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Russian Hill

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What's the good local scores around Russian Hill, where I will be visiting my daughter. Separately, how about a favorite Italian anywhere within a short drive and Chinese in Chinatown?
While I love to pay good money for great food, right now things are a bit tight so fifty bucks a person would be tops on the Italian dinner.
Thanks ever so much...LA traveler.

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  1. for the italian place, i highly recommend ristorante milano!

    -----
    Ristorante Milano
    1448 Pacific, San Francisco, CA 94109

    1. I like Luella on Hyde. There is also Antica Trattoria on Polk St. - I've not been but others seem to like it. There are a number of places on Polk in fact!

      2 Replies
      1. re: dinnerout

        Luella would be chinese? just joking.

        1. re: peterboy

          Busted! Well, not really Italian either, but check it out - they have a website and the food is great. Nice ambience also. Only pain is the parking!

      2. What about Fracati?? any input?

        14 Replies
        1. re: petersgirl

          Frascati is my favorite in Russian Hill. Parking sucks, but you can park down on Pacific/Polk in the lot by the paint store and walk up. Frascati is Cal/Ital, the staff is super nice and accomodating, the space is really intimate, and the menu changes all the time, but everything's always been creative and good in that style.

          1. re: petersgirl

            It continues to amaze me that people rave about Frascati and Luella. Both are average at best, with surroundings that far outpace the food. I have eaten at both a couple of times as I live half a block away, and will trek to Milano, Pesce or Antica anyday rather than succumb to another disappointment.

            1. re: Rich

              Rich--do you have places that fit my fun visit to Russian Hil?
              Good food at a local spot and
              Separately, how about a favorite Italian anywhere within a short drive and Chinese in Chinatown?

              1. re: peterboy

                For solid Italian, both Antica and Ristorante Milano are good local bets. Pesce still impresses me with their take on Venetian small plates, mostly seafood oriented. For a true SF experience House of Prime Rib is down the street and for upscale, delicious Italian influenced food, Acquerello can't be beat.

              2. re: Rich

                Sorry to hear that, Rich - I'm also walking distance and very much like Luella - I've been at least 6 times. Never been to Frascati and would try Antica before Frascati - just because I've heard so much about Antica. But I'm also walking distance from A16, so when I want Italian, that is usually where we head. Good thing we don't all like the same thing, no?

                1. re: Rich

                  I have to respectfully disagree here with the reference to Frascati. Eaten here three times, and never been disappointed so far.

                  Do you happen to remember what you had at Frascati ?

                  1. re: Rich

                    It amazes me that some say average at best. Average at best is something I can do in my kitchen. Both of these places are far better than average, Frascati has been around forever & will continue for reason. Luella is a gem for the neighborhood & will hopefully be around just as long as Frascati has. Yes, Antica & Ristorante MIlano are also 'good bets' BUT so are Frascati & Luella & there is no need to trek.

                    1. re: gal4giants

                      You nailed it on the head. For $50.00 without beverages, uninspired chicken, lamb and beef with muddled sides and competing flavors is something I can cook at home. As for Luella, subtlety is just not in their repertoire. Everything is too sweet, too savory, or too buttery. Just my opinion and if you enjoy them, as many do, more power to you.

                      1. re: Rich

                        "Savory" is a synonym for appetizing. Do you mean too salty?

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          It also refers to foods that are in the salty/spicy category as opposed to sweet.

                          1. re: Rich

                            I still don't understand what you meant by "too savory." You find Luella's food too salty and spicy and not sweet enough?

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              If the dish is sweet it is too sweet, if it is salty it is too salty etc. my point being that everything is overdone.

                    2. re: Rich

                      I don't want to get into any wars regarding Frascati, but it happens to be my favorite restaurant in the city. Quaint atmosphere, fantastic food, and great service. I'm a regular, and have never been unimpressed.

                      1. re: christineb

                        You didn't notice any change at Frascati when the owners sold it and took the chef with them to Wood Tavern?

                  2. If you are planning to walk to some venues (and parking is generally a bitch in that part of town) it would be useful to know what part of Russian Hill will you be in. Some of the places mentioned so far are actually in Polk Gulch, which only a deranged realtor would call Russian Hill. On the eastern slope of Russian Hill you'll find the likes of Trattoria Contadina, and at the foot of the hill on that side lies North Beach with a lot more options than Polk Street on the other side.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Xiao Yang

                      let me check with the daughter...but I believe her cross streets are toward fisherman's wharf. rather than the downtown side--if that makes sense. I do get so turned around having not visited her place since she moved to SF.

