Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Aug 29, 2010 01:42 PM

Casual North Beach Italian

We are taking our twenty-something son and his girlfriend to San Francisco and have decided on the North Beach Italian neighborhood for simple fare. He prefers gnocchi and pizza. The rest of us are pasta-holics.

What are the preferences among the hounds, considering the following list. I realize that some of the above may not be strictly in North Beach; but that's the atmosphere I am looking for:

North Beach
Antica Trattoria
Scala’s Bistro
Fino Bar
Ristorante Milano
Caffe Delucchi
Trattoria Pinocchio
Trattoria Contadina
Caffe Maccaroni


Antica Trattoria
2400 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Frascati Restaurant
1901 Hyde Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Trattoria Contadina
1800 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Ristorante Milano
1448 Pacific, San Francisco, CA 94109

Trattoria Pinocchio
401 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Caffe Restaurant
1854 Euclid Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Robert L likes Antica and that would be good enough for me.

    But why are you limiting yourself to the tourist district?

    Most residents here don't eat down there much, if at all. It's kind of a non-stop frat party.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bbulkow

      Antica Trattoria is going a away in a couple of months.

      Agree with the reservations about North Beach. The SF Chronicle's Top 100 Restaurants for 2010 includes 21 Italian places. Not a single one is in North Beach and that's hardly a coincidence.

      Of the restaurants on the list, Frascati has gotten some good reviews, but it's a Mediterranean place on Russian Hill so not exactly "casual North Beach Italian." But it is on the Top 100 list.

      1. re: bbulkow

        Another vote for Antica...a wonderful neighborhood resto with great food and affordable prices.
        I'm very saddened to hear that it's being sold. I've enjoyed a lotta great meals there and celebrations with friends.

      2. We recently had an excellent meal at Trattoria Pinocchio when we found ourselves in the neighborhood unexpectedly. The pastas were delicious and surpisingly so was the steak that one of our party ordered.

        Also have eaten recently at Scala's and it was mediocre at best. I had a piece of salmon that was clearly not fresh but the salads were ok.

        Trattoria Pinocchio
        401 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

        1. Scala's isn't a bad restaurant, but it's in a hotel on Union Square so the atmosphere is more upscale tourist than local homestyle Italian. I have not eaten at Fino, but it gives off a similar vibe.

          There's a lot of great italian outside of North Beach. I love Perbacco and Bella Trattoria, neither of which is in North Beach. But you are tourists, so you're going to be in North Beach at some point. While there, you might as well eat well. Here are some suggestions:

          Ideale Ristorante (great homemade pasta, don't know if they have pizza)
          Sotto Mare (only if you are in the mood for seafood and nothing but)
          Tony's (great pizza, not sure about other stuff)
          Tomasso's (old, family-owned, tons of charm, huge pizzas out of a wood-fired pizza and plenty of other homestyle dishes)
          Da Flora (a little off the beaten path with admittedly quirky owners, but I loved the food there)

          230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

          1315 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

          Da Flora
          701 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

          Sotto Mare
          552 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133

          1. I had a lovely little pizza at Cinecitta, and that's a very casual place.

            663 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133

            1. I'm a fan of Ideale.

              1315 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

              1 Reply
              1. re: steve h.

                Me too. Really lovely pastas, many using homemade noodles, and delicate, flavorful sauces. And, unlike many NB restaurants, charmingly quiet.