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Eats near Beach Blanket Babylon?

We have tickets to this show and as a semi-newbie to the Bay Area, I don't know where to make our dinner reservations. It'll be for a group of 8, including both sets of inlaws which means we need a restaurant that's relatively quiet so we can hear each other's conversation. Nothing too fancy or expensive, with good, solid food. Would Rose Pistola fit the bill? Or Calzone? Any other suggestions?

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  1. Rose Pistola's pricey.

    Ristorante Ideale would probably work.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Rose Pistola's pricey.


      Pricey, yes, but tasty and just around the corner - we much enjoyed dinner there before BBB.

    2. Capp's Corner is right around the corner, and has solid family style food that would be good for a group. Definitely not fancy, but I like the neighborhood atmosphere, and it's right next to BBB.

      1. I love Capp's (esp. their osso bucco), but the noise level in there before BBB shows can be kinda high. You should be able to converse, but you may have to raise your voices a bit.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Eugene Park

          I'll third Capp's Corner and their Osso Buco. It will be a real treat for any out-of-towners.

          1. re: Eugene Park

            If you do Capp's make sure you give yourself plenty of time before the show. They aren't super quick and actually discouraged me and a friend from eating a pre-show meal there if we didn't have time for a "four-course meal."

            I second the Rose Pistola reco for a group of 8.

          2. I've been to Calzone, and was not impressed with the food. For about the same price, I like Panta Rei much, much better. I wouldn't say Panta Rei is quiet (neither is Calzone), but you'll be able to have a conversation there.

            1. Capp's isn't gourmet fare, but I meet a North Beach friend there every couple of months and would recomend it for a group. They bring you a big bowl of excellent minestrone, a servicable bowl of salad ,and your choice of many entees for $18. the sole is nice, as is the osso bucco. I was there last night and tried the canneloni, which was also nice.

              In my experience it's pretty rare for it to be noisy, though there's the occasional big, rowdy group. Nice old-world San Francisco atmosphere, and it's literally right next door to Beach Blanket.

              1. I would definitely choose Ideale over Capps food-wise. Capps is a fun place to go (and I've seen the waiters from Ideale hanging out there on occasion) but I don't think the food is all that great. It is indeed right next door to BBB, though, and you can keep an eye on the line.

                Another good, close-by choice to consider is the Washington Square Bar & Grill.

                1. I like House on Green street - it's usually very quiet and it's got great Asian-inspired fish dishes and noodles. It's not too far from BBB, just a few blocks, and if I remember correctly nothing's TOO scary expensive.

                  You could also do Iluna Basque, but it can get noisy in there on the weekends.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: megamalone

                    ??@!!?? House is one of the noisiest restos in the City, even when they're barely more than half-full. Food's pretty good, but the place is loud once the tables start to fill up. Prices aren't moderate, either.

                    1. re: Eugene Park

                      Huh, well, maybe it's been a while since I was there...it was always pretty low key when we used to frequent the place. Guess I stand corrected!

                  2. Maybe you went to the Green St. House location when the location on 9th near Irving St. was still operational? When that closed, the Green St. House got much more busy.

                    1. If you're looking for Italian, I recommend Firenze by Night at Stockton and Columbus or Trattoria Contadina Mason @ Union. These are both sort of off the tourist circuit so the quality is better than most Columbus St. Italian spots. Both quite a bit cheaper than Rose Pistola.

                      If you're looking for something other than Italian, try Estia on Grant @ Columbus for Greek food. It's no Kokkari but it's also not pricey. I've had a few solid meals here. Service can be a bit strange.

                      For Persian there is Maykadeh on Green St.

                      I have to give my vote AGAINST Capp's. I've never understood the appeal of this place. The food is terrible.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: PumpkinHead

                        Estia's good, I agree.

                        Maykadeh's also good and probably the quietest restaurant I've been to in North Beach.

                          1. re: PumpkinHead

                            I was thinking of Firenze as well - I've been in there many times and it is always quiet. I like Maykadeh as well.

                          2. You could also try North Beach Restaurant -- very close, a bit nicer than the typical places along Columbus (and a little more expensive, though), and should be quiet enough to talk (especially if you're downstairs).

                            1. Osteria del Forno on Columbus near Green is wonderful and inexpensive. Go as early as possible to avoid a line. No c.c.

                              1. As a Northbeach resident, my alltime favorite is Sodini's on the corner of Grant and Green. They don't make reservations, so show up early. They have fantastic and tasty Itlian food run by friendly SF natives for reasonable prices. Try the seafood linguini. If you Like Thai food, try Citizen Thai and the Monkey on Grant and Vallejo. great Thai food. I also second Firenze by Night (they make their own limocello) or Trattoria Contadina. Rose Pistola is good but expensive, and Capp's Corner is touristy and lost it's lustre. Before or after the show, stop accross the street from the thatre at the Northstar for a quick drink. The bar is a neighborhood dive-ish type place with great people.

                                1. I worked in the area for a year or so until recently and I like many of the ones mentioned already. I agree with Panta Rei over Calzones, I like the house quite a bit, Sodini's is good as well, and citizen thai is also not bad and if you sit on the bar side ("the monkey") i believe they have a cheaper "bar" menu with the same good food. Be warned, none of these would be very quiet.

                                  1. Yeah, I know it's nine months since this question was asked, but my wife and I just went to BBB this weekend, and wanted to recommend Trattoria Contadina for the food, convenience, and ambience. It's a block or two off of the main drag, but my wife said it reminded her more of Italy than the neon touristy glitz of Columbus. Service was excellent, the veal was the best I've ever had. Oh, try the Chocolate torte for dessert too.

                                    BBB, get Front Cabaret seats and get there 90 minutes prior. We've sat in the balcony and didn't really appreciate the show as much as we did from the FC. Great evening.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ToddCommish

                                      I second Trattoria Contadina. I had a big group there a few months back - 30 people, and they were totally accomodating to us. We went to BBB after the dinner too so they know how to get you out the door to make the show in time.

                                      People don't know this but they also have an upstairs loft area and it wasn't as noisy up there.

                                      You can also get reserved seating tickets at BBB - that's what we did, so we didn't have to rush there to hold seats.

                                    2. O'Reilly's Irish Pub is a stone's throw from BBB and has a very cozy and quiet dining room. The food is solid, if unspectacular, and is fairly priced. If your party likes traditional Irish pub food served with a variety of good beers poured from clean taps, you could do far worse.


                                      1. I would second the rec for the North Beach. It's just a block away, Has very good tra, didtional Italian food, good service, and although a little more pricey than Rose P.IMO the food is better.