Cafe Pro Bono

4.7
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1004 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Cafe Pro Bono is a place for taste conscious people. We serve a wide variety of traditional Italian dishes at reasonable prices with a freshness you can see and taste. Our menus include delicious, attractively presented appetizers, fresh pastas, fresh fish, steaks, chicken, salads, sandwiches, homemade desserts and wines to complement your meal.
What 1004 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.7
service
4.5
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
98% of people would recommend it to a friend
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b
San Francisco
37 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience4

The food and the service were excellent. The price was higher though than what was shown on the website. For example the duck breast was $28.95 not $24.95. Despite this however, we were not disappointed as everything was so good. We will be back in the future.

ST
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic food, great service! One of our key go-to restaurants.

e
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall2food5service5ambience5

We love this restaurant but the abbreviated menu made it a fast food experience for high price. We were in and out in less than and hour. Food arrived less than 5 minutes from when we ordered

PS
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

As always, dinner at Cafe Pro Bono was a treat -- excellent food, excellent service. I wear hearing aids, so the noise level, particularly after 7 pm is a problem. But we are planning a family dinner in March.

T
San Diego
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We come all the time and the food is always on point and the service is awesome.

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love this place. Especially tables in the bar area where it’s quieter. Good wine selection. Menu is approachable and diverse enough for most people. My friend even ordered gluten free pasta and she loved it. Staff remembers the regulars which is really nice. Great neighborhood locale.

VI
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We’re local, and have been actively shopping for a restaurant home base for a long time. When a German cousin came to visit recently we needed a last minute reservation, and found one at Cafe Pro Bono. What a stroke of luck!
First, we easily found a parking spot in the lot. We were drawn in by soft lighting in both rooms and the faces of people of all ages looking happy to be there.
We were very warmly greeted by the host, shown to our comfortable booth, and introduced to our waitress, whose name I’ve forgotten but whose pleasant demeanor and efficiency I have not.
Drinks arrived promptly and were well-made. The menu surprised us with its breadth and intriguing choices. This was supposed to be a casual neighborhood cafe! Wild boar sausage with lentils? Braised rabbit? Duck? Six or seven pasta preparations, some house-made? Fish, veal, lamb, chicken, beef , all in interesting preparations. The list of daily specials made our picks even more difficult.
When we had chosen at last, each course arrived freshly prepared and timely. My husband murmured with pleasure over his bowl of capellini in tomato sauce, I enjoyed my warm spinach salad, and our guest smiled about his scallop starter. He also was pleased with his steak, cooked to order, I loved my rabbit with noodles, and my husband was enamored of his generous portion of moist salmon filet.
We rarely indulge in dessert, but we were on a roll! Again, the choices were all enticing. I opted for panna cotta—it’s rarely on a menu anywhere—and found it swoon-worthy. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.Wines by the glass were lovely and came within a minute of ordering. A complimentary glass of port sent us home happy.
We returned last weekend with some friends to see if our experience was an aberration. The host remembered our names and greeted us like old friends. The food and drinks were once again exceptional. At last, we’ve found our home base.

SP
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Friendly restaurant with great food, lots of gluten free choices.

B
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience3

We've enjoyed Cafe Pro Bono for many years. This visit was no exception. The food was superb, the service amazing (considering that tables were full), our waitress cordial and professional, the noise level higher than I remember (with several large tables of partiers on a Friday evening), and excellent attention to details.

AO
New England
1 review
Dined on January 30, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always EXCELLENT.
Service, food, drinks and hospitality are all top shelf!

OT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Excellent food with pleasant staff and service. We will definitely return!

K
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Two guys, Monday at 6:45. He had pork chops, succulent and fresh. I had white fish, generous portion, perfectly baked. A couple glasses of chianti. Desert was a wonderful puff pastry trifle with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. House mad and outstanding. I've eaten here twice before and find it a great, small neighborhood restaurant.

MD
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Excellent service, tasty meal, noise level low enough for conversation. A tad pricey for pastas but I would certainly come again.

b
San Francisco
66 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Been to Cafe Pro Bono many times. Never disappointed.

GW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We've been there many times. The food is always good and it is just a nice place to have dinner.

SB
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Bravo! Always a favorite - staff is AMAZING, so friendly, drinks are phenomenal. And the food, don't miss the Susan's Downfall, with bread and try the specials - they have wonderful staple items but they make excellent specials that are seasonal and fleeting. You can always go back to the pasta, fish, chicken etc. the next time. Bon appetito.

