 20 mins bread arrived and our first course arrived at about 40mins. The food course and the wine never got in sync as the wine so we had empty glasses with the food.
Good news is that both the food and the wine were delicious although they thought the food was more "precious" than I did. This was especially true with the Kobe Filet arrived and was at most 3oz.
The final surprise was an 18% service charge was included in the bill.
My date said the evening was perfection. One of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had. Wholeheartedly recommend this ristorante when planning an evening with that very special person.
231 Ellsworth has a lot of possibilities!The food quality was outstanding but the portion size was very small. I had the rack of lamb but it only had 2 ribs. pretty stingy.
The ambiance and decor was excellent.The tables were spread out and you really didn't have a packed in feeling.
Our server Chris was outstanding in his manner and professionalism but the service was very very slow. I am not sure if that was intentional or not but it seemed to take forever to get our salads after we ordered.
The pricing was what I would expect from a high end restaurant but given the portion size I would say it was too pricey.
Overall very fixable things. Maybe others have noticed this too because the restaurant was only half full on a Saturday night.
Really enjoyed both the food (the scallops were exceptional!) and the service. They were patient with the fact that one of our party was late in arriving, and went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. The only negative is that the acoustics at some times allow other diners to hear your conversations, but that didn't inhibit our enjoyment!
We had a birthday dinner for a very senior gentleman and we were so pleasantly surprised. The door was opened for us and our wheelchair, the tables are far enough apart so that you do not have to listen to everyone else's conversations, or raise your voice and the décor is romantic and elegant without being flashy.
The food is delicious and served very attractively and the wait staff is knowledgeable and attentive without being annoying.
love 231. Great in every aspect. wonferful, polite, detailed service. Fabulous food. Always a treat. There is nothing that comes close to the 231 experience!
I booked this venue for lunch as I had a business meeting and needed a place that wasn't noisy. The waiter was so welcoming and so attentive. The food was outstanding. I highly recommend this restaurant for both the food and the service.
appetizer special were very good and our waiter was helpful in steering us to the specials. They were out of Jack Daniels which surprised me.
a very nice meal.
Needs more vegetarian options such as some solid pastas, ratatoille or whatever
Inventive flavorful dishes along with service that is impeccable makes 231 Ellsworth a wonderful place for a meal. The atmosphere is quiet and I love the amount of space between the tables to allow for a real conversation.
I thought the food was very good, although portions small. Overall the menu is too pricey for location and service. They also ran out of a bottle of wine on their menu. This should be explained upfront.
Finally got back to 231 Ellsworth. On a Friday at 1 pm, an empty restaurant! Food just ok. What happened?
The initial service was great and the five course meal was served seamlessly. However we had to over 30 mins to get our check.
The five courses all tasted great and had the right portion size. I decided to go with the apricot soufflé, which was very sweet and sour and a little difficult to enjoy. My husband ordered the chocolate mousse and he said it was delicious. So I would recommend the chocolate mousse over the apricot soufflé.
Way over priced for the quality and choices of food!
The service was very poor.
My husband and I had a wonderful early evening at 231 on NYE. The server (Serena?) was so helpful in guiding our food choices from the set menu and finding wine pairings for the meals. We didn't want to do the wine pairing service because It is too much alcohol, and she was able to find really good matches. The sake cured salmon was AMAZING!!!.
Although the menu choices on New Years Eve were varied and definitely fit for the occasion, the service had no flare. Our waiter introduced himself when we arrived and told us he would be taking care of us that evening - in reality each time a plate was set before us or removed (there were 6 courses), it seemed a new person had arrived at the table. The beginning of the meal seemed rushed. We had no sooner put down the utensil and the dish was removed and another appeared. There were no explanations of the preparation, the meal lacked a fine dining experience. And a PS to diners at a restaurant of this stature - please wear something "nicer" than jeans and a tee shirt...
We had an early Christmas dinner with my nephew and his wife. We were running 30 late because we couldn't find PARKING! So be warned! We had great time and we always chose 231 when it's a special dinner. The service was outstanding, the wines were sublime and the food was super! We highly recommend 231!
