AL's Place

4.5
1212 reviews
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$30 and under
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Californian
Aaron London's new restaurant in the Mission, San Francisco. Northern California regional cuisine rooted in the produce and seafood of the Bay Area.

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.4

The plates at Al's Place in the Mission look like art, and taste pretty great too. "Best New Restaurant in the US 2015" ain't a bad calling card either.

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 1212 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
4.2
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excelente!

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MC
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Excellent, creative food and attentive service. Totally deserves its Michelin star!

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OL
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such a fun time! Great music, bustling vibes, AMAZING food. It felt like a Friday night in there lol the energy was great but the food absolutely made the experience. Thanks for the good time!

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s
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Overall, the food here is good, not amazing. Some of the foods were very rich and not very balanced. I think it's worth checking out but I wouldn't go back.

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EL
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

Sorry to say that my first experience here, for my dear friend's birthday, was quite disappointing. Not sure what happened but definitely not a Michelin Star restaurant anymore. I figure the Family Style on the menu would be the best experience, given I'm trusting them to pick the best pairings for food to get the best out of the restaurant but the first two dishes were fried food overload with similar aoli like sauces. Actually everything seemed prepared that way, not all fried, but all including a sauce and something sweet and tangy. In a family style or in a menu I would expect an array of tastes and textures and paced well but it seemed the same, over and over again. The best thing was the brownie cake dessert with caramel flowing out of it with a nice top layer crunch and the ambience seems lively and cosy. Such a bummer, I'll probably not come again.

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W
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 2food 5service 4ambience 1

Waaaay too loud. Energetic? Hardly. Unpleasant would be a better choice. If I want to shout at the people I'm dining with I don't need to go to a restaurant.

The music drowns out the flavor of the food. Menu unchanged from over a year ago. The prices have definitely changed. $33 for a salad? Please.

We have many other SF restaurant choices with innovative cuisines, better value and an ambiance supporting comfortable conversations. Recommend going there. Sorry Aaron.

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C
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

I went to Al’s Place 3 times, and every time it was disappointing. I kept coming back after hearing good reviews from friends, wondering if I was missing the point. I am now sure I didn’t. Some examples:
• Pears with peanut butter sauce: both ingredients were average and didn’t gain anything when added together.
• Pasta: pasta were clearly overcooked (!) and the salad mixed with it was too strong, overpowering the pasta. Sauce tasted like ketchup.
• Pork belly: it was perfectly prepared, but the fish roes on top didn’t work, and the sauce just didn’t taste good.
• Pastry: the only pleasant surprise. A fruit tart with lavender ice cream (even though the lavender was a bit hard to find).

It just puzzles me how they could get a Michelin star.

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R
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

I had high expectations and I really wanted to love it. And I liked the food very much but the service was not the best. The server seemed stand-offish and seemed like he didn't care. The way he was explaining the menu felt rather too casual and made us all feel like he didn't really want to be there. There wasn't a lot of attention put on our table after we did the initial order. He cam once as soon as the first plate was put on the table (we did the tasting menu) and asked how it was and we hadn't even had a morsel to eat. Then he came to drop off the check.

The other lady saw we weren't getting a lot of attention and all of our wine glasses were empty and kept coming to fill them up but had she not been there we may have walked away from the table half way through. We came out to have a good time and to really enjoy the food on a Sunday but I'm not sure I would want to go back. They have a Michelin star and it's great but then also act like you have the star and step up your service.

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AZ
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

The service there was great! The waiters were nice and thoughtful. However...No matter how many Michelin stars you get. If you can’t control the basic element, salt in your dish, it will not taste good. The chef tend to use a lot of pickles in the dishes, which is why the dish overall tends to be salty.

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BB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

To celebrate the new year we held our holiday staff dinner at Al's Place. Our group had a lot of dietary restrictions, 2 vegetarians, 1 vegan, 1 pescatarian, and 2 omnivores. It was a tall order for family style dining to say the least, but the staff and kitchen put together the most memorable and delicious meal!
The food is fresh and seasonal, making it a new experience every time. It was my 4th visit to Al's Place and I feel like each visit is better than the last; from excellent to exquisite.

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MB
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food was mostly good, however some of the dishes did not have the complexity of flavors that I was looking for. Service felt rushes as there was very little down time in between courses.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Part of the chef selection were French fries. We were sat at a table by the door in January and it was freezing.

