underwhelming, overpriced, mediocre daytripper trap. Can't let our recent, incredibly disappointing and inarguably overpriced meal at Alioto's go unreported. We had 3 days for a getaway in SF parlayed with work. Time was tight, we were on a mission to enjoy as as much of what the City has to offer. On our last day there, we returned from a ferry trip & needed to find somewhere for dinner. All the freebie guides pointed to Alioto's as a culinary fixture, with reliably good food. We were tired, and hungry, staying close to the Wharf, and didn't want to overthink dinner. In hindsight, we should've headed to the Eagle Caf
Bum Treatment. Family arrived from out of town and we were hoping to make a memory; so we decided to have lunch at a SF landmark. We splurged and took the limits off and ordered to our hearts content, including Lobster Thurmadore! We were having a great time until it was discovered that the Lobster Thurmadore (which cost $50.00) only had 10% Lobster and 90% Mushrooms and filler. So we brought it to the attention of the Manager, who proceed to treat the matter in a very unprofessional way, deminishing our experience.
Waiter Albert R., Asian, fraudulently overcharges bill to increase tip. I dined at Alioto's tonight and the waiter Albert R.., an Asian who said he was Dutch by origin, altered the final signed debit card bill to increase his tip without my knowledge by almost $15. This is in spite of the fact that my Mom and I dined at this restaurant last week and left the same waiter over a 20% tip. I am contacting my bank, business bureau, restaurant, and will never dine here again. A distasteful experience leaving a bad fishy taste in my mouth.
What's not to like?. I'm not sure where all the bad reviews are coming from. We walked in early on a beautiful Sunday evening without reservations. It wasn't crowded when we arrived, but it was packed when we left. We were given a table by the windows with a spectacular view of the fishing fleet and the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge, which got interrupted by the even more spectaular rolling in of the fog. The wait staff was nothing if not professional. Not rushed in the least, but very attentive. The salads were crisp and fresh, and the cioppino, fish stew, and calamari were excellent. The stews were steaming hot, and the broths were worth mopping dry with the warm fresh bread offered. I can't say I had the highest expectations going in, but I thought it was excellent. The wine list has a Wine Spectator award level, and rightfully so. It covers everything you need without having 1000 selections, and is reasonably priced. What's not to like? Good food, good service, great view, reasonable prices. I'm baffled by the negativity. Maybe I caught them on a good day...
MARCH 22 SATURDAY- ATTRACTED BY LUNCH SPECIAL 11AM-4PM- RIPPOFF - has about 12 items on
lunch special-ordered salmon- paper thin- salmon steak with mash potatoes- thats it- $12, wife ordered
shrimp scampi- 4 med shrimp- rice- thats it- $11- rippoff- both had ice tea- med glass- waiter said u get
a second free glass only--- ordered blowl of clam chower- $9 it was thin and did not taste that good
view was good-could see golden gate bridge-- overpriced other dinner fish items start @ $25-28 for fish
ripp off-- should have just ate on the street with the street vendors- ya 3 generations- well this last generation does not take pride in there food- - i don't mind paying $12-16 for lunch- for a smaller portion
of good fish- terrible-place-- did have good service was friendly- - couldn't wait to get back to chicago to write this- cannot believe they are on the famous fishermens wharf- to bad black eye to the area
Catch of the Day. If you want seafood, there is no comparison. Excellent and professional waitstaff, fresh wonderful fish dinners. Calamari steak is the best!
Overpriced Food, Poor Quality, Dodgy Staff.
I cannot believe how poor the food quality was. For a restaurant where prices avergage about $25 per entree, I expect a lot more. Worst of all - our server tried to pass off a small plate filled with canned salad shrimp as a shrimp cocktail! I think he was trying to pull one over on our table, which included several non-English speaking people. When confronted by me, the waiter said the customer should have instead asked for a "prawn" cocktail. When he brought over the "prawn" cocktail, it was a few pieces of old, shriveled-up shrimp. What a joke! After dinner, we confronted the manager about this and he at first agreed with us. After speaking with the waiter; however, he then said we were wrong. That a "California" shrimp cocktail is different than a shrimp cocktail back East (where I am from). What a bunch of B.S.! To think that anyone would pay upwards of $15 for a can of salad shrimp is ridiculous. These people are simply sleazy restaurateurs trying to take advantage of people.
