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Locanda da Eva Opening Night

A group of six of us traveled over to Locanda da Eva's opening night.

The menu is divided into appetizers, pasta, pizza, entrees and vegetable side dishes. Owing to a chill in the air, we were interested in the warmer/warming foods and skipped out on the little gems salad. Other than that, we ordered everything on the left side of the menu--appetizers, pasta, pizza. The entree that looked most appealing on the online menu (a rabbit dish) wasn't available last night, and none of the other entrees charmed us, so we skipped that section entirely. We also ordered a platter of each vegetable side dish which, at $18 ($21 if you order separately) was a good deal. Someone noted that the entrees allow a choice of vegetable rather than arriving with one tacked on, which was nice.

My favorites were:
- Spaghetti with rock shrimp, grilled squash, chile-garlic soffritto and bottarga
- Rigatoni with chicken and pork ragu, mustard greens, wild mushrooms and grana padano
- Pizza with wilted kale and crescenza
- Puttanesca pizza
- Fried Brentwood corn with salsa verde mayo

The sweet corn with crispy brown kernels was simple and delicious, and the spaghetti, shrimp, chile-garlic and bottarga mix was something I'd order again.

I'll let someone else speak to the quality of the wine list, but the people who paged through it mentioned that it offered wines that seemed like excellent values. I think the bottle we shared was $24?

I will speak to the cocktails, as I love an interesting cocktail list. The two I most desired weren't available this evening (the Tilden Park Swizzle and Delicious Sour) but I was impressed by the list, which includes 11 specialty cocktails. I wonder if the bartenders will be able to handle that complex a list in timely manner--what you expect wait at, say, Alembic, is different than how long you'd want to wait in a restaurant where you might not want your tipple to tip into your appetizer and wine.

The space was beautifully lit, with a cheery din that didn't distract or make it difficult to hear one's table mates. We sat in the first room near the bar; I was too interested in the food to look around at other seating areas, but the bar, like Incanto's, seemed a nice place to enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine and a plate of pasta.

As to service, please imagine the following statement in 18 point font, all caps, and red. This was opening night and I don't expect all the bugs to be worked out yet. That said, our table's "bug" was that the dishes arrived on top of each other and even when I asked the progress to slow, it did not. The 5 appetizers, 4 pastas and 4 vegetables all arrived in less than 10 minutes. Rather than savoring and considering the appetizers, I felt like we were rushing through them just to make more table space for additional dishes we couldn't fit. If I came back in a few months, I would expect for the timing to have eased.

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Locanda da Eva
2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

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  1. thanks for the first report back!

    The menu that is listed right now on the website doesn't show rabbit, but the goat does sound interesting...(and the grilled beef tongue on the appetizers menu is calling my name: did you try that?).

    but the big question is: what did you think of the pizza? :-) (well, I am sure lots of folks are wondering that, as for me, I am not a pizza fan so am more interested in the pasta)

    http://locandadaeva.com/locanda_dinne...

    1 Reply
    1. re: susancinsf

      The short answer is that I liked the pasta better than the pizza. I didn't find the crust as flavorful as I wanted it to be, and thought it could have used a touch more salt. Based on the number of crusts left to straggle on plates, I would think that might be a consensus.

      We did order the tongue and I liked it.

      Oh, and price wise, which I forgot to mention, it came to $52 per person, tip included. I think that was a touch higher than I expected...but we did order almost the entire menu, sans entrees.

      Also, I liked the brief sourcing statement on the bottom of the menu, which noted that the restaurant doesn't serve any fish from Monterey's "avoid" list and that the produce and meat are selected from local and usually sustainable providers.

    2. My favorites were the same as pane's, though I would add the fried potatoes on the vegetable side to that list -- the potatoes were delicious, and I'm glad that we ended up with two orders. The spaghetti with shrimp was my favorite dish, with the kale pizza a runner up. The texture of the pasta was fantastic, and everything in that dish was cooked perfectly. I often don't love shrimp in restaurants and rarely order it, but I'd order this dish again and again.

      The pizza was good, but the crust was lacking flavor (and needed salt). We definitely abandoned a lot of crusts on the plate.

