Perbacco: style and substance
Smart but welcoming, sophisticated but steeped in the rich tradition of Italian food culture, contemporary but full of personality, Perbacco is the fitting winner of the inaugural Best Authentic Italian Restaurant Award.
Experienced hotelier and restaurateur Umberto Gibin teamed up with dynamic chef Staffan Terje to open Perbacco in San Francisco’s financial district almost five years ago. From day one it proved an extraordinary hit, with punters filling its 200-plus covers for both lunch and evening service, six days a week. And it continues to draw both regulars – some eating there several times a week – and destination diners who have heard tell of its exceptional blend of hospitality and authentic Italian regional cuisine.
Perbacco – which translates from Italian as an exclamation of joy and wonder – specialises in the produce of Piemonte, in northern Italy. The region boasts a rich food and wine culture (it is home to two of Italy’s greatest wines: Barolo and Barbaresco) in which Chef Terje has immersed himself. The fact that he is Swedish by birth only serves to accentuate his respect and love for Italian culinary traditions and produce. “Because he’s not Italian, he has applied himself that much more. He is very much Italian at heart!” says the Turin-raised Gibin of his business partner, with the pair travelling to Italy regularly for research and inspiration.
Gibin oversees the sleek but undaunting restaurant floor with unfailing Italian charm, and has put together an exemplary cellar that contains only Italian and Californian wines. Terje’s daily-changing, seasonally-based menu is rightly famous for the pasta made fresh on the premises. This is refined but unfussy food served in the lively atmospheric of a deeply authentic Italian restaurant.
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