Service, food, view, all top notch. Aug 17, 2007 lovely dinner for two. We knew this was an old faithful sort of place, and they sure did deliver. I am a huge seafood lover, East Coast girl, and great cook in my own right. Our table overlooked the marina area, so we had a nice sunset view. Our waiter was beyond wonderful. The perfect balace of advice, knowledge, style, personality and yet invisible. Great teamwork with other dining room staff as well. They finely coordinated opening all of the blinds of all of the windows so as to optimize the sunset view. Bartender makes a great Negroni - yummy if you are familiar. Nicely paced service so as to not feel rushed in and out- even though they were quite busy. Food not only tasted very good but high marks for presentation. Take time to read the captions on all of the photos chronicling the development of the restaurant. Very nice wine list to accompany any dinner selection. A very nice dinner and evening.
Disappointing seafood on the Wharf. We just returned from a fabulous San Francisco- Fisherman's Wharf vacation, enjoying among other things, an abundance of seafood. We made a list of places to eat before we got there and were very disappointed in Alioto's. Let's start with the service; once seated our server visited us only to try and rush us to order, then once toward the end of our meal, and finally to bring our check. I ordered the Sauteed Crab legs, only to be told by our waiter that I had to give him a second choice as he didn't know if they had any left. I was as surprised by this as anyone as it is in the middle of Crab season, a week day, 3:00 in the afternoon, and there are rows of crab shacks outside the restraunt. Our server made a suggestion for my second choice rather than checking first or giving me time to search the menu, but was told it contained crab, just out of the shell. I don't remember the exact name of the dish, but it it contained 4 large fairly good prawns (a little overcooked-rubbery), 4 very rubbery and gritty scallops, and 4 very small (less than an inch in length) pieces of crab meat. Needless to say I was very disappointed with what I ended up with. My son had a rather small portion of fish and chips, and my husband the seafood canneloni, which he said was ok, but not fabulous for the price tag. If you choose to dine here expect to pay ALOT, salads and sides are a la carte. The only redeeming thing was the view. If you don't care how much you spend for mediocre food and poor service, then go for the view, otherwise save your money and go to one of the smaller places on the Wharf like "Sabella - La Torre".
Painfully slow. Did our waitress run across town on some errands? We haven't seen her for 30 minutes!.
Do not go to Alioto's unless you desire painfully slow, impersonal service. Our party of 5 adults and 3 kids arrived on St. Patrick's day to a half-full restaurant. The greeting and seating was prompt, but it was downhill from there. We were only given 5 waters, nothing for the kids. We had to go and steal waters off other tables. When our waitress finally arrived after 10 minutes, we all ordered the lunch special: bread bowls with clam chowder and a side salad...nothing more. 30 minutes later, our food had still not arrived. I finally asked the hostess to check on our order. Our food finally arrived five minutes later but not until two other tables (that arrived and ordered 15 minutes after we did...and ordered the same items) had been served their food. To make things worse, there were only about 5 spoonfuls of chower in the bowl because the bread bowl had not been scooped out. The salads were warm and limp.
Sadly, we were not the only table with poor service. I watched as three other tables around us experience the same lackluster service. As a former chef and waiter, I found Alioto's service absolutely unacceptable. As a paying customer, the experience was deplorable. For a meal that should have taken no more than 10 minutes (max!) to get out of the kitchen, we waited nearly 40 minutes. Sad.
Positive Comment: The restaurant was very clean, seating prompt, and a good view of the boat dock. Not much of a harbor view. The chowder, all 5 spoonfuls, was very good.
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