      I was really struck by how affordable and well put together the wine list was -- there were lengthy descriptions under each bottle, and I think four bottles under $30. The by the glass list had a number of glasses around $5 or $6, which will make it a great place to meet friends for some dinner and wine, or just go yourself and sit at the bar with a glass of wine and a plate of pasta.

      I was also really pleased with the environment -- our table of six had no trouble hearing one another, but the restaurant still felt nicely busy and lively.

      1. We brought a group of five to opening night. I agree with pane and Jasmine about the pleasures of the space. It was really noticeable that the restaurant was nearly full, an abundant population of greeters and servers were about, and there was (delightfully non-contemporary) music playing, yet our party could hear each other perfectly.

        The well-made cocktails came out in a decent amount of time. They have those wonderful big ice cubes that make you feel like you're in the cast of Mad Men when they clink in an old-fashioned glass. And actually, the old-fashioned was the best I've tasted in a long while. The wine list was really full of value as well as interest, maybe too much interest. It made me think, if only my friends would be quiet for a minute so I can learn about Friuli. Hopefully the wine people from my party will chime in on this thread.

        We ordered a lot. The pork trotters fritter I would gladly eat daily, as they combine the best of crispy-crunchy and unctuous porkiness, with a zesty corn and roasted chili sidebar. The crudo and its garnish were way too subtle. I didn't manage to snag a taste of the bresaola.

        Of the pastas, the strozzapreti with tripe, tomato and mint was excellent, and the chicken and pork ragu was very good. Considering that the pastas were made in-house, I was startled that they were a few notches past al dente.

        The pizza crust could use more oomph. But the braised pork pizza was a revelation. The hot oven crisps the pork and that's just what one always wants with the liquid cheese. Carnitas pizza--who knew such a thing was possible? The kale and crecenza pie was good but not a showstopper.

        On to the mains, but the edge was quite off our hunger, and the feeling of entree-as-afterthought was expressed in the service as well. We ordered all four vegetables, but they came one at a time, in small bowls and plates, carried to us by various servers. It felt too much like we serve at home--I'd have preferred these on a big plate with a little garnish, a little flourish. That said, the fried Brentwood corn was outstanding, as were the potatoes. The cannellinis were cooked to a puree--intentional?--and the green and wax beans were forgettable. I'm afraid the goat stew and the chicken paillard were forgettable as well. Since we got the vegetables separately, there wasn't much to the presentation of the proteins. The goat was in a bowl that was too small, and the chicken was on a plate that was too large to be so ungarnished.

        What to do? It does end up being a big menu that demands a lot of range and personnel in the kitchen. It is hard to hit all the marks, especially on the first day. And the rhythm of cocktails/apps/pasta/pizza/THEN entrees lends itself to diner ennui by this point in the meal; I've experienced this elsewhere as well. I hope the house considers how to prevent this--the entrees need more polish so as not to be also-rans.

        Sad to say, the desserts were even more of an anticlimax. Chocolate ricotta mousse had a decent flavor, but didn't harmonize with the sliced nectarines, and the plating was not restaurant-caliber. Polenta cake was adequate, but no more--it was pretty much moist corn bread studded with berries. This course needs the most work. Maybe the house gelati and cookies are the dessert chef's grand finale, in which case they should be sold as such.

        So, it's a lot to get right, and none of it was bad. More to the point, Locanda is six blocks from my house and it WANTS to be exactly the sort of place we would want to walk over to every week or two, so I look forward to supporting their continued efforts.

        1 Reply
        1. re: heidipie

          Very nice report, Heidi. It's interesting to hear that the consensus at other tables resembled our own--we didn't order either entrees or desserts because they didn't look interesting, and it looks like you tried them but didn't enjoy them as much. I agree that they could amp up their dessert selection. I would like to have ordered a dessert, but the list didn't appeal.

        2. I think I was in part to blame for the pacing - when I discussed the coursing with the server, I assumed that the kitchen would be running behind on opening day, and requested that dishes be brought whenever they were ready. That said, I doubt all 13 dishes were fired at once, and someone probably should have sent a signal to the kitchen to slow down when they saw us madly juggling plates and wolfing down food to keep up.

          We didn't have the pasta texture issue that heidiepie did - ours were all pleasantly chewy. My favorites were also the spaghetti and rigatoni. I thought the pizza crust tasted like it could use a longer and slower rise - it was a bit pale but flecked with black, and had a slightly more crackery texture than I like.

