Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 1.60mi
  2. Distance: 1.79mi
  3. Distance: 1.89mi
  4. Distance: 2.04mi
  1. Distance: 1.60mi
  2. Distance: 1.79mi
  3. Distance: 1.89mi
  4. Distance: 2.04mi

Nearby points of interest

  1. Distance: 1.60mi
  2. Distance: 1.79mi
  3. Distance: 1.89mi
  4. Distance: 2.04mi
  1. Distance: 1.60mi
  2. Distance: 1.79mi
  3. Distance: 1.89mi
  4. Distance: 2.04mi

About Pino Alto Restaurant - Cabrillo College

Spring Semester 2016 is under way: The last week for Spring 2016 is May 12 & 13.

Pino Alto Restaurant is located in the historic Sesnon House on the Cabrillo College campus in Aptos. The student run restaurant is open for dinner Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 5:50 - 8:30. The Terrace, with more casual fare, opens at 5:00. The restaurant is also open for lunch Monday - Thursday. We only accept lunch reservations for groups of 6 or more.

6500 Soquel Dr.
Aptos, CA 95003
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
American, Contemporary American

Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Wednesday - Friday: 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Lunch: Monday - Thursday, 12:00 - 1:30 No Reservations

Terrace, Wednesday - Friday 5:00 - 8:30

Catering for up to 250 on Saturdays at the historic Sesnon House

Cross Street:
Cabrillo Colleg Drive

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(831) 479-6524

Website:
http://www.pinoaltorestaurant.org/

Catering:
A perfect venue for weddings. Let the Cabrillo Culinary Arts department cater your wedding or event. Groups up to 250. Contact instructor Sue Slater at 831-479-5205 for food details. Contact Margitta Dietrick - Welsh at 831-479-6229 for information on availability and pricing.

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, BYO Liquor, BYO Wine, Fireplace, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Pino Alto Restaurant - Cabrillo College Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.5

service

4.4

ambience

4.2

value

4.5

Noise

Quiet

100% would recommend it to a friend

Creative Cuisine (4)
Seasonal (4)
Good for a Date (4)
See All
Casual (3)
Local Ingredients (3)
Notable Wine List (3)
Good for Anniversaries (2)
Good for Birthdays (2)
Cozy (2)
Fit for Foodies (2)
Neighborhood Gem (2)
Great for Outdoor Dining (2)
Quiet Conversation (2)
Romantic (2)
Scenic View (2)
Special Occasion (2)
Worth the Drive (2)
Authentic (1)
Fun (1)
Pre/post Theatre (1)
Tapas (1)
Good Vegetarian Options (1)
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144 reviews
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 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 8, 2017

This is a restaurant run by the Cabrillo College staff and students of the culinary program. The food is always very good to excellent. The service is usually a little quirky but it is fun to talk to the servers about their future plans in the restaurant business. We happened to go to the wine makers dinner this time. Dinner was great and the pours were very generous!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Casual
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
·Dined on December 8, 2017

The meal we enjoyed was the Wine tasters special, 12.7.17. Unfortunately we have no wine palate at all so I couldn’t comment on the wines, however the 5course meal was among the best ever, anywhere! Pan fried scallops and pastry-wrapped beef were celestial, the smoked duck on a bed of greens was merely excellent. The cheese tray and desert tray were good, but spartan in contrast to the rest of the dinner. The experience with the staff was warm and attentive above and beyond the level of “great service” into the realm of memorable experience. It was an anniversary experience that we shall treasure.

Tags: Good for a Date, Cozy, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on December 1, 2017

Enjoyed our food! Will recommend it. A great taste treat & wonderful value. Way to go students and teachers.

Tags: Seasonal, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience3
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 18, 2017

We really enjoyed the tapas menu! The food was delicious, creatively conceived, and beautifully presented. Service was attentive without intrusion. The wine was a great deal and perfect accompaniment to the meal. The restaurant even serves a house made hard cider. Great ambiance.... we enjoyed our meal and look forward to coming back!

Tags: Authentic, Seasonal, Quiet Conversation, Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Tapas, Fit for Foodies, Notable Wine List, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Casual, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion, Romantic
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 27, 2017

The duck dish entree was disappointing but the halibut was great

Tags: Scenic View
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food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 6, 2017

Every bit of the food was exceptionally delicious.

