So-So Dinner at Delfina
In past postings, I have gone back and forth with some of my fellow Chowhounders (including Robert Lauriston, who I believe has impeccable taste) about Delfina. I was there when it opened. I've been there a million times. I've enjoyed it for years. Recently, however, I just didn't get it. Candidly, if I was looking for a nice Italian dinner in town, I was reluctant to fight the reservations gaunlet at Delfina for what I perceived to be a good, but not divine, meal. So I found other outlets for my Italian hankering, including Farina and A16, both of which (as Mr. Lauriston noted once) are far easier to get into than Delfina. With all this as background, I have to tell you that I recently ate at Delfina. Our group had the sardines and the three crostini apps; the gnocchi and spaghetti for our primi piatti; and nearly all of the offered entrees for our secondi piatti. We had a mid-priced Barbaresco. It was a nice meal, but not a memorable one. I will definitely return, but I will not make a special effort to do so. Forgive me one and all, but -- dare I say it? -- I prefer Farina over Delfina. I know one isn't supposed to say that. But when Farina is "en fuego" (and admittedly it's not always there), and you order the prosciutto with bufala and olive oil; their version of a country pizza; and the branzino, man o' man, look out. Farina's service and wine list can be spotty, but like a quirky new work colleague, I'm learning how to successfully maneuver my way around both. I'm tempted to say that I like A16 better than Delfina as well (based on, if nothing else, it's singularly unique wine list), but I've had some dinners there that were just so-so and I want to wait and see how recent shakeups will affect the place.
Is this just a matter of personal taste? Or am I losing my mind? Does anyone else feel the same way? Would love to hear from you...
You're not losing your mind, I feel the same way.
Farina: I've had plenty of great meals there, but as you say, it requires some maneuvering but can be pretty great. Easier to get into, so ends up in the rotation quite often.
Delfina: has not been quite up to the hassle. Must admit I haven't gone in a year or so, which probably says something about my desire to return. I guess I feel like I know exactly what I'll get, and it isn't amazing enough for me to keep it in rotation. One of the best truffle experiences I've had, so would go for special menus or seasons.
A16: had great meals there years back, more recent meals have been dull. Great wine list. Only go if in the neighborhood meeting other friends; would not go as a destination at this point.
Delfina used to be one of my favorite restaurants in SF, but I went back earlier this year and was a little disappointed. Something was missing in the dishes. Everything was fine, but nothing popped like it used to. I had the same reaction as you, wondering if it was just me. Prices also seemed higher than I remembered from when I last went a few years ago. I haven't written it off completely, but I haven't been back either.