                      1. re: peterboy

                        larkin and lombard

                        oh, and she mention's Bix and the Slanted Door--though I dont think they are in the neighborhood.

                        1. re: peterboy

                          That puts you on the Polk Street side, though it's a pretty good grade (one block downhill to Polk). Bix and TSD are not in the neighborhood, but still within a couple of Miles. Not far from Gary Danko, if you want a splurge, and a fun walk down the Lombard St. zigzag to North Beach.

                    2. If you want a less-expensive meal than most previously mentioned, Helmand (Palace) has moved to Van Ness at Green. Delicious Afghan food. Once you walk down the hill to Polk, Van Ness is one more block, and it's flat compared to Polk/Larkin.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: goingoutagain

                        what do you recommend at the afghani place--I am unfamiliar with it.

                        1. re: peterboy

                          At the original location they had a buffet at lunch time; it was a good way to find out what you liked. Don't know if they've continued that at Helmand Palace.

                          1. re: peterboy

                            At Helmand, order kaddo, aushak, and rice pudding or sheerekh.

                          2. re: goingoutagain

                            AFAIK, Helmand hasn't really moved, just opened a branch. They are planning on re-opening their original location.

                            1. re: Xiao Yang

                              is that all there is on this issue? I sure would like a sure-fire Italian place and a solid chinatown rec? please help.

                              1. re: peterboy

                                Chinatown is an oft-discussed issue. If you are thinking of dinner, Great Eastern and R&G Lounge are consensus favorites, with ZY Garden, next door to Great Eastern, for non-Cantonese Chinese (Sichuan-Yunnan food). Opinions on dim sum vary, but for the full experience with rolling carts you can't go wrong with Gold Mountain.

                                Lauded trendy "nouveau" Italian places seem to pop up all over town every other week, but in Little Italy proper (North Beach) there's little dissent on L'Osteria del Forno, a small place with a small menu. For throwback family style, cops-and-politicians red sauce Italian, Capp's Corner is pretty much the last man standing.

                                -----
                                L'Osteria del Forno
                                519 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                Capp's Corner
                                1600 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                Great Eastern Restaurant
                                649 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                Gold Mountain Restaurant
                                644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                Z & Y
                                655 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                1. re: Xiao Yang

                                  love l'Osteria, amazing what can be done with so little.

                          3. Zarzuela - Union and Hyde, great tapas with a homemade quality

                            Caffe Macaroni - in lower North Beach (not the chain) reasonably priced Neapolitan, there's two across the street from each other. The original has more charm.

                            -----
                            Caffe Macaroni Sciue Sciue
                            124 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94111

                            Zarzuela
                            2000 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ML8000

                              Caffe Macaroni - I always hated the name, but really liked the food - they introduced me to sweetbreads. I liked the upstairs room at the location on the East side of Columbus.

                              1. re: hill food

                                I really like Caffe Mac. At night, the upstairs is like being in another country. Good food and very friendly staff. It's held up very well over time as well.

                            2. so we went to Pesce and it was fine. The four of us dined on about 10 dishes; some were excellent and others mostly just good. Portions, of course, were tiny as that is the point of the place.
                              The outstanding items included crab tower, braised pork and gnocchi, and seared small scallops. the sauces on the last two were wiped up to the last drop as they were flavorful, smooth, rich and of course in short supply. The meats were cooked perfectly.
                              The arrabiata on the penne was pedestrian, but that was the only one I wouldnt repeat.
                              It seemed a bit high to pay $14 bucks for a tiny plate of linguini with a crab sauce; otherwise the value was fine.
                              Service was sweet and attentive. they gave us all the bread we could want.
                              We did walk by Luella and Frascati--boht intriguing. We were the only folks in the Swenson's--a fine top of the day on our first nite in town.
                              The kids are out now at work and we head across the bay to see the UCB senior. Gotta have a top dog and dinnner is at an indian place--Khana Peena. any thoughts?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: peterboy

                                Khana Peena's OK, but Ajanta across the street is nicer and if you order the right things better.