Good italian outside of North Beach?
- RuthC Oct 2, 2001 07:01 PM
I'm looking for good, simple italian food and don't want to tackle the parking in North Beach (lazy, I know). Any favorites?
Excellent juxtaposition of posts. Look right below for the latest report on Antica Trattoria on Russian Hill. They have valet parking too.
try Vivande, really nice,good food. also sells cheeses balsamic, etc.
Vivande Porta Via
2125 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
In the south of market area, I like Pazzia on 3rd, near the SFMOMA and Enzo's at 4th & Brannan next to Bizou. Both are small Italian places with good food at reasonable prices. Seems to be plenty of parking in SOMA these days!
Bella Trattoria (not to be mistaken with the pizzeria) on Geary and 3rd Ave. get the cinghiale.
I love Jackson-Fillmore, which is, uh, right near the corner of Jackson and Fillmore in Pacific Heights. Parking is not great there, but it is definitely way better than North Beach. This place gets crowded and you often have to wait, but if you are alone it is usually easy to get a place at the counter; reservations only for parties of more than two. One of my favorite dishes here is an appetizer of extremely lightly sauteed slivers of zucchini topped with shaved pecorino. All the meals I've had here have ranged from quite good to fantastic.
I, too, was going to recommmend Antica, although the parking there is just as bad as No. Beach, but they have valet. Additionally, I like Umbria, in SOMA, at Howard [I think] and Second, where the parking is a cinch. I hope it's still viable -- the bread is terrific.
The site linked below, a tip from "JohnnyP", has reviews of about a dozen italian SF restaurants, by an Italian foodie for Italians as part of a wider collection of Italian resources for visitors and transplants.
The reviews however are written in Italian, but if you speak Spanish or French, you will definitely get the general drift.
Sorry, I must have put the link in the Name field. That's what I get for PWW (posting while working!)
re: Mr. Bluetooth
Here's Babel's translation of the review for Palio d'Asti from that site (hilarious, indeed, signor dente azzuri!):
"RACING SILK OF HATRED
To two steps from the mythical pyramid, (Transamerica Building), you will find in means of the zone financial institution of Saint Francisco. If gone to us for lunch, you will be encircled from business people. in jacket and necktie or women in tailleur. If instead you decide of fermarvi for supper, you will be received from a place the much calmest one but with a touch of particular intimità to every table. "
Hmmm, getting encirled from business people at the RACING SILK OF HATRED of Saint Francisco. Sounds like quite an adventure!!!
I had a pretty nice dinner at La Villa Poppi in the Mission recently (22nd between Mission and Valencia). This place charges by the course - currently 5 courses go for $37 or so, which I thought was a pretty decent bargain. They do insist that you order wine, and that might come across as obnoxious to some, but I enjoyed the great match between food and wine. The wine doesn't come as cheaply, but they were pretty good. In the end, the prices come out as OK. (5 courses + 2 half glasses and 1 glass of dessert wine + 20% tip came to about $75 for me.)
The food is very simple and rustic, but I get the impression that the chef has an excellent sense of timing. The calzone I had was beautiful in its light wheat-brown color, with nary a dark patch. Together with the thin and crispy crust, it signaled that the calzone had spent just the right amount of time in the oven. (Incidentally, the filling of ricotta, mozarella, pinenuts and herbs was simple and delicious.)
In the same vein, the ribeye I got was perfectly cooked and each mouthful was loaded with juice - another indication of good timing. The oregano seasoning, olives, and pickle-sour pepperoncini were pretty good toppings, and the flavor combination was made even better by the barbaresco that was paired with it. The wine was somewhat spicy itself and had a pinprick of sweetness that matched the flavors from the pepperoncini.
Another hit was the anise cake drizzled with arcs of lemon frosting.
On the good but could be better side was the chicken livers sauteeded with balsamic vinegar (excellent flavor!), pancetta and onions on a bed of white beans. The flavor combination was good but the livers were slightly grainy; I prefer them smooth (or even better, slightly molten).
And the bread soup consisting of thin bread slices soaking in a tomato broth was fine, but perhaps a bit on the ordinary side.
Once again, it's very simple and rustic and nothing fancy at all. Great if you want to eat lots of small portioned courses with wine. earlier this year, some of my pals raved abot their fish, but I haven't had a chance to try it this time.