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Jul 3, 2009 03:30 PM

Farina SF

Is Farina still open on 18th st?

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  1. You could call them and ask. The last few times I've walked by it's been almost empty while Delfina and Pizzeria Delfina across the street were packed, so it wouldn't surprise me if it closed.

    3560 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      It's not closed. Still kicking . . . The Mandili pesto pasta is obviously amazing but let's just say it's no huge mystery why Delfina is usually full and Farina typically has open seating.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Interesting, I went by on Thursday evening and the place was doing a brisk business.

        1. re: poulet_roti

          It's definitely still in business, and at this point I'd say it's an unsung gem.

          We've gone a few times in the last few months for lunch on a weekend, and it has been great each time. Focaccias, treated vaguely like pizza, have been excellent with quality toppings and an Italian sensibility (lots of good olive oil everywhere, some would call it greasy, I call it delicious). The hamburger is expensive at $16, made with piemontese filet, but has plenty of beefy flavor and is well-constructed on a house-made brioche bun. Pesto pasta is always on the menu and is always wonderful.

          Wines don't seem to be the best they could be, but the section of the menu with a few selected options of wine, prosecco, margarita, or bloody maria, each for $5, is a great way to keep the overall bill down in a reasonable range. At this point, if we're there for lunch we stick to that section of the menu, and if we go for dinner we'd probably bring our own bottle.

          The fried calamari also deserves special mention--perfectly fresh calamari, fresh oil, correctly seasoned and fried just the right amount with a delicious aioli equivalent and lemon wedges.

          As for whether it's better than Delfina, it's different. Delfina's menus seem to be more consistently good, but the best at Farina is not totally out of competition, and the style is much more strictly Italian compared to Delfina's California food with Italian influence.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I have not gone to Farina since I've resisted, for several reasons, but I am curious now that I have a discount code I can use. Has anyone been since they revised their concept to Italian rather than Ligurian a few weeks ago?

          1. According to Ristobar's FB page, Chef Angelo Auriana will be heading up Farina's new restaurant. Presumably this means the pizzeria that's in the works.

            13 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Just what SF needs: more upscale pizza. Seriously, people: doesn't anyone have anything else to offer?

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Yet, there's still not enough to meet the demand judging from the lines and crowds outside these places.

                And pizza aside, none of the SF food press seemed to have noticed that Chef Auriana has changed teams. At least not that google can find.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  There's a very good profit margin off dough, tomato sauce and cheese...and it's near recession proof if not bad.

                  1. re: ML8000

                    I'm not saying I don't understand the reason. I just think the proliferation of essentially identical upscale pizza joints is making the dining scene boring and one-note. When I was checking menus for my birthday dinner a couple of months ago I was really disappointed at how cookie-cutter they were. Even the new supposedly more cutting edge places seem the same to me. Is there really much difference between Commonwealth, Saison and Sons and Daughters? The most exciting thing I've read for a while is that Bar Tartine is doing Hungarian, which while not cutting edge is at least *different*.

                    Bar Tartine
                    561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I can't disagree. I call it the Bauer taste-maker mid-range continental palette with a twist syndrome. Given the economy and cost of start-up...trends tend to stay safe.

                      1. re: ML8000

                        They are the "La Maison de la Casa House" for the 2010s.

                        1. re: artychokeasana

                          Yes, and trends from San Francisco tend to become ubiquitous. I remember being somewhat disheartened at seeing beet salad with goat cheese on the menu of a restaurant in a small town in the east (Ohio or Pennsylvania). And I love beet salad! But I rarely order it now because it's such a damn cliche -- and the story goes that it all started with one restaurant's beet and goat cheese salad that Bauer raved about, so half the restaurants in the city put it on the menu, and so it spread.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            Do you know about when the beet and goat cheese salad become emerge in San Francisco dining?

                            Though I never really liked the salad I think the pear, blue cheese and endive salad has the same damn cliche status and beet and goat.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              Well besides making it to small towns, you see it a home BBQ and parties all the time...or a variation.

                  2. re: Melanie Wong

                    Heard from a friend that Chef Auriana is Executive Chef at Farina as of last week. Also that the pasta he had there was unbelievably exquisite.

                    Anyone been to Farina under Auriana?

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Had dinner there earlier this week. The food was very good but the prices are way above that of similar restaurants. The following is what 3 of us had. No pizza listed on the menu.
                      Porchetta with mostarda: thinly slices of rolled pork belly served room temperature; the mostarda was more like candied kumquats than the mostarda that I am used to.
                      Insalata di Campo, similar to Delfina's
                      Sauteed tiny squid over a puree of potato and celery root
                      Focaccia with prosciutto, crescenza and ricotta; more like a oval pizza then focaccia
                      Tortelloni stuffed with sea bass in a light tomato sauce
                      Tortellini of ricotta, prosciutto and herbs with a walnut cream sauce
                      The bread basket had excellent grissini, squares of parmesan cheese focaccia and slices of soft french style bread with a crust sprinkled with coarse salt.
                      The two pasta were excellent. Except for the tortellini, portion size was decent but would have left hungry if it wasn't for the good bread basket.
                      Antipasti: $12-16
                      Primi $24-28
                      Secondi: all around $36
                      Contorni (actually salads) $12
                      Dessert $9
                      Service was fine. I was surprise that the restaurant was full for a weeknight. Maybe it was due to the Oracle Conference as there were couple of large parties. Single seating as they did not turn any tables while we were there.

                      Delfina Restaurant
                      3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Exquisite pasta has always been the excuse to pay the inflated prices here. Maybe under the new chef, the main dishes will also justify the prices. Previously they haven't.

                    2. Now that Chef Angelo Auriana has left to return to LA, any changes in the food at Farina?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        I went last evening based on the recent white truffle report…

                        We started with the veal carpaccio with shaved white truffle which was quite good. The greens had a perfect amount of acidic dressing to complement the rich chanterelles and heighten the truffle.

                        We also shared a salad with parmesan and then what was the highlight of the meal for me: handmade egg pillow pasta filled with braised Guinea Hen in butter, with a beef & veal reduction which was all so incredibly rich and unctuous.

                        I thought we ordered the kale/chard side but what was served was nothing other than sautéed spinach (which still helped and was nice with the rich pasta, but I'm not sure it was worth an extra $12).

                        My fiancé was a bit dismayed that he got charged for ice tea re-fills and the four dishes mentioned about with his ice tea (I opted for water), was still $100. Good, but too expensive.

                        1. re: CarrieWas218

                          I've heard people say they leave that restaurant hungry, moreover, even the children report they are still hungry.