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Not Delfina AGAIN.

tartare Jun 11, 2010 04:26 PM

I will be in SF (from San Diego) for the weekend of the 19th and wanted to dine at Delfina but by the time we had finalized our visit date, wasn't able to get a 7pm reservation (this will be my 5th time coming and 5th foiled attempt at Delfina). I'd love to wing it and just show up for the pizzeria and just wait, but this would never do for my grumpy, lovable father-in-law. So we need a reservation.

Help! I want a special and delicious meal - I will be bringing one of best friends for her first visit to SF.

What would be your backup restaurants to Delfina (price range and ambiance similar, location flexible) where I may be able to get a 7ish reservation for a party of 5 on Saturday, June 19th?


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

  1. p
    par8thed Jun 14, 2010 01:55 PM

    Very important clarification, since you're mentioning reservations and pizza...

    Are you looking to dine at Delfina (the Italian restaurant), or Pizzeria Delfina (no rezzies, and pizza)?

    2 Replies
    1. re: par8thed
      wolfe Jun 14, 2010 02:00 PM

      Clearly OP knows the difference.
      wasn't able to get a 7pm reservation (this will be my 5th time coming and 5th foiled attempt at Delfina). I'd love to wing it and just show up for the pizzeria and just wait

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

      1. re: wolfe
        par8thed Jun 14, 2010 02:10 PM

        I hope so... I've had one-too-many conversations with people that don't make the distinction, or that they are just unaware of Delfina the restaurant (since the pizza craze has made a Pizzeria Delfina well-known to out of towners).

        When I previously read the OP's message, it sounds similar to "I want the pizza, and I can't seem to make a reservation, so maybe I'll just wing it and just wait".

    2. i
      italyeats Jun 14, 2010 01:14 PM

      Worth the trip outside the city...Vin Antico on Fourth St. in San Rafael. New chef Ed Vigil formerly from Las Ramblas and Oleana walks the talk when it comes down to creating his dishes with all local and organic (see website). His Cal-Ital cuisine is amazing and delicious! Definitely a gem worth checking out. No other restaurant in San Rafael compares. A cool, hip, fun place to wine & dine and less expensive than comparable restaurants in the city!
      Who needs to drive 1/2 hr. for a great meal when it's in your own back yard? It's even worth the trip if your coming from the SF. I'm from the East Coast, but always come to Vin Antico when I'm in town. Now that's travelling!

      Vin Antico
      881 Fourth St, San Rafael, CA 94901

      1. BernalKC Jun 13, 2010 09:29 AM

        Delfina keeps some tables open for walk ins. If you can handle a wait, and especially if you are a party of two, just go there. Explain your reservation frustration to the maitre'd and see what happens.

        And if it is an impossible wait, or you just don't want to risk the uncertainty, check out Farina, a block away. I see they have openings on the 19th as I write this.

        1. t
          tranewreck Jun 13, 2010 06:44 AM

          Try Delfina's pizza place on California (near Filmore). Just have someone show up 30-45 minutes earlier to put your name on the chalk board and wait. They won't sit you without your full party but you can have a drink while waiting or some of your group can explore that area of Filmore.

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

          1. m
            Mix B Jun 12, 2010 07:40 PM

            How about Foreign Cinema? It is an old standby, food is always very good and has a strong local feel, and if the evening is nice it is lovely to sit outside. Plus they have a 7:30 res for 4 on Open Table.

            Other Delfina-like options are Bar Bambino (though the res times are earlier or later) or Bar Tartine, they have a 8 pm res. I enjoyed their new, more casual menu on a recent visit, and the room is really comfy.

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

            Foreign Cinema
            2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

            Bar Tartine
            561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

            1. s
              SteveG Jun 12, 2010 01:22 PM

              Sociale might be a good bet. Very agreeable environment that should charm any and all grumpy lovable fathers-in-law, delicious Italian food with a Californian sensibility much like Delfina, and a great little wine list.

              Of the recommendations you've gotten, I think Sociale is closest in terms of type of food, quality, and price. The environment is quieter and more upscale than Delfina.

              One drawback--your plan to get a 7 PM reservation on a Saturday means you will have to compromise on restaurant quality, or you need to compromise on timing. It would take a miracle to get what you want on both timing and quality. Sociale can seat you at 5:30 or 8:30.

              The current menu:

              FRIED OLIVES
              Fontina stuffed breaded olives, mixed baby greens

              Basil, pecorino, smoked bell pepper vinaigrette

              Arugula salad, shaved parmigiano-reggiano, lemon oil

              Basil, lemon zest, chile flake

              Hearts of palm, mango, micro arugula, citrus reduction

              PIATTO MISTO
              Prosciutto di San Danielle, pickled carrots, Bella di Cerignola olives,
              La Prima, grilled bread
              to continue

              Brentwood corn, toy box tomatoes, garlic, spinach

              Pea tendril beurre blanc

              Garlic, grechetto, chile flake, spinach

              Wild mushrooms, shallots, grana-padano

              Porcini mushrooms, peas, truffle oil

              Pork, veal and venison Bolognese, parmigiano-reggiano
              to concentrate

              POLLO PAZZO
              Field to Family bone-in, half petite chicken, Brussels sprouts, marble potatoes, roasted garlic confit

