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A16 alternative

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My dad is coming into the city for dinner and wanted to try A16 but I can't get a reservation at a reasonable time tonight. Any alternative recs?

PS I don't want to go to pizzeria delfina.

Thanks for the help

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  1. Zuppa is a good alternative, I really like their mushroom pizza.

    1. Are you just looking for pizza or for an authentic Italian restaurant?

      For pizza, Pizzetta 211 is excellent. No reservations, but worth it.

      1. I would say Incanto but I think they're closed on Tuesdays. La Ciccia on Church in outer Noe is an awesome neighborhood Italian place. They have a wood oven for pizzas, but the other dishes are even better than the pizza. Nice wine list too. Another choice for pizza is Little Star for Chicago style deep dish pizza but it's not Italian, if that's what you are looking for.

        Other Italian options abound in North Beach as well as other areas of town, such as Ideale, L'Osteria del Forno (also closed on Tuesdays, I think), and Da Flora (all in N. Beach), Antica Trattoria and Pesce in Russian Hill, and . . . hmmm, that's all I can think of off the top of my head. La Ciccia is definitely my favorite of these.

        1 Reply
        1. re: farmersdaughter

          I really like la Ciccia for their food, delicious braised lamb. Their pizza is just ok. They do not have a wood burning oven. They have a regular deck gas oven that they inherited from the previous proprietor.

        2. Haystack Pizza in Noe Valley order The New Yorker

          1. Try Bar Tartine, it's very comfortable (maybe a little loud when they're in full swing, but it adds to the charm), the staff is super friendly and the food is consistently great. It's in the Mission, but it's as easy to park around there as it is in the Marina.
            Great seasonal food with a nice wine list too.

            1. Since Incanto is closed on Tuesdays, I would go to either Antica or Pesce if you must have Italian. La Ciccia would be my third choice. If you must have pizza, I would drive to either Marin (Picco) or Berkely (pizzaiolo). If you are ok with other ingredient driven food and do not want to drive, I would go to Zuni or Nopa. However, Nopa doesn't take reservations and then you might as well go to A16 as a walk in. A16 reserves about 30 seats for walkins. A seat at the chef's counter is a lot of fun since you get to see all the action in the kitchen.

              1. I've gone to A16 as a walk-in and been given times as long as two hours. And if you're willing to wait you have to sit in the cramped, noisy bar area. Worth it if somebody's passing through and that's their only chance.

                For pizza, Tommaso's, Pizzetta 211, Little Star, or Pizzaiolo in Berkeley.

                La Ciccia's one of the best Italian places in the city in its price range, but I wouldn't go there for pizza.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  You can sit in the chef's counter as a walk in. If you arrive before 7 or after 9, the wait is not bad at all. Also, they have added an additional area to the chefs counter which should help with walk ins.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Waitaminute. 2 posts stating that Pizzaiolo is in BERKELEY? Did they move? We Oaklanders have enough of an inferiority complex without having Pizzaiolo taken away from us.

                  2. I am unclear as to whether the OP has a preference for Italian, for Pizza, or for a popular San Francisco place to eat.

                    If popular and pizza are qualities which will fit the bill then I recommend Coco500 who do a truly great cured salmon pizza which i absolutely love, love, love, (although others seem to prefer their squash blossom flatbread). Both are good.

                    1. I haven't been but have heard great things about Capannina.
                      http://www.capannina.us/

                      1. Bacco on Diamond Street fits the bill as a classic but elegant neighborhood spot.

                        1. Pazzia on 3rd St. is very good, and very authentic. I like it as much as A16, and I think their pizza is far superior. It's a tiny place in a less trendy neighborhood than A16, but definitely worth a visit.

                          1. Capannina and Bacco are very good, hardcore Italian.

                            Pazzia's a step down, they're good, inexpensive, but the menu's a bit more Americanized. Pretty good Roman-style pizza though you might have to be particular in ordering to get it crisp.

                            La Ciccia's generally excellent but I didn't find the pizza as exciting as the other food. It's not very Neapolitan in style, and not in the same league as A16's or Pizzaiolo's, or even Delfina's or Dopo's (best of the gas-deck oven pizzas).

