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Best San Francisco Italian Restaurant - Quiet

I am a foodie from Seattle coming to San Francisco and want to get your guys take on the best Italian Restaurant. My father in-law is losing his hearing so a quieter place is better. I know that quiet and Italian do not always go together but hey, lets give it a shot. What we like is neighborhood places, not too fancy or expensive and with a great but affordable wine list. Please let me know your recommendations and if you want to know the best of Seattle let me know. Cioa!!

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  1. Perbacco is ver nice but on the slightly pricier side....Delfina in the Mission is a great neighborhood spot but it gets boisterous.

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    Perbacco
    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    1 Reply
    1. re: vis

      Hi Vis,
      I really liked the looks of Delfina. How noisy does it get? Thank you so much for your ideas.

    2. Acquerello.

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      Acquerello Restaurant
      1722 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109

      1 Reply
      1. re: Husky

        Acquerello is certainly quiet (and certainly very good), but it is also likely the most expensive Italian restaurant in town. It is much more a special occasion place than a neighborhood place.

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        Acquerello Restaurant
        1722 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109

      2. Perbacco is very good, but I think it's very loud when it's busy. I have some friends who had a quieter table at lunch one day, which was somewhere in the back (or maybe upstairs), so that might work.

        Aqcuerello is fine-dining Italian, and as such is a more subdued (quiet) atmosphere. But the menu may not be what you have in mind, as it's definitely fine dining and not more commonplace pasta or meat dishes. But it is excellent!!

        Venticello (on Russian Hill) is not terribly noisy, although quality is a bit iffy.

        Amarena (on the western slope of Russian Hill) is a quaint neighborhood Italian, which is good but not fancy, and can be very quiet if it's not busy (midweek, other than Thursday, as I think they have some sort of event each Thursday).

        Da Flora in North Beach is a Venetian restaurant, which is usually fairly quiet (again, it's very small).

        And Albona is an Istrian restaurant between North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf that is usually quiet.

        The last three are all relatively small, casual, neighborhood restaurants. For more upscale "downtown" choices, I'm not sure how noisy Luce or Ducca get (borth are South of Market, a quick cab from Union Square, both in hotels).

        You should book a very early dinner time on an "off" night, as the emptier these restaurants are, the quieter they'll be. Unfortunately, in SF, it's hard to get a quiet restaurant outside of the fine dining realm. My late Dad was deaf, so I had the same problem. We actually found that loud restaurants worked better to some extent, as I could bellow in his ear without disturbing the neighboring table!

        Susan

        PS - Restaurant reviews on www.sfgate.com include a noise symbol to give you a relative idea.

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        Ducca
        50 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

        Perbacco
        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

        Acquerello Restaurant
        1722 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109

        Amarena Restaurant
        2162 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

        Da Flora
        701 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

        Venticello
        1257 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

        4 Replies
        1. re: waldrons

          Aquerello was my first thought when I read "Best San Francisco Italian Restaurant - Quiet," but it's also one of the most expensive restaurants in town.

          1. re: waldrons

            Luce has well-spaced tables and the dining area is far from the noise of the bar. If you go, the Sweetbread and Beef Tongue, Egg, Pancetta Jus and Potato “Espuma” appetizer is heavenly. Another plated beauty is the Bone Marrow And Gnocchi, Lobster - it's listed as a Pasta - but consider it a small appetizer. Chef Dominique Crenn earns her Michelin star and offers a $60 Michelin prix fixe. This is NOT as requested: "neighborhood places, not too fancy or expensive and with a great but affordable wine list"
            http://www.lucewinerestaurant.com/men...
            http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...
            http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2009...

            Luce
            888 Howard Street
            San Francisco, CA 94103
            (415) 616-6566

            1. re: waldrons

              Thank you for the tips and the sfgate.com recommendation. That has been helpful on the noise symbols. What do you know about Delfina? Thanks.

              1. re: seanthree

                Delfina is my favorite restaurant in SF but it is incredibly noisy. Not a good place for one who is hard of hearing.

            2. What do people think about Baccho's in Noe Valley?
              I haven't been there in several years.

              4 Replies
              1. re: escargot3

                Me either, but if I remember correctly they have a couple of dining rooms and one is small and relatively quiet.

                Incanto's back room is quiet (front can be very noisy), though sometimes it's taken over by private parties.

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                Ristorante Bacco
                737 Diamond Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

                1. re: escargot3

                  Ristorante Bacco's food is completely undistinguished and pretty expensive for what you actually get. It wasn't awful, but there are 2 dozen other places I would rather go first.

                  Incanto's back room is what came to mind for me; if the OP explains the concern to the reservation person, I'd imagine Incanto would be able to say whether or not they could guarantee a table back there.

                  Perbacco's upstairs room is quieter than the main restaurant, and probably another option.

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                  Perbacco
                  230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  Ristorante Bacco
                  737 Diamond Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

                  1. re: escargot3

                    And more specifically, has anyone been there since the owner died? That was in April 09.

