SPQR

4.5
3259 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 3259 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
4.4
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
75% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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N
Minneapolis
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastico

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AK
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Food was excellent (BUT, read on). We had the octopus, fried kale, and garbanzo beans appetizer. The kale was crisp and delicious, and the octopus was tender (not chewy) and the best octopus I have had. Both the pastas we ordered were excellent--the papardelle with kale and rabbit was tender and tasty, if slightly oversalted; the bludknudlen (sic?) I had--pasta with blood sausage and pig's feet--was way better than it sounds, crunch, umami, delicious. And the black sesame panna cotta with a little citrus rounded things off nicely. The food was great, but a little overpriced, BUT the wine was deliriously overpriced--$26 for my 5oz of red wine--clearly the boozy cash cow. It was good, but not $120 odd a bottle good. Service was OK and the ambiance left something to be desired. The space is kind of cramped and I spent a good chunk of the evening with a Romeo waiting for his table behind me in my peripheral vision, romancing his Juliet, and threatening my head with his elbow. Overall, there is just as good or better food in SF in a better atmosphere and for a better price. Glad I went once, but unlikely to repeat.

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N
Los Angeles
10 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing. David at the bar knows how to pair everything perfectly. He also recommended our entire dining experience and paired wines with each. It was extraordinary.

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JK
Melbourne / VIC
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I think this may have been the best dinner I have ever eaten.
Every course was equally good and the cheese plate was outstanding

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RA
Los Angeles
11 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Return visit - just as good as first time! The advice of other raters to try the chicken liver mousse was right on point - so different and delicious. And the fettuccini with truffles was all of our favorite. We loved everything we tried. If you want to see the kitchen at work, the Chef’s Counter is very fun. A must do for any San Fran trip!

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OT
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on March 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such a cool place

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DS
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

I dined at SPQR on a Saturday night. The restaurant was packed so I recommend making a resy ahead of time. Having read previous yelp reviews on the spacing of the tables, I was praying that I would not have to sit in one of the tables in the front where tables are spaced inches apart. Upon entering, I spotted a 2 seat table in the back. Luckily, I was able to request they were able to seat me in the back.

One of the things I wanted most was the foie gras. With the new ban on foie in SF, I was pleasantly surprised to see this on the menu. The waitress mentioned that they had a loophole where they could still serve it because of how it is prepared. The foie gras "terrina", black sesame "bruschetta," pineapple and fresh hibiscus was my favorite dish of the night. The foie was nice and buttery and paired well with the black sesame. I wish I could have ordered another one. Our other appitizer we ordered was the wagyu beef "pastrami", smoked and crispy potato, black radish. The beef indeed has a pastrami texture and I thought it went well with the creamy sauce and potato.

I had high hopes for the pasta dishes after such amazing appetizers. The first dish was the yukon gold potato gnocchi with sunchoke creme and mizuna. The dish came out luke warm. The flavors were subtle and it was nothing special. Our next pasta dish was the squid ink mezzalune served with sea scallop and black ink sauce. The pasta was undercooked and there was no flavor to the sauce. The scallops were also over charred and burnt! After the waitress asked us how our dishes were, we told her and she took the dish away.

For our main, we ordered the berkshire pork "costoletta" served with parsnip, kale, kumquat and pancetta sauce. After the horrible pasta, I was scared for this dish. There were only two options for the secondi course, the pork and the scallop. The pork came out and the presentation was surprisingly unappetizing (look at my pic). The pork was cooked perfectly though. This was one of the

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D
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

Really disappointed: the service was bad. It’d have been bad if it weren’t a bit overpriced. Look I’m willing to pay good money for good food. But when one pays $18 for a piece of toast, I’m expecting better than average service. The tables were SO close together... perhaps if you take out a table on each side, the service won’t be so poor, there will be more space to breathe, and I won’t pay $125 each to feel like I’ve been had. #blackball

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M
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

SPQR is a nice restaurant with a great menu and yummy food. It is way overpriced . My pasta and salad a glass of wine and shared dessert was over a hundred dollars, just my half. You’re paying for the Michelin star, evidently. :-(

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DF
1 review
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Great ambiance, great food, service was a tad off.

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WB
Charlotte
4 reviews
Dined on March 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the most special restaurants I visit in the U.S.! Tremendous food designed by Chef Matthew and his incredible team coupled with Shelley Lindgren's masterful wine pairings make for a special culinary experience. Grab a seat at the Chef's Counter if available and marvel at the care and art of the dishes. Not to mention, it's just a cool, fun, spot to see and be seen. Enjoy!

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B
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on March 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

our favorite restaurant in the city and one we always go to for special occasions. the chef's counter is the only place to sit! we just love it!

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g
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on March 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So far the best dining experience in San Francisco. The risotto with truffles and the ink pasta were incredible, the wine also very good.The atmosphere is vibrant and pleasant. Not too noisy as not to enjoy the dinner. Recommend it strongly, also over Chez Panisse.

