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Jan 7, 2009 11:31 AM

Do you remember?


Have been staying up nights trying to remember the name of an Italian restaurant I dined at in the early 80's in Ghirardelli Square. If my memory serves me right (and that's not always a sure thing these days), this place was one of two owned by the same restauranteur. The main one (if I recall correctly) was in the Opera (or Theater) district and was famous for it's art work.

The one in the Square included a glassed in porch dining area. Wonderful food and wonderful atmosphere. I've been trying for years to remember the name.

Anybody remember this place? Thanks in advance for your help.

Dan G

  1. The only place I can remember from that era was Paprikash Fono (?sp) which, of course, wasn't Italian(!) but I sure did love it. I wonder if you emailed Michael Bauer at the Chronical if he/they would remember. Those are the kinds of things that keep ME awak at night :)

    3 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      I went to Paprika Fono in Ghirardelli Square many times in its day. Two years ago by chance I had lunch at Bravo Fono in the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto and lo and behold the owner was the same person who owned Paprika Fono. As I recall the menu had an interesting history about him but i've now forgotten it.

      1. re: Mick Ruthven

        The Fonos started the Magic Pan and sold it to Pillsbury, perhaps?, in the 80s. I never went to Bravo Fono but I believe I read that they just closed or are about to. I went to Paprikas Fono many times also especially with one particular friend. We were always too full for dessert so one time we went just for soup, bread and dessert. Good fun. And a nice memory. We don't live in SF anymore but visit friends in North Beach. We should stroll up there one day; haven't been to GS in many years.

    2. Those were Modesto Lanzone's restaurants, gone for many years.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Bingo, Melanie, the mystery is solved. Thank you very, very much! And thanks to everyone for their help.

        Dan Greenwald

        1. re: Gimpleboy

          I remember Modesto Lanzone as while in college I worked across the way at Los Leones,the gift shop located in Senor Pico's Mexican Restaurant owned by Trader Vic's,now the site of McCormick and Kuleto's.Sue Fisher King a SF local character to this day was the manager/buyer.Had drinks and appetizers on occasion at ML but due to my budget mostly got a great sandwich from a deli across the street from the upper left corner of the square,consuming it on the stairs in front of Aquatic Park while looking out on the bay,Alcatraz,watching the Dolphin Club swimmers and thinking life couldn't get much better.Magic Pan,the crepe place was also there in those days and to me a splurge and a treat.The Fono family later sold the chain to Quaker Oats and then opened Paprikas Fono in it's space before more ventures in Palo Alto.Modesto Lanzone's Opera Square location was later sold to Carlo Middione to open his Vivande Ristorante. What a great experience for an 18 year old.Thanks for bringing back some very fond memories.