Home-cooked cuisine from a little-known Adriatic region highlights this intimate North Beach restaurant..
This small eatery features burgundy banquettes, ornate mirrors and an intimate atmosphere fostered by longtime owner Bruno Viscovi. The menu is based on the traditional dishes of Istria, a peninsula in the northern Adriatic Sea near Trieste. This cuisine features a unique group of Northern Italian dishes with Eastern overtones, such as the house-made ravioli stuffed with raisins and pine nuts, and the braised rabbit with juniper berries.
Place for friends. Great place - real gem! This is one of better restaurants that I visited. Excellent food, ambience, service - and owner Bruno will make you to feel like at home. Romantic date or just to have fun with few friends go there. This place is not for snobs but for us just regular guys who appricate good people around us. Bruno will not put the clock on your table and look that you load the food into your stomach, pay and be gone - you will enjoy your time there... go for it!
What a find!.
Once you have sampled Bruno's authentic menu, you will understand how this little gem has managed to survive on word of mouth.
Near Columbus and Francisco parking can be horendous, the free valet is a nice amenity.
Now for food: Again, Bruno nand his staff brought it all together. The food, stories, and attention to detail were top notch. The veal shank was tender, fall off the bone delicious. The stuff pork tnderloin was an infusion of wonderful flavors. For desert: Apple Strudel in true european style, not too sweet.
For anyone who has enjoyed european dining, you MUST try Albona.
Note: While not good for large groups, dining room may be reserved exclusively.
Finally I have found the only authentic Italian restaurant in town and I am Italian,moved yera few months ago ! Great food from the north east of the region.I loved the calamari ripieni (filled),fried gnocchi and fish.I also had to try the rabbit,the best I ever had !! the owner is exceptional,he has a lot of funny stories to tell,specially the story of his life ! don't forget to ask how his "nonna"grandma, used to let him try the wine (he will show it to you) !
I fell in love with this place.Finally someone that has passion and love for what it does. I was astonished ! as an Italian I recommend not to even take into consideration the negative review about Albona !
Good flavors. Owner's greeting and description of items makes for special feeling. We had savory appetizers and salads. My date had a London broil of lamb and I had the Stracotte of veal. All delicate but robust in flavor. Wine advise from Bruno was accurate and not overly expensive.The desert Strussel was a bit dry: would benefit from a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Bravo Chef Bruno!. My husband and I had a wonderful meal at Albona two weeks ago while visiting San Francisco from New Orleans, where we have no shortgage of first class restaurants. We were with 4 other friends one of whom recommended the restaurant. Chef Bruno greeted us like family, and indeed, dining in this small, cozy restaurant is like dining in someone's home. He explained the menu and Istrian food. We had a combination appetizer plate of gnocchi, ravioli and pasta streudel all of which were wonderful. The gnocchi was unlike any I've had before. The lamb, rabbit and veal shank were full of flavor. The table shared several desserts, enjoyed by all. And of course there was champagne, wine, port and finally cappucino. It was a memorable evening because of the food, the friends and the lovely Bruno Viscovi!
Love it!. Valentine's Day menu, spectacular, heart-shaped gnocchi! Been twice and both times delighted by the menu and the service. The food in Istria is fantastic, just like this restaurant. Give the owner a break, he is doing things the way he wants and is having fun doing it. Every restaurant I've been to in Italy and Croatia (which is where Istria is) the owner acts the same-- it's called unpretentious and friendly.
ok, but not a 10!. Well, it's not a 10 but its not below a 5 either. There are too many restaurants in SF to go back. Once I have tried them all I shall return. The owner is nice and tells you all kinds of stories however, a little to "intense" for me. The food is better than average but not fabulous...stick to the pasta or risottos, the meat is gamy. The atmosphere is cute...only about 10 tables and the wait staff is very cordial. OH ya and free valet parking. BTW, The bread is crap...I thought Italians were good with breads??
The best meal I've had in San Francisco. As a citizen of this fine city, I am constantly on the look-out for good food off the beaten path.
This place is magnificent. I highly reccommend the Gnocchi Apetizer and the Ravioli in Sage Butter sauce. The staff is quite entertaining, full of jokes and good energy - obviously spawned from the effervescent presence of the owner, Bruno - who makes it a point to speak with every guest.
Other favorites are the Fettucini in Red Sauce - simply perfect - and the Pasta Strudel.
We left our hearts--or stomachs?--in SF. On our first night of our first visit to San Francisco, my husband & I went to the delightful little Albona Ristorante. We were charmed by Bruno, the owner, who made us feel comfortable & welcome, and generously explained his homeland's cuisine, which was new to us and interesting, although not so different from other northern Italian regional cooking, really--but distinctive. The food was consistently delicious, the wine recommendation fit well, and the service was excellent--warm yet professional. No overwrought entrees constructed like tinkertoys on the plate or ostentatious food combinations. It almost felt as if we were in Europe, but maybe that's just how San Francisco feels. Altogether we had a wonderful evening in this unpretentious but excellent restaurant. It was the perfect way to start our stay in a great city.
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