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Nov 25, 2006 06:48 AM

Incanto, SF report w/ pics

I made reservations online from their website for two the day after Thanksgiving because we didn't have to work Fri 11/24 and if we go during the commute hr from the East Bay we can save $3 on bridge toll.

They emailed me that we had reservations which was great, then the day of the dinner they called to confirm we'd be there. I had to call them back to confirm since I stepped out of the house and didn't get the message until I got back.

We got there and the table was ready for us. We were placed in the Dante's Room which is a smaller, quieter room then the main dining area. They offer to take your coats which is nice, but when you want to leave you have to remind them of the coats and have to wait until someone brings it to you.

Free litre of Hetchy Hetchy water (still or sparkling) is brought out, supposedly refills are given, but we didn't get any refills.

Free bread: sourdough, focaccia, and breadsticks are given w/ an olive tapenade. I love the breadsticks and olive dip. didn't care much for the breads, though I still ate some of them too. We got a refill on breads though.

We ordered:
Antipasto platter (for 2) of house-cured meats & mustard, roast garlic & marinated vegetables $18. I don't know what the marinated veggie was just some kind of leafy green which was good. Meats were average I thought, but B. liked them.

Handkerchief pasta w/ rustic pork ragu $15-This pasta has to be homemade, it's so silky and yummy. Pork ragu was just ok. Portions are small to average size. I was expected ginormous, but it's not the case here. I finished my dish and no leftovers.

B. ordered Berkshire prosciutto cotto w/ celery root & potatoes al forno $18. Waiter said it was in the oven since 6am, so B. felt it would be good. He liked it but said my pasta dish was better.

B. also got the mystery flight of wine: taste of 3 well-made Italian wines for $13. B. really enjoyed them.

Spiced panna cotta w/ pumpkin brodo & candied cranberries $7.5-it was pretty good. I keep hoping I'll just love panna cotta, but I'm always slightly disappointed with them. I should stop getting them.

Lemon tart was just ok.

They have separate mens/women bathrooms in the back, to the right of the Dante's Room. Women's had 2 stalls. The toilet had a regular toilet handle to flush or you could use the floor pedal which I thought was cool. Two sinks in the women's.

Price w/ their 5% service fee and tax was $87.16. Then B. added more tip so our total was $103 for 2 ppl. They take Credit Cards.

Overall, I would return. B wants to go back already, he said it's one of his favorite restaurants.

1550 Church Street (@ Duncan, south of 27th St in Noe Valley)
San Francisco, CA 94131
(415) 641-4500


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  1. HHC:

    Not sure what B means, but I am relatively new to Chowhound, so I assume you mean your boyfriend. We have been going since day one, since this is one of our locals. Well said on everything. We were there last Saturday night and we are huge fans of the antipasto platter, but for whatever reason it missed the mark a bit.

    We get there at least once a month. Mostly home runs always. Funnily, my wife once had their black pepper panna cotta and no other dessert works for her since. It has been over a year since they snuck that in and wowed us (I loved it too).

    We make a game of mystery flights and trying to the guess the wines, we're sedlom right but fun is fun. Kinda sad this place has gotten so hot. We feel like early Beatles fans from the Cavern in Liverpool, sorry to lose their full attention, but very happy for their amazing success, nonetheless.

    1. The crust on the lemon tart looks burnt: is that just the lighting, or was it overdone? (your slide show notes that lighting was an issue forthe pics).

      I think I would enjoy the quietness of the back room; whenever I've gone it has been reserved for a group.

      Thanks for the report.

      3 Replies
      1. re: susancinsf

        Susancinsf: I don't think the crust was burnt, probably just the lighting and my not using flash, it was thick though. I wish it was light and flaky.

        There was a large group in the room with us, so not super quiet, but when we went back out near the main dining room we really noticed the noise. The Dante Room holds max. 20 ppl or 17 at one long table.

        Noeman: B. is just the first letter of the husband's name.

        The mystery flight B. got were:
        1. Barolo, 1996 Ciabot Berton
        2. Barbaresco, 2000, Cascina Morassino
        3. Roero Arneis Recit, 2005, Monchieto Carbone

        1. re: hhc

          That was not the mystery flight, it was the Piedmont flight and it is $18.00 just to clarify.

          1. re: pateman

            That Piedmont flight sounds like a good deal at $18!

      2. I have found it hard to eat there as a non-pork eater.

        Man, that pasta looks to die for though.

        2 Replies
        1. re: abe1329

          Though some of Incanto's best dishes contain pork, I took my non-pork eating parents there and they loved it. They shared pesce crudo, grilled watermelon salad, ricotta gnocchi, fresh pea ravioli, and a whole fish. I'm a pork lover myself, but for my last dinner at Incanto I had cod roe, braised beef tendon, duck sugo with pappardelle, rabbit ravioli, and porcini mushrooms. Though my entree was pork, it was the only pork secondi on the menu, as well as the least impressive dish of the evening.

          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            The vegetable appetizers are usually great, and to my taste the kitchen does as good a job with fish as it does with pork.

            The vegetarian pastas and entrees I've tried don't always seem on the same level. I think it depends on whether the kitchen has really inspiring ingredients on hand.

        2. In the interest of others researching Incanto for a potential visit, don't expect "ginormous" portions. It's not that type of place. That said, I've never left hungry and sometimes have leftovers.

          Perhaps you meant the QPR (quantity:price ratio) on the pasta, which I consider good at Incanto generally because of the ingredients and effort required. But as with anything, it all depends on the customer. Thanks for sharing your experience.

          We've been having a hard time getting back to Incanto since La Ciccia opened and we don't eat out as often. I supposed eventually we'll have mined their menu sufficiently to bring Incanto back into the rotation. What luck to have two such unique restaurants in the area.

          1. Went to Incanto with a friend last week. Had bean soup, very Italian, and pork sliced thin like veal, a bit tough. The highlight of the evening was a taste of the pomagranite chicken my friend ordered. Nice wine list by the glass.