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231 Ellsworth

752 reviews
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$50 and over
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Contemporary American
Top Tags:
  • Special Occasion (1044)
  • Fit for Foodies (966)
  • Romantic (686)

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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.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Contemporary American, Tapas / Small Plates, Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service
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Hours of operation
Luncheon: by appointment
Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm
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Phone number
(650) 347-7231
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Mike Goshorn
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Private party facilities
Excellence is affordable! Our innovative cuisine, professional service and award winning wine list make 231 Ellsworth an ideal location for big city dining on the peninsula. Our private room accommodates up to 32 guests but is cozy enough to suit small gatherings as well. Larger party? Call our event manager.
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Private party contact
Terri Milkovich / Syreeta Young: (650) 347-7231 ext. 200
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Cross street
Between 2nd and 3rd Ave.
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Parking details
The Downtown Central Garage is one block south of the restaurant on S. Ellsworth. There are two private garages located just north of 2nd Ave. and S. Ellsworth, and the City lot at 2nd between and B and Railroad.
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Public transit
Less than five minute walk to Caltrain San Mateo station
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Special events & promotions
Chef Mike Goshorn unveils fabulous multi-course tasting menus starting at $59, available with wine pairings.
Have a special bottle you've been saving? Chef Mike will plan a menu just for your party. Please call to arrange a meeting.
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 752 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.1  based on all time ratings
Noise · Quiet
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
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leventhald (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on April 7, 2014

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.

Repeat5diner (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on March 22, 2014

I found the tasting menu with wine pairing delicious and good value. I would definitely return.

ChrisW (San Francisco)
1.0  Dined on March 14, 2014

The food was ok... Not worth the price. Services was very good.

vipFussyeaters2 (San Francisco)
4.0  Dined on March 13, 2014

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.

Joe60302 (Chicago)
4.0  Dined on February 24, 2014

The food was great. The recommendations were spot on.

Thomas (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on February 15, 2014

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.

OpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
1.0  Dined on February 15, 2014

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.

Disappointed (San Francisco)
2.0  Dined on February 14, 2014

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'.

vips2ebobo (San Francisco)
3.0  Dined on February 14, 2014

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.

MarkAndAll (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on February 14, 2014

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.

OpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
4.0  Dined on February 1, 2014

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.

vipjudy (San Francisco)
4.0  Dined on January 31, 2014

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!

vipFoodie (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on January 31, 2014

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.

Monicabrie (Palm Springs)
5.0  Dined on January 29, 2014

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!

Dwesal (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on January 23, 2014

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.

vipchapelhillchuck (Chicago)
4.0  Dined on January 21, 2014

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.

vipsameet (San Francisco)
3.0  Dined on January 21, 2014

Needs more vegetarian options such as some solid pastas, ratatoille or whatever

vipbabs (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on January 17, 2014

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.

vipKara (San Francisco)
3.0  Dined on January 10, 2014

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.

vipBsming (San Francisco)
2.0  Dined on January 10, 2014

Finally got back to 231 Ellsworth. On a Friday at 1 pm, an empty restaurant! Food just ok. What happened?