Location: San Mateo
Favorite Restaurant: Perbacco
Reviewed Perbacco: Saturday, December 7, 2013
Perbacco is arguably one of the finest Italian restaurants outside of Italy. With proprietor Umberto Gibin running the dining room and his chef partner, Staffan Terje, commanding the kitchen, the duo brings to San Francisco an authentic, first class taste of Northern Italy. From the moment you enter this contemporary dining room, stylish but comfortable, you literally feel transported to a dining room in Milan – exposed brick walls, luscious red leather banquettes, a grand, vibrant bar upon entry. The place bustles with financial district energy from lunch to dinner.
While the classic architectural aesthetic and the buzz in the dining room sets the tone, extraordinary Italian food and impeccable service is the star of this restaurant. One should not visit Perbacco without staring a meal with a selection of their Salumi Peimontesi – house cured salami and meats. Their house made pastas are so special that often times I order a plate to share with my dining partner as an “intermezzo” between appetizers and entrees, though some of those dishes can certainly be made a complete meal. Perbacco’s Pappardelle pasta with slow cooked short rib ragu and grated fresh horseradish is extraordinary. I’ve also had their Spinach Pasta Rags “Stracci” with Devil’s Gulch Ranch Rabbit and Chestnut Ragu. A great fall dish! We finished our meals with a Burnt Caramel Gelato, which I can still taste, and an interesting Fall Fruit Turnover with marinated blackberries and a brown sugar crumble. Divine and perfect!
What sets Perbacco apart from many other excellent Italian restaurants in America is their extraordinary tableside service. It all must stem from Umberto Gibin’s amazing history in the Bay Area food scene (Poggio, Scala’s, Stars) as the team of service professionals he has assembled, from servers to the wine sommelier team, is as first rate as they come. During our dinner visit, service was spot on, doting, professional and certainly enhanced the outstanding food. And that is what separates Perbacco from the rest of the pack: when a restaurant can deliver outstanding food from its kitchen with as much passion and elegance presented tableside, the experience elevates itself to the pantheon of classics.
Occupation: Office Manager
Location: San Lorenzo
Favorite Restaurant: Federicos Tapas & Wine Bar
Reviewed Perbacco: Monday, December 9, 2013