It seems you can blink and chef Michael Mina will have opened another restaurant. At last count, the Egyptian-born Mina owned 23 restaurants and bars in California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Wyoming, and Florida. But he recently refocused on this, his San Francisco flagship, a restaurant that represents the reimagination of the upscale seafood restaurant (AQUA) that he helped design in 1991 at age 22, and is perhaps most famous for.
Once able to fit 144 tables, the revamped dining room at Michael Mina now features just 78, although it has a separate 25-seat private dining room. With the addition of noise reduction panels, a return to white tablecloths (they were abandoned in 2010), and a move to a prix-fixe-only menu for dinner ($95 for four courses, $165 for nine), the restaurant has taken a more intimate turn, with a more traditional fine dining feel (you can still order à la carte during lunch and from a pared down à la carte menu at the bar for dinner). Indeed, the chef has said he wants it “to be a four-star restaurant.”
Executive chef Ron Siegel's menu features a Japanese- and French-inspired take on the best American ingredients, which may mean you start off your meal with caviar, followed by Morro Bay abalone with braised pork, wasabi gel, and dashi; Stonington sea scallops with sugar snap peas; and black truffle risotto with Maine lobster, Meyer lemon, and Parmigiano-Reggiano foam. No matter what, you’re going to want to sample Mina’s most famous dishes: the lobster pot pie and ahi tuna tartare.
— Arthur Bovino, 101 Best Restaurants, April 1, 2015