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Which Restaurant has the Best Gnocchi?

I used to LOVE the gnocchi at Michelangelo's in North Beach, but have been disappointed during recent visits. I also had a fantastic gnocchi dish at Bix many, many years ago (I'm still dreaming about it), but it doesn't seem to be a regular menu item. There are a few other places with decent gnocchi, but I'm wondering if anyone on this Board can point me to truly excellent fresh gnocchi? I don't care for gnocchi drowning in overwhelming, heavy sauces (I can do without the heavy gorgonzola and nut sauces), but do enjoy a little cream (pink sauce is great) or simple carmelized butter sauce. Caffe Delle Stelle also used to serve a nice gnocchi with chicken apple sausage. I'm boycotting the restaurant in protest since they took it off the menu :)

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  1. jardiniere. potato gnocchi with morels, pancetta, parmigiano-reggiano. outstanding.

    2 Replies
    1. re: steve h.

      I'm not one for North Beach Restaurants and when my now fiance took me to Sodini's (on Green St., I believe) for Valentine's Day, I almost regarded it as a deal breaker. That is, until I tasted the gnocchi. Light, fluffy potato pillows, perfect texture and a hint of potatoe-y flavor. You can get them in a cream sauce, pesto sauce or red sauce, but to tell you the truth, they could serve 'em naked and you would still leave the restaurant floating on air.

      1. re: prettypithy

        I tried the Sodini's gnocchi. While I loved the old North Beach vibe of the place, I thought the gnocchi was only "okay." It was a ricotta-stuffed gnocchi, that almost (but not quite) tasted pan-fried as it was VERY firm on the outside. I ordered the Nosel option (meat sauce w/cream), and the sauce was good. It just wasn't a nice, light-as-air, fresh-tasting gnocchi. My dining companion had the penne al forno, which he said was "good" but not great. Same thing with the Caesar salad. Still... I'll probably go back for the bar and the old school atmosphere.

    2. I usually don't order gnocchi, but the best one I've had this year was at Frascati. Ask them to go light on the pepper if you make it there. It was very simple - fresh fava brans, fresh corn and butter.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mari

        i agree. the gnocchi have been consistently excellent at frascati. i get them every time i go!

      2. The gnocchi at Quince is the best either I or my wife has had. Jardiniere's version was very very good as well; though I think you'll have to wait about a month for those as they're closed for a remodel (sadly, I think, but that's another topic altogether).

        1 Reply
        1. re: ccbweb

          Oh how depressing...I LOVE gnocchi and was so eager to try it at Quince, but the night we were there must have been an off night because the gnocchi was nothing much at all - really just okay. I was so disappointed. Clearly I will have to go back and try again!

        2. Pizza Antica in Lafayette has amazing gnocchi....light and fluffy but crisp on the outside because they pan fry them before serving in a lovely pink sauce and served with arugula

          2 Replies
          1. re: JenM0825

            I'll have to try and get out to Lafayette to try the Pizza Antica gnocchi. The Bix gnocchi that I loved was also light inside, crispy outside. They panfried it in butter.

            1. re: kresge86

              I second the Pizza Antica gnocchi. Pan fried + great sauce = amazing.

          2. Defina or Quince, or the ricotta gnocchi at Zuni.

            5 Replies
            1. re: scenicrec

              Loved the ricotta gnocchi at Zuni. Ethereally light, served piping hot, deliciously creamy sauce. Knockout of a dish the night we had it.

              1. re: nosh

                I'm probably in the minority, but ricotta gnocchi just doesn't seem to do it for me. I tried the Zuni ricotta gnocchi years ago. I thought it was okay, but something about the texture and/or weight of the ricotta gnocchi makes it less yummy to me. Just me. I know others thought it was fabulous.

                1. re: kresge86

                  interesting comment. jardiniere shared their ricotta gnocchi recipe with me (thank you, naomi), but not the potato gnocchi with morels, pancetta, parmigiano-reggiano recipe. don't want to read too much into this. still...

                  let me know if you would like the ricotta recipe and i'll post it on the appropriate board.

                  1. re: steve h.

                    Please do post it on the Home cooking board!

            2. A16 for ricotta gnocchi. Unmatched in SF.

              1. Myth. They wrap it in pancetta. It is so good that Paula Wolfert is writing Sean O'Brien's recipe it up in an upcoming cookbook. Truly amazing.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Carrie 218

                  Oooh.. that really does sound good. I'll have to make my way over to Myth sooner rather than later. It's walking distance from my office, so it would be very easy to head over after work for an early dinner.