Tags: Good for a Date, Scenic View, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on September 30, 2017

The food was fantastic. Fresh, flavorful, and creative dishes. The service was good but pretty slow. They seemed understaffed. It's so cool that the students make and serve all the food. You can detect their pride in their work. I would definitely go here again and would recommend it to others as well.

Tags: Romantic, Fun, Seasonal, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Outdoor Dining, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre, Worth the Drive, Local Ingredients, Notable Wine List, Good for Birthdays, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience4
service2
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 12, 2017

Unfortunately, Pino Alto called to say they did not have a table for us at any time, even though we made a reservation on Open Table. Very disappointing!

The rating I gave is from previous visits.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Creative Cuisine, Cozy
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food4
ambience4
service4
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 14, 2017

Pino Alto is located inside a lovely historical mansion on the Cabrillo College campus. Easy directions to find it and a big parking lot.
Servers and chefs are students at the culinary school. The food, every bite, was fantastic. Would love to go again as they change the menus. Service is not perfect, but they try very hard which is to be commended. Knowing that these people are "in training", you will come to respect their hard work quickly and enjoy the evening.
Kudos to everyone at Pino Alto. Highly recommend sitting outside on the patio if the weather permits.

Tags: Romantic, Comfort Food, Worth the Drive, Great for Outdoor Dining, Creative Cuisine, Scenic View
1 person found this review helpful.
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food5
ambience5
service4
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 16, 2017

I've eaten dinner here 3 times now, once many years ago and 2 times in the last 8 months. Every meal has been delicious and a great value plus the menu was totally different each time.

Here is a review of my most recent dinner. Booking a reservation on Open Table was easy. At the beginning of the meal the server brought us an amuse-bouche and some lovely bread and butter. I had a light salad to start and my companions had curried zucchini soup. The soup was fantastic, I wish I had ordered it instead of the salad, however the salad was light and refreshing. Next was a yummy sorbet palate cleanser. Then, onto the entrees, two of us had the filet mignon and one had the pork belly. All 3 of us loved the food and it was beautifully presented. At the end we shared one order of dessert, a panna cotta infused with flowers, and it was very good.

Everything was delicious and the pace was low key, we ended up spending 3 hours there chatting and dining and not once were we pressured to leave so they could turn the table. I really appreciate that!

AND you can BYOB with no corkage fee!

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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on March 15, 2017

Quiet and intimate. Service was excellent. Food was great.

Tags: Cozy, Romantic, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 23, 2017

We always enjoy coming to Pino Alto and chatting with the students. Our last visit was especially memorable. The handmade gnocchi, pates, skirt steak and short ribs were creative delicious. The list of local wines and retail prices is very good. We never go home hungry. Wish the restaurant was open all year round!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Notable Wine List, Local Ingredients, Outstanding Value
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 22, 2017

We have been coming to Pino Alto for 4 years now and have always been impressed by the menu and wait staff. There are enough wonderful options on the menu for everyone--from vegetarians to carnivores.

Tags: Outstanding Value, Fit for Foodies, Seasonal, Worth the Drive, Authentic, Casual, Good Vegetarian Options, Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience3
service5
value5

 
 (Memphis)·Dined on February 8, 2017

Students are well trained. Each semester the food seems to improve. Great service.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Scenic View
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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 9, 2016

This was the second time we've been to Pino Alto, and we enjoyed it a lot both times! Both times the food has been creative and delicious (also affordable for what you get). The setting is truly unique and very comfortable; we got to sit by a lovely fire both times. Our server the first time was absolutely wonderful, personable and experienced, and made sure we had everything we needed. The second time our server was pleasant, but our entrees did not come out at the same time (it was a wine makers dinner and I had the vegetarian option, while my 3 friends all chose the meat option). All in all, it's a great deal and I'm so happy we have this wonderful restaurant with the Cabrillo College culinary students working there!

Tags: Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Fun, Romantic, Creative Cuisine, Casual, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service3
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 18, 2016

Have been a patron of this Cabrillo College culinary class restaurant for years. Historic home setting. Somewhat classy environment. Very good food. Good locally available wines at retail (read:not marked up) so not a need to bring your own bottle (besides, their wine sales support key restaurant attributes). Reasonable prices, though do not expect to walk away 'full' as the servings are more focused on quality over quantity. My only wish is that full meals would have been available instead of many tapas-style small plated items.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Fun, Special Occasion, Quiet Conversation, Creative Cuisine, Tasting Menu, Good for Birthdays, Tapas, Neighborhood Gem, Organic, Good for a Date, Cozy
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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 9, 2016

Students did a super job. Staff was very personable, including the chef.