          Overall, I enjoyed the food, loved the space, and think they did a good job for opening night.

          1. My wife and I were part of pane's party of six, and we agree that the overall experience was pleasant, kicked off by a nice space that strikes the right balance of warm, lively and intimate, and carried through by good, and sometimes very good, food.

            Our favorite appetizers were the griddled beef tongue and the nectarine and arugula salad -- the tongue had perfect texture and the flavor was just gamey enough, and the salad was a tasty and refreshing contrast to the richer items on our table. We agree with heidipie's observation that the crudo's flavor was too mild, although its flavor might have fared better if it wasn't surrounded by other, bolder dishes.

            The spaghetti had excellent sea flavors and seemed to be a universal favorite. On the other hand, we thought that the ricotta ravioli didn't really showcase the ricotta effectively.

            Like others at our table, we really liked the kale and crescenza pizza, which incorporated two strong flavors that complemented each other very well. We also liked the early girl tomato pizza, it was just a well-rendered version of a simple concept. The braised pork pizza was good, but some of the meat was crisp to the point of being a bit dry. We agree with everyone that the fried corn was great.

            All in all, we thought that it was a really good start!

            1 Reply
            1. re: lexmob

              Just made a reservation. Looking forward to it!

            2. I'm a fan of Pizza Margherita. Do you think the pizzaiolo would make one if I asked nice?

              2 Replies
              1. re: steve h.

                With advance notice, sure. When you make a reservation, ask to have a chef contact you about that or any other special requests.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  First meal there last night. For "opening week" an A.

                  Service was really nice, but not to the point of trying too hard. They were really interested in feedback. With respect to the earlier comment about poor pacing, this was not our experience.

                  Starter - a fish crudo (I don't recall the specific fish). 2 of us didn't care much for the particular fish chosen. The prep was fine.

                  Pizza - the pulled pork pizza. I enjoyed this. We all did. When the waiter mentioned pizza timing issues, we told him we were in no rush, to bring the starter out first, then the pizza, and then the mains - the food timing was perfect.

                  Mains - I had the braised goat, which was delicious. I also tasted the pasta (spaghetti) which was very good.

                  We shared a bread pudding for dessert. Tasty.

                  Wine. Oh the wine. The wine menu is interesting in its descriptions. Unfortunately, some of them have apparently been quite popular since the place opened. So, wine (white) choice 1 was not available. My second choice was delicious, and a nice opportunity to drink an obscure grape. Wine 2 (red) - first choice not available. Second choice not available. The restaurant took steps to make things right, and went above and beyond what they needed to do. This is how you make and keep a customer.

                  There was a lot of attention to detail, and I really appreciated it. The space is pleasant, the wall art is nice, even the bathroom sink has a nice water fixture. The lighting fixtures in the dining room were neato - made out of tea pots and cups and saucers.

                  Pricing was quite fair, and I appreciate the accessible and interesting wine list.

                  Dinner was even worth the drive "all the way" from the other side of Berkeley!

              2. So I ended up at LdE with some friends and overall enjoyed the meal. The food was definitely ahead of the service in my opinion. Below are some of the negative aspects but these are really meant to be constructive/suggestions and not malicious.

                The only slight missteps with the food were as follows: the spaghetti was a little too al dente, the wax beans were a little overcooked but the blue lake beans were perfect, and the pizza crust did need a little more salt or was a little dry/crackery for my taste, but otherwise very enjoyable. Also, the pizza did heat up nicely the next day.

                While the service was pleasant and friendly there were issues with just getting things we needed. Between courses the plates and silverware were cleared but then not replaced. The dishes would come out and we didn't have any silverware, plates, serving spoons, etc. We had to ask over and over for utensils and plates, etc. This is really something the server should take care of, but we found ourselves flagging down a busser to get the things we needed. There seemed to be a lot of people working the floor so I am surprised it was so hard to get what we needed.

                Also for a couple of dishes we asked they be made vegetarian as stated on the menu but the server kept telling us the kitchen does not like to change the dishes from the menu. We had to insist the menu suggested the changes could be made but the server made it seem like it was a deal. Which was kind of annoying.

                Again the server was very nice and really tried to make sure we had a good experience. The place just opened the past week and these are just some things that need to be ironed out.