                  1. re: Carrie 218

                    My two favorite gnocchi dishes are at Myth and Da Flora. Haven't tried the version at Quince, Delfina, or A16 however...

                    1. re: felice

                      Sad as this is, I did try the gnocchi at Quince and am sorry to say that it was meh...not particularly light and etheral and the sauce was completely unmemorable. I was so disappointed as I've heard nothing but raves about the pasta at Quince. I'm hoping I hit it on an off night...

                    2. re: Carrie 218

                      Wrapping something in bacon - that is not classically wrapped in bacon - is cheating.

                    3. Thanks for the timely question since company has a dinner planned at Firenze by Night. Has anyone tried the gnocchi at Firenze by Night in NB? I have heard it is good and wondering if is truly what website says,"award winning gnocchi"? Thanks.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: foodseek

                        Yes, I have tried it - I have a friend who likes to go there often for the gnocchi. I like it, but definitely thought it was better at Jackson Fillmore the one time I had it there. Perhaps it was the sauce and mushrooms at the latter. I will be interested in your thoughts on Firenze's gnocchi.

                        1. re: foodseek

                          A friend took me to FbN on the basis of the fabulous gnocchi. I was underwhelmed, I prefer the gnocchi at Frascati. I also love the ricotta gnocchi at Zuni.

                        2. Poggio in Sausalito has wonderful gnocchi - on the menu as an appetizer, rather than a pasta course.

                          1. Best? It's subjective. The list should include Street on Polk.

                            1. I actually haven't had good luck with gnocci here in the City. Have not tried A16's and Quince's to compare, but I am very fond of my neighborhood joint Bella's on Geary and 3rd. Have tried others around the world, and would say Bella's can hold their own against Lupa (Mario Batali's) in NYC as an example.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: misterchinn

                                Reporting back after first time at Firenze by Night. Although I do not know if it is the "best"-subjective and I have not tried all listings above but FBN did prepare a light,flavorful gnocchi served with a somewhat creamy tomato sauce. The gnocchi I thought was more a standout than the sauce. That happens sometimes that the sauce takes away from the gnocchi. I have tried the gnocchi at Street(Polk) which was good as well with a better gravy on top.

                                1. re: chaddict

                                  That's one of the first positive Farina things I've heard, can you tell us more? I know Bauer's review is coming soon...for what that's worth. Freinds who've been have felt it's mediocre.

                                  1. re: Frosty Melon

                                    These were almost mini gnocchi, they were so small. Light and airy yet still maintaining structural integrity (so many places make mashed potato balls in their effort to have a light dumpling). Great cream sauce, not too heavy nor cheesy. I will write about the whole meal over on a Farina post so as not to bury it here. Apart from one dish, everything was successful.

                                    1. re: Frosty Melon

                                      The very first post I saw here raved about the gnocchi.

                                    2. re: chaddict

                                      A warning that gnocchi isn't on Farina's regular menu.

                                    3. Palio D'Asti some 16 years or so ago USE to make a gnocchi using bread served with a traditional tangy light tomatoe sauce and sage butter.. these were light and airy and I still dream of them.
                                      Does anyone know who makes gnocchi using bread?

                                      1. I have yet to try any Gnocchi better then what I make at home..My father's aunt taught me some 40 years ago in Trieste..I did enjoy the Gnocchi at Flavors in Santa Rosa..
                                        the gnocchi at Jardinier's with morels and pancetta sounds very good..I'll have to try that..

                                        1. Myth

                                          Seared Mascarpone and Potato Gnocchi with Pancetta and Parmesan Butter Sauce 14

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: michparent

                                            Rivoli's sugar pie pumpkin gnocchi this week were stellar. Light, silky, and perfect.

                                          2. Pizzaiolo sometimes has it on their menu (which changes daily and you can check out at pizzaiolooakland.com) and it is divine when they do it. sometimes in pork ragu, sometimes with nettles, ricotta salata and brown butter.

                                            1. I thought I'd give Michelangelo's one more chance, and went back the other night and ordered the gnocchi. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the good, old gnocchi was back. Beautiful, light, airy, potato pillows. However, the sauce was not as good as it used to be (no more nutmeg flavor in the white sauce, and I suspect that the chef may be using milk with corn starch instead of cream). Still... I'm happy with the return of the good gnocchi.

                                              1. At Perbacco the other nite...The group I was with devoured wild mushroom gnocchi.

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