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Where for Italain? Not too fancy, delicious, not too loud...

I will have several visitors in town this week for a big birthday.

Most nights we'll be doing fancy and/or celebratory things, but on Thursday there will be just (!!) 7 or 8 of us going out for dinner, including my parents.

I'd like something

-- not in North Beach

-- relatively quiet, or at least not noisy

-- accomodates a table for 7 or 8

-- not one of my regulars (which tend to be Pane e Vino, La Cicca, Sausage Factory, Jackson Fillmore, A16, SPQR)

-- straightforward food, preferably southern, nothing too fancy; several in the party have plainer tastes. So good fresh pastas, maybe a nice chicken parmigiana on the menu

I'm considering the following places right now, in this order

-- Capannina

-- Poesia (walking distance to my house, but have not tried)

-- Perbacco (which I know and love)

-- Delfina

nyone have a strong preference or alternative?

(I'd be interested in Flour+Water but it sounds like a scene and probably too tough to reserve)

Thanks!

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  1. Well,
    Perbacco is my favorite Italian outside Italy. Delfina is Number 2. Good luck getting a table for 8 at Delfina less than a week in advance.

    Right now, I'm liking Ristorante Milano. http://www.milanosf.com/menu.html Very neighborhood-y, but really quite nice. And also Amarena http://www.amarenarestaurant.com/inde... in terms of more 'traditional' home-made pasta type Italian places.

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    Perbacco
    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

    Ristorante Milano
    1448 Pacific, San Francisco, CA 94109

    Amarena Restaurant
    2162 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

    9 Replies
    1. re: whiner

      I love Perbacco, but actually have only eaten there (twice) for their Italian Passover Seders.
      It's a *little* fancier feel than I'm after, but I might do it anyway, if they have a table.

      Delifna, yes, I know it's tough to get a table, and to be honest, it's not my favorite. But there are some visitors in the party that I think would like to try it; and so if there's a table I may do it.

      The menus at Milano and amarena are wrong for this group. I'd want to see at least one Parmigiana, Marsala, Milanese, or Picata on the menu.

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      Perbacco
      230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      1. re: pauliface

        Hmm. Those dishes are seriously out of favor in real Italian restaurants.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Except in NYC, home of the great Italian-American food many of us crave. I got at least five recs on the Manhattan board, including Torrisi Italian Specialties which is apparently reinventing the genre.

          My favorite eggplant parmesan here is the foccacia at Mario's Bohemian Cigar store, which I haven't had in far too long. Il Borgo usually satisfies the same urge, but not sure it's fancy enough for what you're describing.

          But it wouldn't be the first time northerners looked down on southerners.

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          Il Borgo
          500 Fell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

          1. re: Windy

            By "Italian restaurants" I meant not Italian-American, which can be great but I don't know anyplace around here that is.

            Menupages finds over 100 restaurants in SF that serve veal or whatever piccata.

            1. re: Windy

              Actually I said I do NOT want fancy.

              Il Borgo looks kind of perfect, menu-wise.
              Never heard of it.

              Is it good? With that menu, all it has to do is be better than The Sausage Factory and I'm so there...

              pauli

              1. re: pauliface

                Il Borgo was very trendy on chowhound several years ago -- there were even a couple of chowhound dinners. Haven't heard much about it since: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3090...

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                Il Borgo
                500 Fell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                1. re: pauliface

                  Oh, absolutely better than Sausage Factory. chaddict famously described it as Lady and The Tramp decor, which always make me happy.

                  Everyone I've gone there with has loved it. The pastas are delicious. Cash only.

              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                >> "Hmm. Those dishes are seriously out of favor in real Italian restaurants."

                Which is why I so often wind up at The Sausage Factory.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. Poesia is delightful. I've seen large groups there.

              1. If you were willing to reconsider North Beach, Da Flora might work.

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                Da Flora
                701 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                1. Is Acquerello not southern enough? It meets all your other criteria.

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

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bbulkow

                    Acquerello's so not southern it verges on French, and it's as fancy as Italian food gets in SF.

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

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I love love love Acquarello, but it's way too fancy and expensive for this event.

                      1. re: pauliface

                        Yeah, I see the not-fancy in the header now.
                        Perhaps Acquerello's north-western italy. VERY western.

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