                A few other suggestions: There didn't seem to be any special glassware for different varietals of wine. From what I could see red, white, burgundy, bordeaux were all served in the same glass. I didn't ask so maybe there were glassware choices but it would have been nice if it was offered. Also, I wasn't a fan of the towel dispenser in the bathroom, I prefer throw-away paper towels rather than a cloth towel on a roller. I know it may not be Berkeley environmental friendly but I would rather have paper towels.

                All and all the issues encountered did not outweigh the good aspects. Overall the food was well executed and delicious. There were some service hiccups but it really is to be expected considering the restaurant just opened. All things considered it was a very good value and I would not hesitate to go back. Best of luck to LdE!

                As a side note, Pane had mentioned in an earlier post that dishes were showing up on top of one another. We did not have that problem at all as all of the courses were well timed. So that issue may have been ironed out.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Scott M

                  I agree with the towel dispenser in the bathroom. I hate those things.

                2. The Bunrab guy did a commentary on Locanda da Eva along with a handful of nice pictures.

                  http://www.bunrab.com/dailyfeed/2010J...

                  They're doing pig feet? Yum! Plus points for putting it on a menu when maybe half the people would reject it out of hand -- just because it's pig feet. Gotta love it.

                  -----
                  Locanda da Eva
                  2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: fishhead

                    One might think so, but Berkeley diners seem to accept trotters, tongue, and tripe as normal food. On the other hand, guess what didn't sell and got pulled from the menu? Chicken breast.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I'm thinking that rabbit will get a lot of lovers in Berkeley, and a lot of haters too.

                      1. re: JasmineG

                        Makes sense, really. Berkeley has a strong tradition of natural eating, which includes all parts and rejects the most processed - like white breasts. Things like snout-to-tail would be considered moderately normal; doesn't Oliveto have a whole pig thing from time to time?

                        Now, if they wheeled out the rabbits (or chickens!) in a cart and you got to pick yours, that might cause a stir - or it might not. Bringing people face to face with their food decisions might be lauded, an in-restaurant omnivore's dilemma.

                        1. re: bbulkow

                          It must be all the tourists that make the buttered breast so popular at Corso.
                          http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-02-21...

                          1. re: wolfe

                            Chicken breast is exactly what a few of my friends would default to in this, and other, places. But then, they didn't eat here with me. I even get it from time to time. But the last thing a new place needs is to throw away spoiled food because not enough people are ordering it.

                            1. re: lmnopm

                              The breasts were repurposed for other dishes.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                I think we will try to get a table for tonight.
                                And Robert, can I tip my hat to you for having a late night menu !!!!!!!!!
                                That is so excellent. It drives me crazy that there is never anywhere to eat on the west coast after nine o'clock.
                                Congratulations!

                  2. Any reports on the fried rabbit special this past Sunday? It was $35 for two people with two vegetables, I wanted to go but couldn't make it.

                    1. My wife and I went for an early dinner tonight, and I would agree with everyone else's generally positive first impressions.

                      The pork trotter fritters and the spaghetti with shrimp were our favorites--a great bite to that fresh pasta! On the whole, the flavors were all nice and bold. I also enjoyed the braised pork pizza, and while I actually thought the crust was fine, I'd put it a couple notches below, say, Dopo's and Pizzaiolo's.

                      $5 glass of "Hilltop Craftsman" white was very tasty, as was the nectarine and almond bread pudding for dessert.

                      We didn't experience any service snafus--our server was prompt, efficient, and seemed eager to please. We did have some confusion, though, about the happy hour schedule--on both the restaurant's Facebook page and on the little flyer they gave us with the check, it says they have two happy hours, one from 5:00 to 6:00 and another from 10 to 12. We went early today hoping to take advantage of that, but then were told that they're only doing the late night happy hour this week. Don't know if maybe that's still in flux.

                      I'd probably still put Locanda Da Eva a notch below Pizzaiolo or Dopo (who have somewhat similar menus) overall, but that's based on just one meal, and this is only the restaurant's second week now--there's definitely the potential to reach that level. On the other hand, for whatever it's worth, I thought the food was much better than anything I've had at Marzano.

                      -----
                      Pizzaiolo
                      5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                      Dopo
                      4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                      Marzano
                      4214 Park Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94602

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: abstractpoet

                        The happy hours are supposed to be both 5-6 and 10-midnight. Sorry about the confusion.