The food and wining pairing was good and everyone at the table enjoyed the evening. It was a great customer dinner.
Good wine list and great spot for group lunch. Loved the food and the ambience.
The wife and I have been here a few times. Latest experience was disappointing. We'd always loved 231 Ellsworth for the service. On a rainy night, there was no valet service. The sign is still there, but I guess they no longer offer valet parking. Our waiter was disengaged, seemed like she was in a rush, had somewhere else to be. Just going through the motions. Even though the place only had about 5 tables occupied. Sommelier was nowhere to be seen, which is too bad because he was always a high point of our meals at 231. Menu seems abbreviated compared to the past. Net/net: went from a special place to blah.
Its been 10+ years since I last went to 231 Ellsworth. I remember it being great so when I was looking for a place to celebrate my mom's bday I thought of it. Things have changed!
To start our meal, for 6 people we shared 3 appetizers-- all awful. The beet salad was so salty we couldnt eat it. The lobster mac & cheese came out barely warm & the sauce was very runny. (To be fair, there were big pieces of lobster). We had 6 entrees (5 varieties) and only 1 was good (pasta w/ mushrooms). There were only 3 pieces of gnocchi with the Salmon entree- tough and flavorless. The short rib portion was small and tasted like it was covered in bottled bbq sauce.
Overall, this was a very disappointing experience and I wont be returning again! Stay away!
In brief... Horrible food and worse service yet we paid $300 dollars for dinner for 3 people. Would never recomend or go again.
Three of us had pre-fixed 4 course Thanksgiving dinner. Was asked what kind of water, i.e. still, mineral, etc. & then no water was ever served. After 20 mins, our waiter came to take our order. Time between every course was 15-20 mins. Our waiter never came by to see how we are doing. Two got served main entrees. I thought the server went to the kitchen to get my entree. After 10 mins., I had to flag a staff indicating that I DID NOT get my entree. I had to wait another 10 mins. to get my entree. Most restaurants include coffee/tea on a pre-fix but not this restaurant. We asked for coffee & wasn't told that it cost extra until I saw the bill. Add insult to injury, gratuity added to bill for me. Overall experience, totally unacceptable!
Absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving menu...and normally holidays are iffy at restaurants. Every course was outstanding. Service was impeccable...a far cry from what passes even at many high-end restaurants.
For family members with good taste AND who enjoy eating earlier on holidays, I heartily recommend 231. Crisp, clear flavors, fine wine list, and not a 'barn' with awful acoustics like everything else on the Peninsula.
Very small portions of OK fare, but the prices are out of control. Wine list is incredibly overpriced. The bar is nice, and cocktails are well done.
We had a very fun time. The staff is most welcoming, accomodating, knowledgeable and friendly.
I had the scallops which were delish, my friend had the lamb rack which was also delish, my husband
had steak and mashed potatoes. The steak was cooked just right. We took our own Somona County wines.
After previous experiences at 231 Ellsworth, we were excited to dine there again. The only thing that went right was the reservation. Incredibly poor service - we had to ask for wine glasses, utensils, water - and mediocre food. We had to send back the food since it was prepared with ingredients to which we were allergic - despite repeated assurances that the food would not contain those ingredients. And they did not offer replacement dishes! The head waiter admitted the service was lousy, begging us to come again, but with no assurance that things would be better. Bottom line - two hours for a slice of bread and two glasses of wine. But the final bill did not reflect that! Top dollar for horrible service and inedible food.
Nothing really stood out for me. Cocktail was nice but my duck was too fatty and the mac & cheese too runny. Definitely not as good as I thought it would be. Even the amuse was basically coarsely ground veggies in a demitasse.
The food was good, portions a little expensive for the size. Good ambience. Service very good.
They have weekly 3 course meal special at the bar. The price is very reasonable, usually under $40. It's always fun to sit there and chat with the bar tender and the local foodies who dine there often.
Food was so-so. I have been here for dinner which is far superior. Lunch menu is limited. Although the service was very good, I would not return for lunch.