Perbacco is an Italian word that expresses pleasure and surprise (although no one’s surprised at the well-deserved hype this San Franciscan haunt is receiving) as well as an homage to Bacchus, god of wine and good times. This might explain the restaurant’s unique approach to fine dining, which has San Franciscans talking about the seemingly effortless way the restaurant has managed to transport the traditions of authentic Italian dining right to the heart of California.
With dishes calling to mind the Italian regions of Piemonte and Liguria, with a dash of Provence, France thrown in the mix, Perbacco has cooked up an infallible mix of modernity and tradition that clearly shows industry know-how and a passion for sharing the food and wine of Europe with receptive Americans.
So who are the people behind all of this? Chef/owner Staffan Terje and owner Umberto Gibin bring years of restaurant experience into their latest establishment. Some of their brilliant concoctions include handcrafted, house-made salami, prosciutto, and other meats that are featured at the salami bar, filled pastas (a Piemonte tradition) that range from ravioli to agnolotti, as well as popular main dishes such as the seared black sea bass with new potatoes and baby fennel, and the filet of John Dory with wild mushrooms and red wine butter. The restaurant also boasts an extensive wine list, and a delightfully European dessert and cheese list.
The ambiance of the restaurant is equally as pleasing as the food. The original brick wall of the historic 1913 Hind building plays off the sleek interior in an echo of the old and new theme seen throughout the restaurant. Other touches, such as the white Carrara marble floor tiles, show Perbacco’s commitment to detail, the hard work concealed behind the light-hearted, hospitable atmosphere. This unobtrusive competency makes it a popular choice for private parties; the 18-seat room named Barolo, which features a temperature-controlled wine cellar, is the perfect venue for an intimate gathering. The larger 40-seat semi-private room, Barbaresco, is often sought out for larger occasions. And all the foodies out there have the option of a chef’s table adjacent to the kitchen, which lets guests observe Chef Terje at work, busily creating the culinary masterpieces that have led to Perbacco’s success.