HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. m
    Mr_Happy RE: tartare 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 RE: Mr_Happy 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 RE: vulber 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 RE: Gustavo Glenmorangie Jun 14, 2010 10:32 AM

          delfina doesn't use opentable

    2. p
      pauliface RE: tartare 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. Cynsa RE: tartare 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 RE: Cynsa 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 RE: vulber 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 RE: SteveG Jun 12, 2010 10:18 PM

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

            2. re: vulber
              Robert Lauriston RE: vulber 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 RE: Robert Lauriston 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 RE: chaddict 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 RE: CarrieWas218 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 RE: Cynsa 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. CarrieWas218 RE: tartare 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 RE: CarrieWas218 Jun 12, 2010 11:01 AM

                THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.
                This helps a lot.

              2. s
                SteveG RE: tartare 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

                WHITE BEAN CROSTINO
                Arugula salad, shaved parmigiano-reggiano, lemon oil

                Basil, lemon zest, chile flake

                SEARED SCALLOP SALAD
                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

                ENGLISH PEA RAVIOLI
                Pea tendril beurre blanc

                MALFADINI AND CLAMS
                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. m
                  Mix B RE: tartare 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. t
                    tranewreck RE: tartare 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. BernalKC RE: tartare 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. i
                        italyeats RE: tartare 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. p
                          par8thed RE: tartare 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 RE: par8thed 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 RE: wolfe 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".

                          Show Hidden Posts