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“Our favorite night out”

Albona Ristorante Istriano
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Ranked #179 of 5,712 Restaurants in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$31 - US$40
Cuisines: European, Italian, Seafood, Central European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining, Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighbourhood: North Beach / Telegraph Hill
Cross street: Taylor & Mason Sts.
Transit: Last stop of the Powell-Mason Cable Car Line at Taylor and Francisco Sts. (1/2 a block away). No. 30 Bus stops at Columbus Ave. and Francisco St. (1 & 1/2 blocks).
Columbus, Georgia
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Our favorite night out”
Reviewed 17 June 2014 via mobile

We chose Albona (named for the small town in Istria, Croatia, from which the founder immigrated) because of its ratings in TripAdvisor, and we were not disappointed. It is small (perhaps a dozen tables), which may account for the personal attention we received from everyone. The owner visits each table through the evening- helps take orders, explain the menu, pours wine, etc. We arrived a little early and he gave us a glass of champagne while we waited. We really felt appreciated from beginning to end. The food was excellent!

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Clark G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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438 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Avery, NC
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
“Welcoming and Elegant”
Reviewed 10 June 2014

Albona is one of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco, but we often feel we have to try different ones when we are there just for a new dining experience. This trip, we decided we had to go back to Albona because it is still one of our favorite restaurants and we had missed it.

The welcome and warmth with which you are met when you come through the door sets the tone for a delightful evening. The atmosphere is cozy and elegant, and everyone who works there wants to make you happy. For instance, when I was undecided between the Pinot Grigio and the Chenin Blanc (both available by the glass) to go with the food I ordered, the owner brought out both bottles and let me taste each wine, so that I could determine which would be better. I just loved that. And it turns out, I'm glad he did because the one I was leaning towards would not have been nearly as good with the food as the one I chose. I suspect he knew this, but wanted to give me the opportunity to discover it myself.

Now, about the food. From the appetizers to the entrees, there's an authenticity to the food for those who love authentic Northern Italian cuisine,The caramelized pears with Gorgonzola cheese and gastrique sauce (delicious sauce!) were perfect. The Mediterranean mussels my husband enjoyed had the perfect combination of garlic, white wine and marinara sauce. The Strudel con pasta fatta in casa was melt-in-my-mouth delicious, and my husband said the braised veal shank in burgundy wine was very tender and tasty.

Now here's another example of the level of caring and service at Albona. I had left a camera case on the divan, and the owner actually called us to let us know. We were in another state by that time, so we asked him to please ship it to our home address, and told him we would of course send a check for the cost of doing so. The response was, "It is our pleasure to ship it to you. Please, there is no cost."

Just how classy is that? And class is what Albona is all about!

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas, United States
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Intimate setting with good food.”
Reviewed 10 June 2014

While dining here, you feel as if you are apart of their family and they are cooking just for you. Every item we ordered tasted fresh and cooked with care. I ordered the Stinco de videl a la Triestina and if I went back, it was so good I probably would order it again. The Tiramisu could have had a little bit more flavor to it, but I think I still finished it.

Visited June 2014
Thank Landan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fresno, CA
Level 6 Contributor
335 reviews
249 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 120 helpful votes
“We eat here everytime we are in San Francisco...”
Reviewed 9 June 2014

for good reason, the food, service and value are excellent. Delicious food. Off the beaten path. A must is pan-fried gnocchi which we always get. We have tried almost everything on the menu. Pork Loin stuffed is delicious and filling. Veal shank incredible. Adriatic Stew is full of seafood. Reasonable corkage fee. You can walk-in, but suggest a reservation.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank FoodCritic89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
122 reviews
75 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Unexceptional mediterranean dining”
Reviewed 7 June 2014

Based on the tripadvisor rating we thought this was worth a visit. The decor was 'traditional', with slightly close seating which added 'atmosphere'. The menu is an unusual mixture of northern italian, croat and austrian (reflecting past cultural influences). Food presentation was equally 'traditional' (ie rustic) with an emphasis on quantity rather than quality or finesse. The veal shanks were singularly lacking in flavour without even the lift that a little salt can provide ! The wine list was adequate with the Puglian primitivo offering reasonable value for money. Service was ok although a couple of the staff were not particularly able to provide information about the food or wine.
Noting previous reviews, perhaps we struck an 'off' night or have too high expectations, however if your serious about food and wine there are probably better places in SF.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Enophil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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