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Nov 30, 2009 11:01 AM

Delfina, 54 Mint, or Bar Bambino

I am visiting SF for one night only and am going to dinner with a group of 4 to 5 girlfriends who live in the city. These are the restaurants that have been suggested by the girls. We are in our mid-30's and enjoy good food and wine in a lively atmosphere. All three look great online - which one do I choose? (all have tentative reservations made by the different people who suggested them - i make final call)

Other non-Italian suggestions were: LMK and Nopa.


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

560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Bar Bambino
2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

54 Mint
54 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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  1. 54 Mint is the only one I haven't been to, but it's the one I'd choose, though Bar Bambino and Delfina are both great.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I too have only been to Bar Bambino and Delfina so I can't comment on 54 Mint. But between Bar Bamino and Delfina, the quality is up there for both. It really depends on what kind of food experience you want. Bar Bambino is more of a gastropub with an excellent wine list and stellar salumi and cheese. Whilet hey do have entrees, their small plates are where they shine. Delfina is more entree specific. So if you are looking for a meal with a capitol M, go Delfina. If you are looking for incredible wine and want to try a lot of things, go Bar Bambino. If you go to 54 mint, please report back!

      1. re: Dcfoodblog

        I wouldn't call Bar Bambino a gastropub. More of a wine bar (160 wiines with 35 of them served by the glass vs. eight beers, none on tap).

    2. Would recommend Delfina over Bar Bambino (haven't been to 54 Mint).

      However, for a "lively" atmosphere, you can't beat NOPA. (although you'd have to get there either really early or late). Food isn't quite as refined or delicious as Delfina, but still pretty f'ing tasty.

      1. The good news - you really can't go wrong with any of your choices. The food and atmosphere at all 3 are great. Bar Bambino probably has the most extensive winelist - so if you want to indulge in some high end Italian wine - that's your pick. 54 Mint has a much shorter wine list, and less expensive/well known choices. Have fun!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Trevallon

          I've been to all three, and whlie 54 Mint is probably the liveliest, I didn't think the food was as good as either Delfina's or Bar Bambino's. It's not bad, just not as good. And for fun's sake, Bar Bambino has a cute outdoor patio - not sure if they have heatlamps, that is fun . . .

          1. re: mariacarmen

            Thanks again for the responses. We had decided on 54 Mint until the day before when I felt so bad from a cold I almost called off the visit. We cancelled that reservation because they charged if you cancelled last minute. It also took about 40 phone calls to get through to cancel. The whole experience made me not like the restaurant before ever going there. We ended up at Bar Bambino and loved it. (never could get a rezy at Delfina to begin with). It was crowded with a great cozy atmosphere and the food was really good. My only complaint was that the portions were small but we were also sharing and probably should have ordered more. The wine the sommelier recommended was excellent. Two of the girls in our party had been to 54 Mint and both said the atmosphere at Bar Bambino was "hipper and younger" and the atmosphere more "warm". But they both left 54 Mint more full. Overall it was a great experience.

            1. re: yummytrip

              If you're back in the city anytime during the day, Bar Bambino's boxed lunch to-go is a great deal that won't leave you hungry.