SPQR

4.5
3354 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
SPQR is a Northern California restaurant inspired by Italian cuisine and wine. An acronym for Senatus Populesque Romanus, SPQR translates to “The People and Senate of Rome” and was the emblem of the Roman Empire. We strive for a balance in offering the highest quality of food, wine and service we can for each guest’s experience in a relaxed, fun, and inviting atmosphere. If you would like to dine at our Chef counter please mark your reservation. Please inform us of any allergies or dietary restrictions as we will try our best to accommodate.

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.5

An ambitious restaurant, and a good one at that. SPQR is making a run at the San Francisco pasta crown, mostly with ingredients we can't pronounce.

Ratings 8.0-8.5:The best way to think about restaurants in the low to mid 8′s is that these are the places you would absolutely go back to, anytime. These restaurants are ones that you want to bring a friend to, just so they can also experience the duck carnitas, or burger, or whatever dish the place is known for.
What 3354 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.3
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
70% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JA
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Food was great. Restaurant was a little cramped. The food did take exceptionally long to come out, though they knew that and comped an appetizer and dessert. I would go back.

SS
Denver
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 4

The food was good. The truffle dishes were awesome. The ambiance is good. We got a great table buy the window. The service however was way too slow. The waitress insisted the chef wanted us to place our full order and they would pace the meal appropriately. However, 2.5 hours for a three course dinner was too much. Many tables were complaining about the slow food service. Our waitress seemed to have too many tables to keep up with our food and drink orders.

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The service and food were excellent. creative and delicious takes on Roman cuisine. Charming host and servers. Very upbeat and energetic environment. A bit loud and pricey but totally worth it!!

C
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

SPQR NEVER disappoints!!

R
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

I guess our expectations were too high. The first sign that things would not go well was our server informing us that we could not have a starter and glass of wine while we mulled over the menu, but had to order all the starters at the same time. It's a mind set of "the customer needs to make things easier for the kitchen." When we did order three starters, they all came out at the same time, to our small two-top table. It was absurd, watching them moving items to and fro on the tabletop, trying to squeeze everything in. We had to ask the server twice to hold off on one so that we could eat in a reasonably civilized manner. We then had to send the octopus back because it wasn't properly prepared. The result was very much like a rubber soul. This is an Italian restaurant. In Italy, octopus is often served with potatoes and the internal consistency should be the same. The chicken liver mousse was completely overwhelmed by the curried apple marmalade which, unfortunately, covered the entire portion. The mustard capellini was very well executed but my main, a special timbale of pasta with mushrooms, mainly tasted of salt - it might as well have been SPAM. A flutter of apologies took flight from the tongues of various members of staff in response to our criticisms, but it didn't seem quite heartfelt, during their rush to turn tables. This place is now a Business first, with the art of cooking and service a distant second on their list of priorities.

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My friend and I did the tasting menu with wine pairing. Food and service were excellent!

OT
Palm Springs
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our favorite spot for Sunday lunch. Incredible food, attentive and friendly service, and a wonderful, peaceful ambiance conducive to relaxed conversation. Bravo.

B
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good date spot on Fillmore street. You can tell how fresh the pasta is, but it was actually some of the appetizers where I was the most pleasantly surprised. The octopus was one of the best dishes I've had in a long time.

SS
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. We sat at the chef's counter and were amazed with every moment and delicious food. Highly recommend.

OT
Salt Lake City
158 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Memories lowered this rating. I have eaten at SPQR in a distant past, and remembered fabulous food and wonderful times. This lunch, while certainly good, didn’t match my remembrances.

With a modest decor and well meaning but amateurish service, SPQR is far from what is expected from a Michelin starred restaurant. That’s okay, because Michelin now recognizes “casual” doesn’t effect the kitchen. However, with Michelin pricing, the food should be fantastic at SPQR.

The three course pasta tasting at SPQR was very good, but not great. Certainly, the pasta creations were unique, but it should be all about taste, and the dishes were more creative than delicious. Maybe my palate is too pedestrian. Donna loved her dishes. Perhaps SPQR shines at dinner, but memories can play tricks. Only time will tell.

CK
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

Fairly forgettable food.

h
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Meal took over 2 hours even though we only ordered 5 dishes to share amongst 3 people. We would wait a half hour for a dish that would be finished within 5 minutes. This restaurant is probably better suited for those who enjoy longer meals.

MA
Baltimore
16 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We got the tasting menu and it was amazing. It is truly a unique restaurant.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

Food was hit or miss- service was amazing. Pasta is what they do well.

FH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Because everything looked delish and we were told we could order individually or to share (recommended), and we couldn't decide - we asked our waitress to order for us! We dropped our menus, "blind" tasted and loved every bite.

SPQR
Responded on August 4, 2019

Hi Francisca, Thanks so much for your feedback. We consider it an honor and a privilege when a guest trusts our knowledge and expertise enough to let us select their menu for the evening. We are elated that you enjoyed your experience and hope to see you again soon. Thank you, Thomas

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OT
San Francisco
198 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love everything about SPQR, where we have been regulars since it opened long ago. Its Michelin star is well-deserved. Pastas are always our favorites, but we enjoy the entire menu, which changes frequently and has specials nightly. We never leave disappointed.

OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The apple baked upside down pancake/pie item was fresh out of the oven and the best thing I’ve tasted in a very long time. Something about it brought me back to my childhood!

H
Cincinnati
49 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was scrumptious and innovative. We had counter seating and the best view of a finely tuned team

r
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding service. Top of the line food. So delicious.

MM
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As a single dinner it was awesome to sit at the counter watching the chefs prepare amazing dishes.

WC
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Seared tuna is defiantly over cooked. I’d called fuller cooked tuna instead of seared fish.

B
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Second time at SPQR and I would say both times we enjoyed the restaurant. We were not blown away, it wasn't perfect like we've experienced at other Michelin star restaurants, but it was good and still worthy of the price in my opinion.

Food - App and 2 of our 3 pastas were great. Good flavors and quality that I think aligns with a 1 Michelin star restaurant. One of our pastas was lukewarm at best which was disappointing but our only complaint.

Service - Our waitress was great, exchanges silverware between every course and very attentive. The other staff also jumped in to clear dishes promptly and fill water.

Ambiance - Only complaint besides the one cold dish was that tables are placed very close together, it's not a large restaurant and our conversation was by no means private. On the way home we were able to assess how the 2nd date at the table next to us seemed to go as we were as close to them as if we were all sitting at a 4 person table.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We sat at the counter and chef Hati was super fun and informative. We had fun dining experience.

It would have been perfect if our counter seat does not small like toilet air that was down the hall way.

SF
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

The good quality was noticably lower than previous visits. I hope this was an off night, and not a trend.

JB
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 3

The service and hostess was great- attentive without being overbearing. The meal was uninspired. Nothing on the menu spoke to the wonderful fresh ingredients of summer. Everything heavy handed. I lived in Italy for 3 years and this did not cut it. We won't be going back.

S
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

Terrible service. My waiter did not offer any bread, assist in pouring our wine, ask if we would like more wine, or take our dirty dishes. Definitely not worth the price.

t
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 3ambience 2

Overpriced by 40-50%. A further indignity was the unanticipated $3.50/person upcharge on the bill for "healthy San Francisco." This totally bogus charge (sometimes called "SF mandates" or something similar) is simply additional margin for the restaurant. My wife & I will not be returning.

RB
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

We were looking for an Italian fare open on Sundays. Although our plans changed and ended up going on a Tuesday evening, the restaurant did fill up quickly upon our arrival. The food was good, but not outstanding and not a lot of basic Italian options.

K
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

SPQR was delicious and the service wonderful, as always.

LS
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 3

The food was nice but as an overall experience it is lacking diversity or an attractive atmosphere. For the money/expense at Spqr there are a handful of better experiences or methods of spendings money. I would only suggest you visit if you desperately want to sit at a michelin acclaimed establishment. Instead choose an alternative.

r
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious refined food and warm professional service. Tables are very tight...essentially a four top for two parties. Opt for the counter for a better experience.

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food.

OT
1 review
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Thank you for delicious foods and wine also service was perfect!

w
San Francisco
119 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 1

We waited an hour for our main courses. Someone came by and said that food delivery was slow because I had ordered my scallops cooked through. I replied that might have added 2 minutes to the cooking time, but an hour had passed since we ordered. The noise level was tremendous. The actual food was tasty. Other diners were advised that the buckwheat pasta was available with sauces other than the menu listing, but when we inquired we were refused. My wife commented on ordering the buckwheat pasta that she was avoiding white carbohydrates. At the end of the meal, the kitchen sent a lavish dessert as an apology, full of sugar carbohydrates. The bill was costly. We will not go back.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So so so gooooood

JW
1 review
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 5

Been there quite a few times and never had to send back a dish. Total disappointment. At least the wine was great

J
San Francisco
26 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a perfect evening for 6 foodies! Quality, preparation, and food presentation were exceptional. SPQR is slightly loud/noisy and pricey, but in the end it was an otherwise perfect evening.

ZZ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Nothing to right about. The food is good, not amazing.

S
San Francisco
34 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

I don’t know why this place has a Michelin Star. I’ve been half a dozen times and have never been wow’d. Had a soft carb there tonight which was awful. It was fishy, which it should NEVER be, coated with a hard thick cornmeal crust which overwhelmed the delicate crab, swimming in a pool of some kind of pungent sauce. I’m from Maryland so I know soft crabs and this was definitely not fresh and not good.

SF
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 3

Overall the food was outstanding and the service was very good. The negative aspect was that we were seated at the bar with very uncomfortable chairs even though we had reservations. The SPQR hostess indicated that Opentable reservations automatically are seated at the bar ( not a table) even though this wasn't clear when the reservation was made. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the restaurant was very busy, we could not be moved to a table in a timely manner. ( it was our wedding anniversary). I would recommend calling the restaurant to confirm a table reservation if this is someone's preference.

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