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/612413

                    1. re: BernalKC

                      Gosh, now I feel awful. I'm pretty sure it was in April or May when I was there. For what it's worth, we didn't have the risotto, so maybe the menu still has the standbys that have made so many happy over the years.

                  2. I don't think Perbacco is quiet, although the food is delicious.

                    Da Flora and Ristorante Ideale in North Beach are both very quiet, and both have great food.

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                    Perbacco
                    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                    Ideale
                    1315 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                    Da Flora
                    701 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                    1. How about Sociale on Sacramento Street? I've enjoyed my meals there, and didn't find it to be too noisy. [Although, I note that the Chronicle rates it three bells].

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                      Sociale
                      3665 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94118

                      1. Third vote for Acquerello. Their oxtail dish is the best! Very expensive though...but so very worth it.

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                        Acquerello Restaurant
                        1722 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                        1. I recommend La Ciccia in Noe Valley. Not pin-drop quiet, but it only holds 10-15 tables so the noise potential is capped. The Sardinian food is a unique & rare version of an Italian restaurant, and the menu has the local dialect printed on it. I recommend the malloreddus, baby octopus and pork dishes.

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

                          1. One other caveat... since most of these recommendations are small restaurants and may "usually" be quiet, being seated next to a large party or other type of noisy table will throw off your experience. Even at an otherwise quiet restaurant, be sure to let the staff know when you book and when you arrive that because of a special need, you would appreciate a quiet table. (It would be horrible to be in a small back room somewhere and stuck next to an office Christmas party for 12!)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: waldrons

                              So true. Upstairs at Perbacco might be quiet sometimes, but when I was there the foursome at the table next to us was having a riotous time. And the first (and last) time I ate at Oliveto we were in just the situation you described: in a small back room next to some kind of party with a dozen or more people. It was awful!

                            2. I think you might have to just pray that the group of hyenas that follow my wife and I whereever we go does not sit next to you. There is really not much a small place can do when that happens. Perhaps the best suggestion is to avoid the trendy places that attract the noisemakers. Something like Ideale or Capp's corner might be good.

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                              Ideale
                              1315 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                              1. OP: Your title asks for "best", your request says "not too fancy or expensive".

                                Guess what. The best is fancy and expensive.

                                What now?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: bbulkow

                                  Greater minds and palates than mine have characterized La Ciccia recco'd above by joe_can_bike exactly as the OP requested: "What we like is neighborhood places, not too fancy or expensive and with a great but affordable wine list." I haven't been to a fraction of the places mentioned but La Ciccia certainly seems to fit the requirements from our outstanding evening there, down to the noise levels, unless OldTimers hyenas make a guest appearance
                                  :-). I am dying to take the parental units there when we all visit in the spring... here's the post if the OP is interested in why I want to revisit so much: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573876

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

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    La Ciccia's not quiet, at least when it's full.

                                    Capannina, Milano, and Bacco are probably the quietest good neighborhood Italian places I've been to.

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                                    Ristorante Milano
                                    1448 Pacific, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                    Capannina
                                    1809 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                2. Perbacco is my favorite Italian in town and has a brilliant wine list (very well priced, too), It is NOT a neighborhood-y type place, though.

                                  Acquerello is great but it is too expensive/formal for what you are looking for.

                                  A16, Delfina, SPQR all fit the bill but they are all too loud for you.

                                  I love L'Osteria del Forno, not too loud, but a little cramped and you often need to wait fr a table (no reservations)

                                  La Ciccia might work -- it is Sardinian.

                                  Honestly, I might go with Amarena. Only drawback is parking is a pain, but you can always cab it. It isn't the best Italian restaurant in the city, but it may be the one that most closely meets all of your requirements.

                                  http://www.amarenarestaurant.com/inde...

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

                                  Perbacco
                                  230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                  A16
                                  2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

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

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

                                  Acquerello Restaurant
                                  1722 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                                  Amarena Restaurant
                                  2162 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                  SPQR
                                  1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                  1. I absolutely love La Ciccia, but it is not quiet, no way no how, especially with someone who is losing their hearing. It meets all the other requirements of the OP, but I would never take someone there for the OP's stated purpose. The suggestions of the back room at Incanto are excellent. The food there is great, they have a great wine list, and it's usually quiet in the back room. I would call Incanto and explain your situation and make sure that you can get a table in back, and not on a night where there is a private party going on. That is really your best bet.

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

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: farmersdaughter

                                      Thanks for the clarification on La C's noise levels. Although it was full when we went, I don't recall it being noisy and I'm usually fairly sensitive to that as I have tinnitus -- we must have been lucky :-).

                                      1. re: grayelf

                                        I think you did get lucky - I can't ever have a quiet conversation with my husband there. We usually go to Incanto for that! For some reason Incanto is a lot quieter and feels more private, even in the front room.

                                        1. re: farmersdaughter

                                          Incanto can be pretty noisy when it's full, though usually I don't find it so. Depends on the crowd, I guess.