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Aug 11, 2006 02:24 PM

SF pasta carbo load PRE-marathon meal

I guess it's never to early for an October posting.

I am also coming in for the Nike Women's Marathon in October. I'm looking for an italian restaurant to carbo load Saturday night. I will be staying somewhere on the Embarcadero (I think near Fisherman's Wharf) so I would like somewhere in the North Beach/Financial District/Ferry Building area.

Specifically, I am looking for a place that has:

1) homemade pasta
2) excellent ragu for the pasta, or in the alternative, delicious non-cream based sauce for the pasta
3) really good bread.

In Boston, pasta equivalents are La Morra and Sage and Chicago - Merlo's Ristorante.

The one time I ate at Delfina's, I thought it was good but not what I am looking for. Also, it is too far away for the pre-marathon meal.

Thanks so much.

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  1. I can't believe I will be flying out to SF this Thursday. I am still on the quest for a pre-marathon meal. My friend wants to go to Mona Lisa

    I'm not overly enthusiastic about the menu. But, I am a sucker for spaghetti and meatballs. How are Mona Lisa's?

    I was leaning towards Firenze:

    or Antica Trattoria:

    Friend doesn't want a place that is too fussy. I just want excellent pasta.

    Any suggestions?


    1. I know it gets seriously mixed reviews, but I am going to suggest Original Joe's. It's a straight shot down Market from the embarcadero. Maybe a $6 cab ride (and, if you don't know the area, I highly suggest a cab), and has a very old-school vibe. Every time I walk in that place, I have just some odd "only in San Francisco" (in a good way) experience. Huge plates of pasta, charbroiled meats. Tasty food, but really it's the experience and the CARBS! (Many other places I think will be more fatty sauces than carb carb carbs, and when I say the plates are huge... I think I ate 1/4 of my lasagne. But it was tasty.)

      Best of luck on the marathon! (I think my friend, fellow chowhound, Muppet, is running the half!)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chowsmurf

        that is a *REALLY* sketchy area.

        aside from the area, i still would not recommend it. i was there about a year ago. pasta was overcooked, and vegetables were cooked into mush and drowning in margerine.

      2. Believe it or not, Caffe Puccini has really great pasta. Not at all fussy, but very good quality. I loved the papardelle with rabbit. It got a good review in the Chronicle's pasta round-up a few years ago, it ranked in the "best overall" category.

        Caffe Puccini: The Tuscan-born owner of this popular espresso bar added a pasta menu a few years ago and makes all the hearty sauces himself, including a delicious marinara. 411 Columbus Ave. (near Vallejo), (415) 989-7033.

        2 Replies
        1. re: AmySherman

          I love what Original Joe's does with meat, but for lots of pasta for cheap, I'd go with Caffe Puccini too. Here's a discussion from last year and a picture of my pasta plate -

          Good ragu, not homemade pasta though.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I'll third what Melanie said - I carbo-loaded before a race once with Caffe Puccini and wasn't disappointed. No homemade pasta, but good ragu.

            You might also want to make a early visit to Liguria Bakery (1700 Stockton) for some of their foccacia for even more carbs before the race.

        2. Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to call Caffe Puccini today. Hopefully, I can get an early reservation. I'll report back next week.

          1 Reply
          1. re: beetlebug

            I will be running Sunday too!! I have a friend that is a cook in SF who recommended a place called "Da Flora" to me for authentic italian with possibly handmade pasta. Ive never been there but she is an amazing chef with high standards. I left a message for reservations today myself. good luck on sunday!

          2. Always Pasta Pomodoro, too--cheap and dependable.

            (And no half-marathon for me this time--good luck!)