              Cherry tomatoes, asparagus, fingerling potatoes, lemon beurre blanc

              SEARED DUCK BREAST
              Pecorino and sage potato torte, Bing cherry onion jam

              Sunchokes, pea tendrils and sunflower seeds

              GRILLED RACK OF LAMB
              Polenta cake, Muscat grape compote

              KOBE BAVETTE STEAK
              Peppercorn marsala demi-glace, arugula, parmigiano-reggiano and fennel dusted fries, salsa rosa, salsa verde, salsa rosa
              to complement

              Polenta fries with parsley and parmigiano-reggiano

              Butter beans and pea tendrils

              Grilled asparagus

              Broccoli rabe with olives and chile flake

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

              3665 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94118

              1. CarrieWas218 Jun 11, 2010 11:55 PM

                Alamo Square Seafood - very under the radar and consistently good food can practically always seat a party of five on a Saturday night.

                I was there last Saturday and enjoyed a spectacular $7.95 house paté starter and an entrée of seared Mahi Mahi with ramps, fingerling potatoes, a perfect brunoise, and a great light saffron sauce. Not sure why this restaurant is not recommended more often.

                Alamo Square Seafood Grill
                803 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                1 Reply
                1. re: CarrieWas218
                  tartare Jun 12, 2010 11:01 AM

                  THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.
                  This helps a lot.

                2. Cynsa Jun 11, 2010 06:26 PM

                  Try La Ciccia
                  or Restaurant Cassis for the House Specialty Lasagne:

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

                  Restaurant Cassis
                  2101 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Cynsa
                    vulber Jun 11, 2010 06:56 PM

                    While I haven't been to La Ciccia (but it's certainly on my to-try list), it seems that it wouldn't have the same "local ingredients" feel that Delfina has, as it looks like they import most of their ingredients from Italy; for a similar Delfina experience, to me, it would seem more to find a place that mirrors Delfina in its local ingredient sourcing rather than its cuisine

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

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

                    1. re: vulber
                      SteveG Jun 12, 2010 12:35 PM

                      I think you're pretty far off-base on La Ciccia's sourcing, outside of wine, olive oil, and certain cheeses.

                      I doubt La Ciccia has larger group reservations on opentable--it's worth calling direct.

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

                      1. re: SteveG
                        vulber Jun 12, 2010 10:18 PM

                        Sorry, just going by what they said on their web site

                      2. re: vulber
                        Robert Lauriston Jun 12, 2010 01:10 PM

                        La Ciccia gets most of its stuff locally, but they're not very similar to Delfina.

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

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

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          chaddict Jun 13, 2010 06:27 PM

                          According to La Ciccia's chef, it took him and Chris Cosentino to get bottarga imported into this country. Before them, niente!

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

                          1. re: chaddict
                            CarrieWas218 Jun 13, 2010 07:15 PM

                            I don't know about that - I've had bottarga at Oliveto several years ago and at another restaurants in Los Angeles that escapes my memory at the moment...

                            Oliveto Cafe
                            5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

                            1. re: CarrieWas218
                              chaddict Jun 13, 2010 08:13 PM

                              Totally believe you. Just that the chef said he and Cosentino are responsible. Maybe bottarga specifically from Sardinia? Dunno? Who cares? Ghana!!!!!!!!!!!!

                      3. re: Cynsa
                        wolfe Jun 11, 2010 07:08 PM

                        Vulber aside there is no reservation available for 5 at La Ciccia within 2 hours of 6:30 on the 19th per open table.

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

                      4. p
                        pauliface Jun 11, 2010 05:57 PM

                        Try calling Jackson Fillmore.
                        They are on opentable, but may not reserve parties of 5 except over the phone.

                        1. m
                          Mr_Happy Jun 11, 2010 05:34 PM

                          Range maybe? Similar type of food, around the same price, and also in the Mission.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Mr_Happy
                            vulber Jun 11, 2010 05:48 PM

                            Range only has availability at 8:30 and 5:30

                            Did an OpenTable search, and two came up that were of note:

                            Blue Plate, which has a cozy atmosphere (and even an outdoor area), slightly cheaper than Delfina, and offers "upscale comfort food" - delicious, although if you're going with someone who gets grumpy at long waits, they might also be turned off by the idea of gourmet meatloaf.

                            Another one is Isa in the Marina, which offers innovative French/California food. It has a great ambience, including a little back heated patio. Some really delicious combinations.

                            Also, if you want seasonal Cal-Italian, try Flour + Water for reservations the day of - even if they appear booked up for 2 months, they often release slots the day of.

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

                            Blue Plate
                            3218 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                            1. re: vulber
                              Gustavo Glenmorangie Jun 14, 2010 10:22 AM

                              I agree with Range. Never had anything but a superb meal there.

                              But, forget Open Table. Call. Open Table never has prime time reservations. Why would a restaurant pay Open Table when they are going to fill up anyway. All OT is good for (for a place as popular as Range) is to fill up the dead spots. Thus: 5:30 and 8:30.

                              Really, call them.

                              Also If the OP is relying on OpenTable for the Delfina reservation, he/she should call Delfina.

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

                              1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie
                                vulber Jun 14, 2010 10:32 AM

                                delfina doesn't use opentable

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