                            1. Thanks for the help. We ended up at Zuppa. We started with the wild mushroom pizza which was pretty good. I had the steak, it was cooked well, but wasn't the best cut of meat. It also was served with a spicy tomato sauce that I thought was unnecessary as it took away from the flavor of the steak. My dad odered the pork chop, but the server accidentally punched in the roast chicken, instead of waiting for the chop to be made my dad just took the chicken. The chicken was okay, nice and crispy, but oily and lacking flavor. My bro had the veal chop, this was the clear winner, a very thick chop that was tender and full of flavor, though this was also VERY VERY oily, as in a pool of oil in the plate. Nothing was served with any sides, but the portions were big enough. All in all I don't think I would go back.

                              Server was friendly, he comped a glass of wine for the order mix-up.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: Amahal420

                                Zuppa's lack of sides is just copying standard practice in Italy. You pick your own.

                                Any time you see a "contorni" section on a menu you can assume the secondi don't include sides unless specifically listed.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  It would be nice if Zuppa did more than pretentiously copy that practice rather than copying excellent Italian cooking styles. I say pretentious because if neither the menu or server indicated the lack of sides, it is not standard practice in this country unless you know it is a small plate type of place.

                                  Thanks for a recent update on Zuppa which just reinforces other opinions that Zuppa is still is not Chowhound territory.

                                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    I see nothing pretentious about following the Italian practice regarding vegetables. I like having a choice.

                                    It's a serious flaw in Zuppa's service if the servers don't make sure the customers understand the practice.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      To each his own. I do.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        A restaurant can't please everyone equally well.

                                        Later in the evening, often half the customers at A16 are Italians. Like me, they go there because you can eat in courses the way we would in Italy.

                                        At restaurants that Americanize their menus by oversaucing pastas, making entree portions larger, and including sides, it's often too much food. If we split an entree, there's not enough vegetables.

                                      2. re: rworange

                                        Uh, this has been a long-standing practice at all-American steakhouses. Sides are extra.

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                          Not all :-)

                                          http://www.izzyssteaksandchops.com/me...

                                          But it goes back to expectations and while it may have been a waiter gaff ... I don't think I've ever been at a steak house where there wasn't an inquiry from the server about sides if an order wasn't placed.

                                          With an unfamiliar practice, sure fine if you want to capture the audiance that revels in authenticy. However, I find it personally patronizing like the French restaurants of by-gone days that only offered menus in French and people could show-off that they were educated, well-traveled or sophisticated enough to not need a translation.

                                          If you look at this menu

                                          http://www.zuppa-sf.com/menus/

                                          For all I know the sides at the bottom are just if I want to order extra. Not to explain that either on the menu or by the server implies I am an unsophisticated and uneducated diner.

                                          Now maybe it is common practice in Bay Area Italian restuarants, I don't eat Italian enough to know. But that also presumes ignornace of someone who isn't a frequent diner of that class of restuarant.

                                          It's just the whole Starbucks syndrome for me. It's the USA. Just say small, medium, large. Sheesh.

                                          With mediocre reports, what seems to be a staff not wanting to help the diner it is unlikely I will stop by Zuppa

                                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                                            It's not a common practice around here. That's why it's essential that the menu or servers explain.

                                            A16 might be the only other place currently doing it. Oliveto used to.

                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                              To clarify a big difference between A16 and Zuppa is that A16 includes the price of side. The menu clearly states that the mains come with the customer's choice of side dish and the servers always ask you what side you want when you oder a main.

                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            The poster says "Nothing was served with any sides, but the portions were big enough." This doesn't say that the server never offered any, didn't point them out, etc. Folks are running off in either direction to defend the practice or criticize the restaurant when all we know is that there were no sides on the main plate. Fwiw, I didn't have a good experience at Zuppa myself, still I don't like to see it criticized based on false assumptions about the service.

                                        2. "all-American" with the hyphen means totally American, and not some foreign practice. Agreed that most servers will push sides, sometimes to help the diner, but to also increase the size of the tab. Also, while the poster mentions the lack of sides in relation to portion size, this doesn't mean that they weren't offered by the server.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                                            deleted

                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                              To help clarify, I was simply stating that there were no side dishes on any of the main courses, and I found that odd as all of the mains that we ordered were basically slabs of meat and that some veggies would've been nice, both for the look of the plate and for taste to go with the meat. Plus the prices are high enough to include a side. But the portions were large enough that I was full after the meal. The waiter made no mention of sides, but had he pointed out that no sides were included, I would've added some veggies. The menu doesn't state that there are any sides included, I just made a false assumption.

                                              1. re: Amahal420

                                                So the waiter did not tell you that what you ordered came without sides?

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                  No, he did'nt.