                      2. Mad props to Robert for doing this. I am reminded of the French film critics who went behind the camera and gave us the brilliant New Wave.

                        I pretty much concur with other comments made here: nice space, service well-meaning and friendly but a bit muddled, appetizers and pasta very good (didn't try the pizza), mains a bit spare (I know this is the Italian style, but I don't care for it there either), desserts not particularly tempting. I also quite enjoyed reading the wine list (available in full online) and like the wine policy -- this is pretty much what I'd do if given the chance, though it may be commercially risky.

                        I've eaten at all of the predecessors at this location and I think this is already the best to date, with a lot of potential for growth. I really hope it all works out.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                          The wine policy is quite appealing. I bring my own at least half the time when dining out, and don't expect this is a place I would do so.

                        2. I stopped back in last night for a quick dinner with my mom, and the pizza crust was a lot better, the texture and flavor were right this time. We had a different version of the shrimp spaghetti (with cured tuna heart this time) -- the sauce and flavoring was still great, but the pasta was a little too al dente for both of us.

                          We sat in the back room this time, and it was so nice that we could hear each other clearly even despite other chatty tables and music playing.

                          1. 2 of us went there last night. We had the trotters, tongue , pasta dish with tripe and 1 w/chicken and prok ragu. Everything was very good as most pp indicated. It reminds me of a more rustic Mazzine (sp?) Service was a little spotty, even tho there seem to be alot of servers around. Wine list prices was definitely very reasonable.

                            Someone had written about not having butter, to go with the bread, which I find a little odd. It would be nice to have. As to charging for the olive oil, I can understand it, if it's a much more expensive oil. But how about just having some "nice" olive oil and balsamic vinegar that is complimentary.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Dawgmommy

                              I agree that there needs to be some sort of complimentary olive oil with bread or at the very least complimentary butter. I think to charge for something that most expect will be free would be a turnoff even if it's of high quality.

                              1. re: Scott M

                                Robert said he'd prefer not to offer olive oil at all because it's not served with bread in Italy. I guess you're right, though, that one shouldn't annoy the customers. Personally, I love bread and butter but I was happy to skip the whole thing and save the calories.

                                1. re: Glencora

                                  I get that he wants to be authentic, BUT, he's now also a business owner. I doubt that Bay Area foodies would raise up in horror if he would offer complenmentary house olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Just bread by itself can be dry.

                            2. I was there last night, too. Started with the tongue, trotters, and the crudo of yellow tail jack. I was surprised how much I liked the texture of the tongue. The trotters were overwhelmed by the crust, we thought, but we all liked the corn and pepper salsa and also enjoyed the fennel salad with the crudo. I'd say the accompaniments were a highpoint of the meal.

                              The pasta-eater wouldn't share, so I'll have to go back for that and for the pizza. The rest of us had the saltimbocca with a side of potatoes and the cannelini (recommended by the server). One person tired of the food part way through; the other two loved it -- that's a matter of personal taste. We did all agree that the chocolate peanut butter cookie sandwiches we had to finish were delicious, wonderfully bitter as advertised, but they were way too frozen and difficult to hold with our spoons while sawing at them with our knives. Easy problem to fix, though.

                              Our server was friendly and gracious. As someone else mentioned, there was a lot of staff around, but all ran smoothly.

                              One quibble: As a party of five we were seated at the very back of the back room with a two top pushed up to a four top. Something about sticking the tables together, especially since they have no tablecloths was off-putting, plus we felt stuck in the back, though we'd reserved pretty far ahead. I was actually glad my son had opted out and that we were able to move forward.

                              Overall, a very pleasant experience.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: Glencora

                                I was also there on Tuesday evening. They graciously let the four of us switch to a booth - my apologies to the waitperson who's table we abandoned.

                                We enjoyed the decor and tried to remember which of us frequented the original Casa da Eva. Bertola's 50 cent well drinks is a faint blur.

                                Service and pacing were fine. Noise level was perfect for conversation.

