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Perbacco or Delfina?

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My sister and I will be in SF for the first time in mid-October for the Nike Women's Marathon. We are looking to dine at an Italian restaurant the evening before the race. A good friend of mine who used to live in SF recommended Delina to me but after browsing the Chowhound discussions, Perbacco seems to be a good choice as well.

Can anyone provide me with opinions/suggestions of which to pick? What are some of the main differences between the two?

We'd also be open to checking out other Italian restaurants as well. We will be staying at a hotel in Union Square but we are willing to travel.

Thanks for your help!

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Perbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

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  1. Both are excellent! Perbacco is larger, located in the financial district and, thus, kind of "businessy", a tad more formal and a larger menu. Delfina is in a fun neighborhood in the Mission, smaller and, probably, more difficult to get into. If you want to walk to the restaurant, Perbacco is the choice but it's easy to get to Delfina by cab, muni or BART. A couple of other Italian restaurants to consider are SPQR, Incanto, A16.

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    Perbacco
    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    A16
    2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

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

    SPQR
    1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

    1. Perbacco is a good choice especially if you take an indirect route walking. Go up Powell Street to California Street and return the same way. Excellent pre-race practice.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wolfe

        Please note that wolfe is teasing you -- going up Powell to California and down would most likely render you unable to run a marathon (those steep downhills are killers for the quads).

        I'd note that neither Delfina nor Perbacco is an Italian-American style pasta joint, if that's what you're thinking of when you want "Italian" before a marathon.

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        Perbacco
        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

      2. You can't go wrong with either. I would check out the menus of each place on the web and see what appeals to you more.

        Perbacco does an excellent job with braised & stewed meats, either served as an entree or in their pasta sauces/fillings. As noted above, Perbacco is a larger, more "downtown" place.

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        Perbacco
        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

        1. One thing to consider is that the pasta dishes at Perbacco seem heavier and richer than the pasta dishes at Delfina. Perbacco looks great and I can't wait to try it in a few weeks, but it doesn't look like the kind of meal that would sit to well with me during the marathon the next morning. I might consider Perbacco for a post race meal to replenish your carb stores and do something a little lighter the night before.

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          Perbacco
          230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

          1. Delfina is a great resto. As has been said, it's more of a neighborhood-y environment.
            Perbacco is a great resto, specializing in northern italian dishes. Not much by way of tomato sauces here. It's in the financial district, and as such, is more formal. I think it's outrageously brilliant food. And unique in the US for bringing over as close to the authentic of Italy as it gets.

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            Perbacco
            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

            1. Agreed - if you're looking to carbo-load before a marathon you miht want to consider something more like Tommaso's; Perbacco and Delfina are both fantastic (I personally prefer Delfina), but at both, the pasta there is fresh, homemade, delicious, and comes in tiny, pricey portions

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              Perbacco
              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

              1. Not to muddy the water, but another good choice would be Barbacco, their sister restsursnt next door to Perbacco. The atmosphere is a bit more casual, but the pasta is excellent as is the beet salad if it's on the menu. Prices are a bit lower, too.

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                Perbacco
                230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                Barbacco
                230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                1. Here's an old topic on carbo-loading:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/316756