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Which Restaurant has the Best Gnocchi?

kresge86 Aug 24, 2007 04:02 PM

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. steve h. RE: kresge86 Aug 24, 2007 04:49 PM

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: steve h.
      prettypithy RE: steve h. Aug 24, 2007 05:03 PM

      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
        kresge86 RE: prettypithy Sep 14, 2007 08:28 PM

        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. Mari RE: kresge86 Aug 24, 2007 08:58 PM

      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
        artemis RE: Mari Aug 26, 2007 07:11 PM

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

      2. ccbweb RE: kresge86 Aug 24, 2007 09:38 PM

        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
          dinnerout RE: ccbweb Aug 24, 2007 11:19 PM

          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. j
          JenM0825 RE: kresge86 Aug 24, 2007 11:00 PM

          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
            kresge86 RE: JenM0825 Aug 25, 2007 12:30 PM

            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
              katya RE: kresge86 Sep 10, 2007 06:25 PM

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

          2. s
            scenicrec RE: kresge86 Aug 24, 2007 11:02 PM

            Defina or Quince, or the ricotta gnocchi at Zuni.

            5 Replies
            1. re: scenicrec
              nosh RE: scenicrec Aug 25, 2007 11:19 AM

              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
                kresge86 RE: nosh Aug 25, 2007 12:28 PM

                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
                  steve h. RE: kresge86 Aug 25, 2007 03:54 PM

                  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.
                    Melanie Wong RE: steve h. Aug 27, 2007 06:34 PM

                    Please do post it on the Home cooking board!

                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      steve h. RE: Melanie Wong Aug 27, 2007 06:52 PM

                      ok. coming up.

            2. w
              whiner RE: kresge86 Aug 25, 2007 01:44 AM

              A16 for ricotta gnocchi. Unmatched in SF.

              1. Carrie 218 RE: kresge86 Aug 25, 2007 10:43 AM

                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
                  kresge86 RE: Carrie 218 Aug 25, 2007 12:25 PM

                  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
                    felice RE: Carrie 218 Nov 11, 2007 10:25 PM

                    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
                      dinnerout RE: felice Nov 11, 2007 11:03 PM

                      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
                      bbulkow RE: Carrie 218 Aug 3, 2010 11:40 PM

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

                    3. foodseek RE: kresge86 Aug 25, 2007 11:30 AM

                      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
                        dinnerout RE: foodseek Aug 25, 2007 01:41 PM

                        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
                          bernalgirl RE: foodseek Aug 26, 2007 10:39 PM

                          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. b
                          bmisf RE: kresge86 Aug 25, 2007 12:30 PM

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

                          1. Chris Rising RE: kresge86 Aug 25, 2007 09:58 PM

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

                            1. m
                              misterchinn RE: kresge86 Aug 27, 2007 08:37 PM

                              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
                                foodseek RE: misterchinn Sep 8, 2007 06:11 PM

                                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.

                              2. chaddict RE: kresge86 Sep 8, 2007 08:50 PM

                                Farina. Full stop.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: chaddict
                                  Frosty Melon RE: chaddict Sep 9, 2007 10:29 AM

                                  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
                                    chaddict RE: Frosty Melon Sep 10, 2007 10:22 AM

                                    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
                                      Chris Rising RE: Frosty Melon Sep 10, 2007 01:08 PM

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

                                      1. re: Chris Rising
                                        chaddict RE: Chris Rising Sep 10, 2007 02:48 PM


                                    2. re: chaddict
                                      Windy RE: chaddict Sep 10, 2007 10:55 AM

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

                                    3. Lori SF RE: kresge86 Oct 11, 2007 05:16 PM

                                      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. r
                                        rosso RE: kresge86 Oct 11, 2007 05:39 PM

                                        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. m
                                          michparent RE: kresge86 Oct 12, 2007 08:15 AM


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

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: michparent
                                            zunzie RE: michparent Oct 12, 2007 02:03 PM

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

                                          2. d
                                            Doodleboomer RE: kresge86 Oct 13, 2007 09:56 AM

                                            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. k
                                              kresge86 RE: kresge86 Nov 11, 2007 10:13 PM

                                              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. escargot3 RE: kresge86 Aug 3, 2010 09:04 PM

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

                                                230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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