                                The arugula salad with nectarines and the three bean salad were outstanding appetizers.
                                Spaghetti with white shrimp was favored by our group over the ricotta ravioli.
                                The rock cod was not as satisfying (liberally salted, slightly overcooked). The meatballs were tender and delicious with the warning that prosciuuto lended to the saltiness of this entree. Our party was especially sensitive to salt. Side veggies of potatoes and romano beans will definitely be revisited next time.

                                A pleasurable dining experience.
                                We look forward to coming for late nite snacks and cocktails.

                                1. re: bunnysitter

                                  Susan and I stopped here for an early dinner after the ballgame tonight. We arrived around 5:30 and the place was empty, but filled up as we ate.

                                  We weren't drinking much, because we were driving, but since we thought it was happy hour we ordered cocktails. Well, maybe not, as we were charged full price. But then again, we PAID for the cocktails after 6pm...or maybe the specialty ones don't count. I didn't argue about it, mainly because prices seemed very reasonable as it was...She had the old-fashioned; I the manhattan. Both were excellent.

                                  The highlights to me were the arugula salad mentioned above and the meatballs. Oh, and the bread pudding for dessert. Those nectarines were out of this world, so good that we asked the server where they came from (Frog Hollow Farm). We also had the appetizer special, a fresh ricotta with a tomato compote. Very light and delicious cheese. I had the penne pasta with meat ragu.....penne were very good but the dish was a little heavy on the salt and not heavy enough on the sauce. I'll let Susan fill in; its late and I'm exhausted after a day sitting in the sun watching her Giants beat my Cubbies...

                                  BTW, as we were getting ready to pay the bill, who should walk in but another group of chowhounds well-known to us. It was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise to see them, as we don't live in the SF area and don't see many of you great Bay Area hounds often. I'll keep you anonymous for now out of respect for your privacy, but if you want to post I would be interested in hearing your opinions of your meal!

                                  1. re: janetofreno

                                    We weren’t part of the group you met. However, since you want other hounds’ opinions, here’s ours. Last night, we had pork loin saltimbocca with La Quercia prosciutto, white wine, and peperonata. We chose farro with cucumbers, parsley, mint, yogurt, and roasted eggplant as our vegetable.

                                    In my opinion, there was too much sodium. I had a couple bites, but it was too salty. The peperonata was also too salty as well as the farro mix. My wife said it was salty, but she liked it enough to have several more bites. She still left half her portion unfinished.

                                    I explained the situation to our server. She was polite, told us she would pass our comments along to the chef, and comped half the meal. In my opinion, there needs to be a significant reduction in salt.

                                    1. re: janetofreno

                                      I believe it was rigatoni, not penne, but regardless, I am not sure that it was so much that it was light on sauce ; I prefer that style of saucing generally (Italian)...I thought it was more that the combination of flavors was rather one-note (as well as being a little too heavy on the salt)...part of that might have been because the flavor profiles were similar to some of those in the meatballs. The pasta was cooked perfectly, however (to my taste).

                                      Will add more later. Was even thinking of starting a new thread because nothing in my experience would have led me to think this was a brand new place had I not known it was. No opening night miscues here.

                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                        yes, I think it was rigatoni...posted late. Agreed that the flavor combo was very similar to the meatballs...probably not a good combo as you said.; the same pasta might have tasted better if not combined iwth the meatballs (since we were sharing). Regardless, there is a tendency to oversalt. And I agree, the service was just fine.

                                        1. re: janetofreno

                                          interestingly, though, someone mentioned earlier in the thread that they were warned there was pork in the meatballs that tended to be salty. Our server did mention there was pork in the meatballs, but without further explanation, so I figured she was just telling us in case we had religious or allergy reasons not to eat it (since it isn't mentioned on the menu). Moreover, I didn't think the meatballs were salty. In fact, I thought they were darn near perfect: light, flavorful, and in a lovely broth with a hint of something deliciously addictive I couldn't quite put a finger on, which I assume was the advertised sumac....but then, I am a sucker for good meatballs. I'd order them again, but probably not the rigatoni.

                                      2. re: janetofreno

                                        Again I was found out. Yes, I am getting my notes together and will post my opinion on the meal which we all loved. Somehow this did link to Janetinreno post.

                                        Only one request for the staff to think about now. I love it that we could order combination plate of the vegetable but maybe they offer a smaller combination plate of appetizers so that if we arrive with a small group we could order more of a sample like a plate of half orders. I love all of them but if we were fewer I would have missed tasting them all.