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JS
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

This is the second time I've been to Al's. Al's reputation is as one of the best restaurants in San Francisco and I had a great meal there in the past, but it did not live up to its reviews this time around. We selected the family style option to celebrate our anniversary, but were overwhelmed with the volume of food that arrived in waves with the staff often reaching the table and then turning back with the dishes because there was no room. We barely started one dish before another two massive dishes arrived in rapid succession. I would have much preferred to pay less than what we did and get say half the food, if only so that we could appreciate the dishes we had without two or three more being dropped on our table. Furthermore, Al's bills itself as a vegetable first restaurant with meat as the side, but their tasting menu was exactly the opposite--predominantly small veggie dishes to start with large fish and meat driven dishes as mains. Perhaps if you're with a large group, this is a good place for you, but certainly wouldn't return for two.

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ML
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The service was outstanding, the food was excellent. Every dish from appetizer to dessert had unique nuanced flavors and lovely presentation. Our one mystification was the choice of background music - an odd mix of Madonna disco 80's something or another and seemed incongruent with the sophisticated meal and cool vibe.

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R
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The meal was good but it is not cheap and they really cram in tables so you are too close to people eating next to you if you get a seat in the middle.

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R
New England
5 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Every dish packs quite a punch of flavor! Can be a bit overwhelming, but the variety across the menu helps avoid overload in any particular direction. Overall a great dining experience.

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PI
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

Service was excellent. Food just did not work for my group - the hot dishes were lukewarm and due to weather? Got cold real fast. Too much spices and tastes in one dish so not sure what was being highlighted. In general, foods were too sweet. Savory dishes should be savory. It was difficult to gauge from the menu so we ordered too much food.
We got there early enough that there were plenty of on street parking.

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SS
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Food is amazing! Michelin Star at the perfect price point. Staff is friendly and helpful :)

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PK
Baltimore
5 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

This was a great place to bring in the New Year. Lovely tasting menu served by kind and gracious staff.

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L
Las Vegas
20 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

I know it’s hard to judge a restaurant on a holiday experience such as New Year’s Eve, however I’ve been in the Hotel and restaurant business for over 25 years and So my opinions are not based on an average customers review but someone from the industry.

I heard a lot of great things about the restaurant and is why we chose to Have New Year’s Eve dinner at Al’s place.

Let’s start with the staff, a bit pretentious when explaining Ingredients and preparation of the foods. I I asked two different servers the same Question about ingredients and preparation of a dish And received the same speech Nearly verbatim,Which led me to inquire more about the item in question and the server becoming frustrated as It was clear they didn’t know very much about the actual food, or that they didn’t want to spend time explaining it. The servers seemed to rush the courses, clearing Plates that still had food on them. The courses were not spaced out. In fact at times there was so much food on the table that it was uncomfortable to sit. I suppose because this was a prefix menu and there were lots of courses to get through and Many more reservations to fill that the table was in high demand the servers felt it was ok to serve soup and the main course (ribeye) at the same time. As I eat my soup the steak sat, getting cold and hardy

On the food, the first couple of courses We’re pretty good, but that’s it. I like the risk the chef takes But some partings just don’t work. The main course was pretty bad. Overdone sliced ribeye Topped with a crab miso sauce and then covered with what I think were black truffles was inedible. The combination togetherJust didn’t work and the smell together made 3/4 at the table queasy. One of our guesstimates went to the bathroom to rinse her mouth out. The desert course was sloppy and average.

The icing on the cake was when we were asked to leave because they had walk in customers they wanted to accommodate.

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CC
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Fantastic choice for NYE! Greatly enjoyed the food and service.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

Poor service. Granted it was NYE and the original server had to be taken off our table (we didn’t request this), the service markedly improved after. The food was creative and mostly strong however the entree, steak with crab and mushroom atop, was low quality. My partner had the vegetarian option which they had to replace due to poor quality. Despite being told there was a vegetarian alternative with menu, we were never given one. As far as $160 per person before drinks are concerned, the fixed meal was clearly overpriced. Being the same price for the vegetarian at the table would be laughable if it weren’t offensive.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good food, somewhat pricey for the food but was expected. Very creative and unique items. Loved the fries.

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c
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceptionally creative and flavorful food.

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GB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Interesting and tasty - the food was excellent and the service as high quality as the food. This is a real gift to San Francisco.

