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Jun 17, 2008 01:42 PM

Which of these would you Choose?

Which would you recommend as a “destination “restaurant and a “neighborhood”, rather

than a Gary Danko or even Boulevard, type restaurant, with memorable food to someone

from out of town who is number of meals limited :

1.La Ciccia or Fish and Farm?

2. Sociale or Bar Tartine or House?

3.Bar Crudo or Perbacco or The Richmond?

Also, if possible, any do not miss dishes?

Arriving in early July from the Midwest.

Like most visitors the food is the thing so thank you for your advice.

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  1. Honestly, I think you're going to be happy with any of those. Where are you visiting from? What are you looking for?

    I think my choice would be La Ciccia, Bar Tartine and Bar Crudo, which would take you into three different neighborhoods and give you three very different kinds of cuisine.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      My choices would be identical to Ruth's. I had a great meal last month at Perbecco, but it's definitely not a neighborhood kind of restaurant, it's in the financial district, and is much less relaxed than Bar Crudo (I haven't been to The Richmond).

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I think I agree when it is about the food, to the extent I've eaten at the places involved (haven't tried Sociale, House or the Richmond). I liked Fish and Farm but love, love, love La Ciccia, and also think it is more unique in terms of type of food. Plus it is my neighborhood so I am biased.... :-)

        All that said, fyi last time I was in La Ciccia they told me they would be closing for part of July for vacation, so you will want to check their scedule.

        1. re: susancinsf

          I Love LaCiccia also , so much so we were planning to go for my husband's birthday on July 22nd. When I saw your post I tried to make a resevation on Open Table and got a message saying they would be closed from July 7th to the 31st (re-opening Aug 1).

          Oh well, guess I'll have to start another post about where to take my husband to dinner for his birthday.

        2. re: Ruth Lafler

          Ruth :

          Live in Michigan.

          As far as what I am looking for: In each of the three groups is Italian, Cal-fusion of some sort , fish, spice and fresh, local, flavorful ingredients skillfully combined in a non-corporate setting, where the staff truly cares about the food placed in front of its visitors, hopefully.

          Thanks to you and all who have so far responded with suggestions.

          1. re: au lait

            Incanto covers all of those bases. It's my favorite Italian place in SF. Polar opposite of corporate.

            1. re: au lait

              Thanks for the clarification. I'd drop Perbacco off your list -- it's in the finacial district and a little too big and slick for what you're looking for. Since you've indicated a willingness to go out to the Richmond District, I'm going to throw Aziza into the mix, just because it fits so many of your criteria (Cal-fusion, spice, fresh local, etc.). In other words, I'd suggest you consider a line up of La Ciccia/Incanto, Bar Tartine/Bar Crudo and Aziza.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                once again, agreed with Ruth ... the fish and squid dishes I've had at Aziza have been wonderful.

          2. Trip Report

            Friday lunch: Walked from Hotel Nikko to:
            Bodego Bistro: closed
            Thai Express: closed
            New Sultan buffet: open, nice but after reading all the Chowhound reports, off the menu is probably better.

            Friday Dinner:
            1st Stop Incanto for apps and wine:
            Lacinato kale : a little salt added. Kale, which is spinach like in texture, combined with a crunchy, garlicky salty texture and flavor $6.00
            Baccala with a cheesy texture scooped up with fried bread $12.00
            Accompianed by ½ glasses of a white Torre di Giano $5.00 and two reds a Chianti $4.50 and a Taurasi Radici $9.00
            All good enough to make me consider ordering more and not moving on to the planned 2nd stop.

            2nd stop La Ciccia.
            How can you not a love a restaurant where all of the dinners seem so happy, where one spouse works the front the other the Kitchen and they both seem so happy and most importantly the food is so good.
            Smoked Swordfish appetizer cut in thin slices, oily and rich like lox
            Pan Seared Tuna $19.00 a large portion of multiple very thick chunks (although the saffron onions did not work)
            Chocolate Tartufo $8.00
            In the perfect world a restaurant like this is in everyone’s neighborhood.

            Saturday morning Farmer’s Market
            Stone fruit is in season and it is sweet, juicy and flavorful. I peeled the skin off a plum that had been placed in a very cold refrigerator and almost froze. It was like eating juicy sweet plum ice cream.
            Roti chicken
            Acme cinnamon currant loaf with a café au lait ( so good returned Sunday)
            Saturday Dinner Bar Tartine
            As the character in Jerry McGuire said “you had me on hello” Steve G, along with Ruth’s endorsement, had me on “sweetbreads” and no disappointment.
            Sat at the bar where the server was kind enough to offer tastes of multiple wines and then serve ½ glasses of Domaine Long Chablis $6.00, Arnaldo Caprai $5.00 and 2000 Westwood Pinot $6.00. Not, genrally, a domestic Pinot fan but I enjoyed the Westwood perhaps because it had a few years of age to it.
            Sweetbreads $14.00
            Sea Urchin $16.00
            Potato gnocchi with morels $19.00.
            In many restaurants apps seem more interesting than entrees which often seem only fine but a bit of a letdown. Not so here. The gnocchi was light and fluffy yet fatty and flavorful.
            I wondered, after returning from San Francisco, if all of the locals who respond to our ubiquitous requests for the “perfect” restaurant know how helpful your guidance is to visitors with only a relatively short time in the City. Thank you.
            Thank you to Ruth, Robert, Kristine, Susaninsf and Steve G for your suggestions.

            3 Replies
            1. re: au lait

              You're welcome! Thanks for the great report. You really put your finger on what's so special about La Ciccia: they really love what they're doing, and that feeling just permeates the restaurant, making up for the occasional less-than-stellar offering.

              1. re: au lait

                "In the perfect world a restaurant like (La Ciccia) is in everyone’s neighborhood."

                and now you know why I think I live in the perfect neighborhood! :-) Loved your idea of trying both Incanto and La Ciccia (though I am not sure I'd have the stamina :-)). The bar at Incanto is a great place for an appetizer and glass or three of wine.

                La Ciccia
                291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                Incanto Restaurant & Wine Bar
                1550 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

                Bar Tartine
                561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                340 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                1. re: au lait

                  >>> I wondered, after returning from San Francisco, if all of the locals who respond to our ubiquitous requests for the “perfect” restaurant know how helpful your guidance is to visitors with only a relatively short time in the City.<<<

                  We appreciate when people report back so much. It keeps the info fresh and helps other visitors like yours. Thanks for the nice report.

                  What was the problem with the Sultan buffet?

                  340 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102