Tags: Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 4, 2016

Such incredible food. Great service. Little on the pricier side for the meal we got this time but always a great menu!

Tags: Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 3, 2016

Best in service, delicious and a real Gem. One of top two restaurants in the Santa Cruz area.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Tapas, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Cozy, Authentic, Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 21, 2016

The head chef came out twice to explain how they set up for weddings and see how we felt about the dinner. The server was very personable and attentive. It was very enjoyable.

Tags: Romantic, Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on October 20, 2016

My colleague and I enjoyed a 2 hour gourmet meal served by students who were friendly, humble and very creative. The Asian Fusion fall menu is outstanding!

Tags: Worth the Drive, Spicy, Organic, Quiet Conversation, Good Vegetarian Options, Authentic, Business Meals, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 28, 2016

After 31 years coming to Sesnon House for dinner and a few lunches, I was surprised to see market prices. However, it's worth it once in a while. Server is probably a more confident chef than waiter. :) Don't recall his name. He did his job but seemed to wish he were elsewhere.

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Good for Anniversaries, People Watching, Romantic, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Good for Groups, Authentic, Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Business Meals, Healthy
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food4
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 16, 2016

My husband and I enjoyed a really great meal the other night at Pino Alto restaurant by the advanced culinary students. All the dishes we had were beautifully plated and tasty as well. The fish entree was especially good. The service was good and we enjoyed the little "extra" dishes that were provided. Very affordable wine list. We will definitely be going back!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 16, 2016

This was the beginning of the semester at Pino Alto, where the culinary students, under the watchful eye of an experienced chef, cook, bake, serve, and host at the beautiful, historic Sesnon House. The food is always delicious, the setting is very pretty, the service is wonderful, and the prices are very reasonable for the high end food they serve. The menu changes on a monthly basis, and I would recommend checking out as many of their menus at possible!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 13, 2016

We had a truly delicious meal, best ever at Pino Alto. Every course was flavorful and the meal was served almost professionally. We enjoyed the wine experience too. We'll go back!

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 5, 2016

Adjust your expectations in order to enjoy the training aspect of this establishment. It is part of a learning experience for students. Worthy of support but not to be compared to an ongoing restaurant.

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food2
ambience4
service2
value3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 28, 2016

These food service people do a great job as they are learning the trade at Cabrillo College. The menu is constantly changing and quite innovative. The wait staff is not always perfect but they are students, and learning. Glad to support them and encourage them. I want this program to continue.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 15, 2016

Food was delicious, it was great to try different things, and the venue is lovely. The service was ok. Friendly but slow. Cooks were efficient.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Notable Wine List, Romantic
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food5
ambience4
service2
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 15, 2016

The web site said Scallops. No Scallops. The tapas were tasty. Chicken something was excellent. Bread soo good. The salad with oranges just ok. Needed more fruit flavor and zip In the dressing. Chocolate something cake was dry. The service, while Marypolite was very uneven with a few very long waits.The wine suggested by the very lovely chef / waitress was perfect. Very much enjoyed talking with the crew.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Brunch, Great for Lunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Scenic View, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 18, 2016

We decided to sit outside and it was nice for a while but after it got a bit cold we asked the waiter to move the heater closer to us. He said he would but he forgot and we needed to remind him. Then once it was much colder I asked to move inside and the host was acommodating in reseating us. The appetizer arrived and it was good but themain course took a long time to come. My salmon had a charcoal flavor to it alhtough it was moist. Since we moved inside our waiter seemed to forget about us at that point and we had to start asking for things like the box and the bill. It took a while for that all to come and we were antsy to leave. So between the time it took for the main course to arrive and then the bill were must have been there for over 2 and a half hours! I would come back for lunch as I had a good experience when I came before. The dinner was also quite pricey. I'm not sure if I would come back for dinner.