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t
San Francisco
58 reviews
Dined on March 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The wine the waitress recommended was excellent and really made the evening memorable. The scallops and mezzaluna were a very good combination, but too salty and the gnocchetti was salty as well. I think they would have been really good dishes with less salt. The endive salad seemed like it needed more work to fit together as a salad. It was a good combination, but required a fair amount of cutting (full endive leaves, round slices of orange) and rearranging to eat it as a salad. We enjoyed the dinner, but felt the pastas were better (definitely less salty) on prior visits.

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AR
Seattle
1 review
Dined on March 11, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

Crammed, loud, uncomfortable proximity to other diners, unimaginative offerings and presentation. Pasta dish was lukewarm. Menu descriptions did not match what was delivered to the table. Definitely not a good value for the money. Service came across condescending and generally slow.

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OT
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 4ambience 4

The prices at tSPQR are outrageous for what is served.

We dine out 3-4 times a week at a wide variety of restaurants. In a major metropolitan area, we are not surprised by $30-40$-plus entrees.

But small dishes of pasta for $30 and up? On a lunch menu? Come on! The sticker shock was amplified when the dish was served. A portion fit for a toddler. Again, we are not looking for a giant portion but a least something that doesn’t leave you hungry. Note that the service and ambiance are great. The food is very good. But there’s a reason that restaurant was empty for lunch on a Saturday. Unless there is a menu overall, we will not be back.

I used to come here a lot but now, the prices are a joke.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic!

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RP
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Fantastic, yet overly complicated, food in extremely tight surroundings (literally having dinner w the tables next to you). Also, a M1 restaurant needs someone on staff whom can speak knowledgeably about the excellent wine list. Don’t need a master Som but Italian is arguably the most complicated wine region in the World - with over 3000 varietals - so any great Italian restaurant very much needs someone expert to explain, beyond the wait staff trying to wing it. Still love this place, but could improve a bit.

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TL
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Outstanding start to finish. Homey, simple, flavorful, soulful food.

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OT
Adelaide / SA
4 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best Italian restaurant in San Francisco.
Great ambiance, food, wine and service.

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SM
San Francisco
37 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best meal of my life. No wonder Matthew is the"chef's chef". What he does with food elevates it to another level. Everything we put in our mouths was exceptional.

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MG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and expansive, varied wine list. Pasta dishes are creative, sumptuous, and, most importantly, delicious.

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OT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious food and great service!

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WL
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We will come back for sure.
The food was delicious, the lady and gentleman were extremely friendly and helpful, and
the casual vibes made it a pleasant experience.
AG

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M
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was phenomenal, from service to food!

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JT
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 2

Great service, excellent wine list, interesting menu combining traditional italian dishes with modern flair. Overall, a great neighborhood gem. The biggest detractor is the dining space. Tables are ridiculously close to one another. So much so, that a quiet conversation without your neighbors knowing your life story is pretty well impossible.

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MN
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Disappointed with food quality and price.

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M
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Good place for special occasions - pricey but delicious!

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KO
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

Overall experience was not unpleasant with SPQR however ultimately me and my wife were left wanting. The Wine and the Service were by far the best part of this experience. The food itself was nothing special for paying a huge amount. For the prices that they charge one would expect a much greater food experience. I would recommend someone go to Rich Table or The Progress.

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PB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent service, delicious food. But very expensive.

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SY
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food. Great service. Lovely presentation. Extremely overpriced. Hope you're rich!

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D
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Very nice and attentive waiters. Came for Valentine’s Day and there was a pre-fixe menu for $85 each - 4 courses. It was a bit pricey for what we got but for a special occasion it was a good experience.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is fantastic. Total gem in the city.

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K
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

food service and wine were all excellent, we sat at the bar and the bartender was a pro and he had a nice easy personality and you could tell he new his job well. The only down fall was the small serving of the delicious gnocchis

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PB
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Food comes out a bit slow, but it was very good when it arrived

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

A bit disappointed actually. This has been a go to place if we wanted superb Italian food. Unfortunately our dishes tended to be too salty on this night! The service staff remain as superb as ever, and the sommelier made great suggestions. So, I will come back w a bit of caution and hope that this evening was the exception and not the (new) rule.

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r
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 4

Over priced

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

Always a pleasure to have a meal at SPQR. The wine list is fantastic. When the bartenders pair wine and food the experience can be extraordinary.

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E
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

We have dined now the 4th time at SPQR. The first 3 visits where fantastic, but our 4th try was a big
disappointment. Both our Pasta Dishes where cold. Unfortunately, we had tickets for an event and
thus did not have time to send them back. Very disappointing for a Michelin Star Restaurant.

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SK
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Unique combination of ingredients artfully combined for delicious flavors. Service and staff are wonderful. Friendly, thoughtful and knowledgeable.

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