Caesar's Italian Restaurant (SF)?
Last night at dinner party with friends, I met a woman whose family owns one of SF's venerable eating establishments. When we started talking about other places to eat, she said that Caesar's has been a lifelong favorite for old school Italian and she has a Christmas party there every year. She recommended the Caesar salad, made at tablside at lunch time only, although I don't see it on the linked menu below.
I've not eaten here before. Other suggestions?
We went there once years ago. We live right around the corner and always see it packed with people. So one night we decided to find out why. You know what? We couldn't figure out why. The food was terrible. The fried calamrie was oily and chewy. The pasta was mediocre. The service was okay. It's been so long I can't remember much else, except there are much better Italian places in this city.
I'm guessing that the draw to that place is that it's an old establishment with old fashion waiters. You can sort of feel like you are in a eating hall in Italy. Up the hill on Mason and Union you got Cuccina Contadina which is really good Italian.
I ate there for the first (only) time on Feb. 28. It may not be the worst meal I ever ate, but then again, it probably was.
It is cheap, and the quantity is huge. (And the diners -- every single person other than our table -- were even bigger.)
The fish was over-cooked, and then cooked longer; the pasta was tasteless; the roast beef came well-done on the adult plate, and darker on the kids plates (that's the way they like it the waiter told me). The vegetables were mostly edible.
It fit my image of a 50's Italian restaurant in Iowa, but that may be unfair.
The place was packed, and all night long my brother and I tried to figure out where all the mortally obese people live. The staff was nice, and based on one Saturday night, the restaurant is extremely popular. But I'd rather skip a meal than eat another one there.
re: Melanie Wong
re: Melanie Wong
visited last night for the first time for their penultimate night of dinner service. apparently they are closing because of a dispute with their landlord. one of their owners passing was also a factor.
this was literally one of the busiest restaurants i had ever been to. they hadn't been accepting opentable reservations, so i tried walking in at 6:15. they said there would be a 2 hour wait, so we had drinks elsewhere and came back. i tried making reservation for the next night, they said they were booked solid.
average age of the patrons was probably 60+. one older lady joked with me and said i was too young to eat there, and that they should require patrons to show their medicare card to eat there.
anyway, i thought the food was good, and a really great value. antipasti plate came with 3 parts -- a basic green salad, a bowl of bean salad, and a plate of pickled artichoke / cauliflower / some other vegetables and a couple slices of ham. this was probably my favorite course.
next course was penne with meat sauce. the texture of the pasta was perfect. the flavor of the meat sauce was a bit too weak for my taste. the cheese was also very weakly flavored. for a pasta side, i thought this was about on par with original joe's, but different. a lot better than capp's. not quite as good as tadich.
sole with capers was good. no complaints. perhaps a bit weaker than a similar dish at capp's or original joe's, but not noticeably so.
dessert was a simple chocolate ice cream and (included) coffee.
overall, i thought it a really great value at ~$19 for the fish + $10 for all the other courses. if i could, i'd return.