                                        I asked our server Jamie if Robert was in but we missed him. Would have like to have met him since I have been enjoying his post for year. I did ask Jamie if Robert looked his picture on Chowhound. An answer I already knew was no since one of company had seen him last week. Maybe next time we can meet.

                                        I knew that I would have out myself since I knew Susan would out me sooner or later.

                                        Setting, service, pricing and most important the food were great. Good work to all.

                                        1. re: janetofreno

                                          Happy hour at any bar or restaurant is supposed to be based on when you order. If you're running a tab, all pre-cutoff drinks should be HH price. If you point out a billing error it should be corrected with an apology.

                                        2. re: bunnysitter

                                          @bunnysitter: a side comment... I remember Bertola's :) ... wasn't it at the corner where Shattuck and Telegraph came together...

                                          1. re: Dawgmommy

                                            Yes. Home of the 50 cent well drink, among other miracles.

                                      3. For those that have been is this restaurant not for people that prefer less salty food? I generally don't have issues with the saltiness of restaurant food, but I am not a salt fiend. We have reservations for Saturday with my parents who are also not salt fiends and now I am getting worried it may not be the right choice. Of course ifnding an alternative at this late date may be tricky...

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: jsaimd

                                          Where do you typically eat that you consider acceptable for salt level?

                                          1. re: bbulkow

                                            I honestly usually don't have an issue, but occasionally come across a dish i find too salty, but my dining companions do not. When I hear multiple chowhounds say things were salty i worry. We are not on a reduced-salt diet, so if it really is on par with other restaurants, i don't think it will be an issue.

                                            1. re: jsaimd

                                              We've eaten here a few times and not had an issue yet with salt.
                                              I tend to be sensitive as my mother smoked heavily and over salted everything.

                                        2. Nice review in the East Bay Express today
                                          http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/top...

                                          They assigned the better writer to it too. I shudder to think what that review might have looked like otherwise.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: rworange

                                            He described radicchio as "snarky", used "yummy" twice, and repeatedly misspelled Robert's name...there's someone out there who writes even worse?

                                            1. re: rworange

                                              Interesting that that he did not like the pizza. I too found it to be one of the weaker items on the menu and I was hoping to see it improve since my last visit. I also wish they would put a margherita pizza on the menu that would have the option of being topped with a choice of ingredients such as wild arugula, house-made lardo, pork/fennel sausage, etc. Often I find myself wanting a simple red sauce pizza with a topping or two which I have not seen available here.

                                              1. re: Scott M

                                                We do our best to accommodate special requests with advance notice, though the kitchen doesn't necessarily have any red sauce in the mise en place. This time of year, we're more likely to use fresh tomatoes.

                                                1. re: Scott M

                                                  Call Domino's? I don't mean to be snarky (or as snarky as raddichio), but what you're describing isn't what I see at most high-end restaurants that happen to serve pizza--for the most part, it's not a your way, right away system, it's seasonally-driven, chef-selected combinations.

                                                  1. re: pane

                                                    Maybe you should check out the menus at A16, Pizzaiolo, Pizzeria Delfina, Gialina or Marzano once in a while.

                                                    -----
                                                    Pizzaiolo
                                                    5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                                                    A16
                                                    2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                                    1. re: Scott M

                                                      We went to Locanda da Eva last night for the first time. The restaurant has a very warm homey feel. Nice decorations, nice art and beautiful light fixtures. Overall I thought it was a great experience and will be going back.

                                                      Here is what we ate:

                                                      Great bread and olive oil

                                                      Little gem salad with cherry tomatoes and bottarga: excellent with a creamy dressing. The bottarga added a satisfying savory counterpoint to the creamy dressing and crunchy greens.

                                                      Calamari with garbanzos: very tasty

                                                      Potato croquettes: very good

                                                      Pork trotter fritters: Rich porky flavor encased in a crunchy shell. Was a winner.

                                                      Pizza with mushrooms. Crispy thin crust with very rich mushroomy topping. I am picky about pizza and I thought this was one of the better ones in the bay area: perhaps not as perfect as Oenotri but better than Pizzaiolo.

                                                      -----
                                                      Pizzaiolo
                                                      5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                                                      Oenotri
                                                      1425 1st St, Napa, CA 94559