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l
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

2 of us that dine together often, had Rez, got seated at great table within few minutes of our rez..... The food was not entirely consistent (delicata squash did not come anywhere close to its potential). The curry was almost bland. Rib eye, salad, chawanmushi (Sp?!) were fantastic... Service was not very attentive, music was too loud and not entirely conducive to dining (more suited to bar scene, perhaps). Rib eye, salad, chawamushi (Sp?!) were fantastic... id go again but drink ahead (wine by glass not that tasty) & be very careful about dishes ordered....

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MP
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Enjoyed interesting dishes
Felt a bit rushed which was a turn off
did not like receiving a call on Christmas Day to confirm my appointment. Better to have open table email to confirm than getting a voicemail on Christmas Day. Felt that was in poor taste.

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K
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Al's Place has generally very good and interesting menu choices, including both meat and vegetable offerings. Our wait staff was excellent, attentive and professional. Food was served promptly, with each dish served as soon as we'd finished the prior course. I found the food a bit bland (simple) and lacking flavor. I prefer a little more seasoning and spice in the sauces to enhance the food's natural flavors. The atmosphere is fun and upbeat, perfect for celebrating a birthday or anniversary. We dined before attending a show and the staff helped to ensure we were on time for the performance.

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G
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So not surprised...at how incredible the whole experiance was again. Repeat visits for all four of us, and cant say enough about how enjoyable all aspects of the dinner were. From the intial greetings, to the fun, informed and enthusiastic servers, to the astonishing complex and unique flavors of every dish. Aaron stopping by to check in was a pleasant bonus. Thank you for everything. Happy New Year, The DiFurias

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CT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

Good is just ok. Slightly disappointed for Michelin star restaurant.

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OT
Melbourne / VIC
2 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 3

I had to give a review to lower down the rating.

Not sure why it’s so highly reviewed and awarded a Michelin star.

The duck breast with strawberry was tough and hard to chew. The salad was extremely sour - imaging having your vege by dipping in pure lemon juice.

The fish and chip is nothing to shout about.

Chawanmushi and the curry cod were alright but really nothing to shout about.

Definitely not Michelin worthy!

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J
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Staff is not welcoming or helpful. Overrated and overpriced. Quite disappointed - Michelin should reconsider their rating.

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JL
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Service was very mixed but our main waiter was great
Food was a little over salted
I’ve decided I don’t really enjoy small plate eating especially with such intense flavors
Nothing seemed amazing but we went with very high expectations

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w
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service was great. The food was imaginative and delicious! The yellow bean stew was fantastic! Best dish of the night.

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PR
Tahoe
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Fun, lively place with fresh creative menu. Had the chefs menu and enjoyed every dish except the mullet (fish) wasn't really popular with anyone in our group. Cocktails were excellent and beer/wine list had a nice variety. Don't expect to have a conversation with anyone as the noise level is high but it creates a festive atmosphere.

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t
Miami
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

I'm just a regular guy and maybe my palate is not sophisticated enough but i thought this place was just "ok." The music was cool. The service was ok. The food was alright.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

I was not impressed by the restaurant. The food is good but not outstanding, but is more comfortable compared to Michelin start restaurant.

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OD
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

Food was over salted

Potatoes, whether the brined French fries or the potatoes in the fish dish, were stodgy

Pet peeve: we were offered still or sparkling water, but not informed that one was tap and the other was a bottle of topo chico

Brownie with pb ice cream was sickly sweet and felt like a dessert you’d make at summer camp

Mushroom and persimmon chawanmushi was the only standout from a 10 item meal.

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M
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 10, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 2

We had been wanting to try this place for awhile. We went for a birthday with a group of 6 and did the family style menu with the drink pairing. Each dish was very disappointing and some were actually just not good at all. The dessert dish was pretty good, but with the final bill totaling over $1000 dollars it was overall a very disappointing meal. We could not hear the server at all and the dishes just kept rapidly arriving without any audible description of what it was. I think the most disappointing dish was the pasta. There was absolutely no flavor. Most meat dishes arrived cold and most veggie dishes arrived without any notable flavor. Forgot to mention, we had reservations for 6pm and before they sat us they made us agree to leave before 7:30pm.

One positive : the playlist was on point.

There are so many great food options in the city. I could never recommend this restaurant to anyone for any reason.

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m
1 review
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Al's Place did not disappoint. From the creative wine pairings, the extremely knowledgable staff, the fresh local produce-heavy cuisine, the on-point playlist, and the creative decor, it covered off on every sense. Would highly recommend.

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