DF
San Francisco
35 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is our favorite Italian restaurant on the Peninsula, bar none. The restaurant is very comfortable with tables far apart, and so it is quiet and good for conversations. There are always a number of enticing specials as well as a large regular menu. The wine list is extensive, with lots of Italian wines, and there are a lot of great bottles at nice price points. Akif, the manager, is happy to help you choose a great bottle, and respects your price range - we have never been steered wrong. We have had a lot of special meals here. This visit was to treat a newly engaged couple. We had the special short ribs, a filet mignon, and the rigatoni pasta from the regular menu. All were superb. There are wonderful pastas, but as I am doing a low carb diet, I appreciate the many dishes that are not pasta - lots of fish, wonderful veal and other great choices. For dessert my husband ordered his favorite tira missu, I had my favorite, the pana cotta, and our engaged couple ordered the zabligioni for two. All delicious. A perfect evening! Highly recommend!

WC
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Friendly atmosphere & wonderful food. Always a good time.

F
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

We ended up seated next to the bar which was actually not busy that evening. Good table by the windy but rather cold due to the frigid temps outside. Service was slow and sporadic, soup for appetizer was very tasty (butter squash). However both our main entrees were rather bland. I had the special pasta and seafood which lacked definition, my wife had duck which was fatty and tough. Ended up going to another place for coffee and desert. Not impressed by this restaurant given they certainly aren't a low cost dining spot.

RT
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a wonderful find! We visit Palo Alto once a year and will be back next year!

J
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience3

It was our anniversary but they didn’t recognize it. Veal Marsala was excellent

SF
San Francisco
53 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Celebrating son’s birthday.

LL
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

A table in the center of the room was less intimate than a booth would’ve been. Very pleased overall.

T
San Francisco
45 reviews
Dined on December 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food and similarly great service. Prices are pretty high. The noise level is very high when the restaurant is close to full, which makes it difficult sometimes to have a conversation. Over-all one of our favorite restaurants in the Bay Area.

M
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on December 18, 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience3

The food was good as always. The noise level was way too high. Uncomfortable and headache inducing.

T
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We really appreciate the wonderful service that is always present at Pro Bono. The New Zealand salmon was perfectly prepared. Thanks!

KK
1 review
Dined on December 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cafe Pro Bono is my go-to restaurant when I want good food and nice ambiance, particularly for business lunches or ones where you want to talk to your colleague/friend. It is quieter than most other restaurants (thank goodness, no loud music) and the people are super friendly and attentive. I love this place.

PS
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on December 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Dinner was superb, service was more than adequate, noise made conversation difficult, but I don't know what can be done about it.

DP
8 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Solid great old school Italian food with an amazing staff. Really enjoyable and will repeat often.

TB
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The service and food were excellent. Our only issue was the noise level in the restaurant. Very hard to hear our companions across the table.

CS
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience3

Great food, friendly helpful wait service. The dining room was far too hot.

DS
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was surprisingly good. The location is in a string of restaurants where it is hit or miss with everything from pizza, burgers, and ethic food. This restaurant is a gem. The service was very good. The noise level was high when we came in: it was noisy. We ordered the veal and salmon. The salmon was cooked well and the vegetables accompanying it were perfect. The capers in the veal sauce gave it extra flavor. We enjoyed the dessert: an apple tart and Italian custard. (I ordered the decaf coffee and it tasted like it sat in the pot all evening). The berries on the custard were too vinegary and it spoiled the creamy custard. Alt the end of the day, it was good food! When the noise level died down we enjoyed our dinner.

K
Atlanta
17 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and service. Price is in the upper range

M
San Francisco
31 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and service

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The menu on Open Table was out of date and the prices were higher than we expected. But we felt the food was worth the money. The meal was excellent and the staff was very attentive. The room was quieter and more intimate than most. A very pleasurable experience.

d
San Francisco
29 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Came here for a special occasion and per comments from friends. Was not disappointed. Food was very good. Service and staff were excellent. Very attentive.
Having a parking lot next door was a big plus.
Would come back again.

S
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

All four of us had excellent meals. I had the special salmon with homemade pasta and it was tasty. I was able to take a portion home which was also great for lunch the next day. Our friends’ spinach salad with warm dressing was particularly good. Staff was very friendly and competent. We will return.

D
San Francisco
171 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

One of our entrees was not available and 2 of the 3 desserts were not available. Our reservation was at 7pm. I wish we would have known they had limited supplies and I would have booked an earlier table. Tasty food and happy servers.

O
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We went on Thanksgiving - our first trip to a restaurant for a holiday meal. It was packed and despite a reservation, some juggling needed to happen before we could get a table in the main dining room. We were glad the staff was able to adjust and from that moment on it was a perfect evening.
We had an excellent beet salad, the ever-wonderful Susan's Downfall (Cheese & Herb Ravioli in Gorgonzola Sauce topped with Toasted Almond) and a terrific crab pasta dish on the menu just for this evening. For dessert, there was a delicious pumpkin bread pudding that we'd order again and again and again.
We absolutely love this neighborhood restaurant and have never had anything other than an exceptional meal and attentive service.

TC
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, excellent service