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food2
ambience2
service2
value2

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on March 10, 2016

Our first time at Pino Alto and we will be back. We had a wonderful dinner and look forward to trying lunch. Our server was friendly and had a fun personality. We had a 6pm reservation and we were seated on time. By the time we finished dinner all tables were occupied. The restaurant is small so a reservation is a must. We hope you enjoy your dinner as much as we did.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 25, 2016

Food was mediocre, overcook and not well presented. Waiter was disinterested, hands in pocket ,had no idea how to open a wine bottle. Comment card at end of night was not offered. Supervisor/instructor did not circulate as normal. Price was excessive for occasion. We are frequent diners here , know that it is a student project and make allowances, but may not come back.

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food2
ambience3
service2
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 20, 2015

Each time we go to Pino Alto we enjoy ourselves thoroughly. The food is always interesting, the staff EXTREMELY friendly with great service, and the clientele seem to share in the experience the same way. We enjoyed the Tapas and will be back again!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food3
ambience3
service3

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 20, 2015

We have had lunch at Pino alto (indoor) before. This was our first dinner (patio). Can't go wrong either way. Food was very well done and nicely presented. Service was very professional. We enjoyed talking to everyone who waited on us. The location is very relaxing.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Scenic View, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 19, 2015

This restaurant is run by the Cabrillo College culinary department.
Food and Service excellent and really fun.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining
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food4
ambience3
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 22, 2015

We took friends from out of town to Pino Alto as we have generally had great food and decent service and the fact that it is staffed by the students and staff of the Culinary School at Cabrillo is an attraction. We expect that the service will be a bit off as the students are learning the trade and are probably focused more on cooking than customer interaction. This time though, the service was just terrible. We ordered a bottle of wine for the four of us. The server managed to pour everyone a glass but when she came around to top of the glasses she just refilled three and left the fourth one with an ounce or two.. She had no idea how rude that was. She also brought the wrong soup/salad orders. All of the entres were barely warm. Not very appetizing. Maybe it was the start of a new class so they weren't at their peak. We will try them again, but I will find out when they are near graduating with the hope that the food and service will be up to par.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food2
ambience4
service1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 22, 2015

Seafood bouillabaisse was tepid in temperature and a bit thin on broth richness and flavor. Accompany toasts nice texture, but heavy on the tomato based squirt topping. Would not order again because of the disappointing broth- seafood was a bit raw. Appetizers were good on a previous visit: fig and goat cheese and crab stuffed shrimp flavorful and well presented. Amuse bouche and lime sorbet pallet refresher very nice additions. Enjoyed the sparkling wine from Argentina, pleasantly dry and very well priced. Dinner partner's hamburger did not have much seasoning, and his fries were not crisp. I ordered the same dish 2 weeks ago and it was flavorful and my fries were crisp.

Service was attentive, though remind servers not to pick up plates until diners have fork and knife at 4 o'clock position, had to grab my plate back.

Hope director of menu develops some new entrees and menu items. Will return.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Brunch, Great for Lunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic
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food2
ambience4
service3

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on October 8, 2015

It's such a pleasure to see such great enthusiasm among aspiring chefs at the Pino Alto Restaurant. Our waitress was personal and attentive. There seemed to be an older crowd this time; music was suited toward that age. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. We had a great time! The pollo al mattone and vegetarian fettucine were outstanding....fresh, local ingredients... as were our green salads (with fried goat cheese) and dessert (flourless torte with hazelnut ice cream). All dishes were cooked to perfection and beautifully presented. This has been consistent with all our visits to the Pino Alto Restaurant over the years. Great neighborhood gem!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 24, 2015

Pino Alto is a great opportunity to experience great food at a reasonable price. There is even a decent selection of wine, but if you bring your own there is no corkage fee. The servings are plenty and you will not go away hungry. The night we were there the some was a cream of broccoli that was delicious.
The students are learning not only the art of cooking but get real world experience as servers and in dealing with the public.
The only reason for four stars and not five is my own pet peeve. The student serving us had difficulty with opening our wine bottle. For some reason here, and in some other restaurants, the task of opening wine is not taught. It is not that hard, and done correctly and cleanly can enhance the total dining experience. When mishandled it dampens the experience.
Otherwise, this is a place I recommend and we will return, hopefully often.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Tasting Menu, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on April 29, 2015

Did not know what to expect. Happened to be tapas night, what a treat! Wanted to try more than we could eat. Everything was great but have to say the bread got my #1 vote. Everything had a little above and beyond in taste and presentation. Can't wait to go back - wish it was year round.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Scenic View, Special Occasion, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience5
service5

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