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Looking for good Italian, medium priced, Union Square or North Beach

In town for an overnight and would love some really good hearty Italian. We are staying in Union
Square, but are willing to wonder

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  1. Within a block or two of Union Square are Scala's Bistro (on Powell north of Union Square) and Fino (on Post west of Union Square). The former is a large bustling place and the latter is smaller & quieter.

    You can go to the upper right hand corner of this page and do a search for North Beach. You will find many prior posts about Italian restaurants there. Ideale (on Grant north of Broadway) is well-regarded.

    Here is a recent thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/739966

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    Ideale
    1315 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

    Scala's Bistro
    432 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102

    4 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      Neither North Beach nor Union Square, but good, medium priced and about midway twixt the two: Perbacco, or, somewhat less pricey, Barbacco.

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      Perbacco
      230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      Barbacco
      230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

        We spent a little over $400 on dinner for four at Perbacco earlier this week. The food was excellent and the service impeccable, but we might have enjoyed Barbacco just as much, for less money.

        1. re: DavidT

          Bump for this. Hearty, traditional dishes for a pocket friendly price.

        1. re: nocharge

          Nice reviews of some of my favorites by one of my favorites, although with the exception of Perbacco, not remotely North Beach or Union Square. Which is something the OP should note: Neither of those neighborhoods are go-to places for SF's best Italian fare. My best advice would be to consider BART, Muni or cab to La Cicca, Delfina (I agree with Bitman, the pizzeria is far more enjoyable than the restaurant) or any of the others on his long list. La Ciccia is a bit of a slog from downtown but hugely worth it compared to anything in NB or Union Square.

          I'd also note that Bittman considers Perbacco in the $50/person range, which is more in line with my experience. Not difficult to run it up to $100 per as noted above, but a fine meal, with wine and tip, can be had for substantially below that. That's well within the "medium-priced" category requested, don't you think?

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

          Perbacco
          230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

          1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

            Yes, given that Perbacco's main courses are in the 20-26 dollar range, there is a good argument to be made that they are "medium-priced" by San Francisco standards.

            1. re: nocharge

              I think it's more that the food prices at Barbacco are surprisingly low. Perbacco's only slightly more expensive than La Ciccia. You want expensive, look at Acquerello and Quince (which both sort of straddle the French-Italian border).

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

              Perbacco
              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

              Acquerello Restaurant
              1722 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109

              Barbacco
              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

            2. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

              My wife and I went to Delfina's pizzeria last year. It was immensely crowded with a line and a one-hour wait. I was particularly impressed with the staff and the high quality of the service. Plus, the food was just fantastic.

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

              1. re: Tripeler

                Is the line and wait due to no reservations or can we make reservations for three ahead of time?

                1. re: pienorder

                  They don't take reservations. You put your name on the list when you arrive. I usually go to the California/Fillmore location, so I can't speak for the Mission. I have never waited anything close to an hour, more like 10 - 15 minutes, but if you go at a really popular time or with a large party you may have to wait longer.

          2. You've gotten some excellent suggestions, but I just want to clarify what you meant by "hearty Italian" and "medium priced." When you say "hearty Italian" it sounds to me like you're looking for traditional Italian-American dishes with lots of red sauce and cheese; the places that have been recommended are more authentic regional Italian that while excellent might not be what you had in mind. Also, medium-priced means different things to different people -- including the people who are making the recommendations.

            1. I got a referral also to e tutto qua. Any feedback?

              1. I had a pleasant lunch at 54 Mint yesterday. My dining companion had the prix fixe, which was a very good value priced at $15 for a starter and main.

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                54 Mint
                54 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103