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Two of four

I know this isn't an apples to apples comparison, but if you were from out of town and likely to make it to SF about once a decade, which two would you choose of the following:

BoDeGa Bistro
Cotonia
Ciccia
Aziza

As an added input, we already have Manresa, Saison, Adesso/Dopo, and Swan's Oyster Depot (for old times' sake) on our itinerary.

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  1. I would go to La Cicca and Aziza just for the uniqueness factor.

    1. Skip Bodega Bistro. Between Cotogna, La Ciccia, and Aziza, I'd vote Aziza and Cotogna, but all three are really great.

      1. Cotogna and La Ciccia, personally. Aziza's gone a bit Michelin-y for my taste.

        1. Aziza stands out amongst the rest, so that's the easy pick.

          I'd then go to La Ciccia after swapping Dopo for Cotogna. We're in spring now, and the online menu at Cotogna is looking a lot more interesting than the one at Dopo. It's true that you'd be hard pressed to find a place with as diverse a salumi selection at Dopo's sister place Adesso.

          I nixed Bodega Bistro because, other than Banh Mi, Vietnamese doesn't excite me as much as Thai or Burmese.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hyperbowler

            On Adesso's current sample menu I count 38 salumi plus seven pâtés. You'd be hard pressed to find that selection at any three other places.

            Dopo and Cotogna are my two favorites of that thriving local school of casual pizza- / pasta-centric Cal-italian. They're more like each other than either is like La Ciccia.

          2. I'd pick Aziza and La Ciccia. I like Cotogna but I think La Ciccia would be a much more memorable experience for someone from out of town. Maybe check out the menus for La Ciccia and Cotogna and see which one seems more interesting to you.

            1. I agree with the La Ciccia and Aziza recommendations. However, I'd save myself a trip to Los Gatos by dumping Manresa for Commis in Oakland, The owner/chef is a Manresa alum who has created a far better restaurant (IMHO).

              2 Replies
              1. re: Rapini

                Thank you (and everyone else - maybe I didn't get two of four, but at even three of four is helpful!) - I've heard many good things about Commis, but I think it'll have to wait until the next trip. A trip to the hanging gardens of Los Gatos is set in stone.

              2. the cooking at Dopo doesn't have nearly the finesse and subtlety of several of your other nominees in the Mediterranean/cali-italian vein. [similar menu items with Cotogna, but falls short in several respects]. Adesso is a happy hour/salumi gastro pub, as you probably know, and probably isn't worth the trip except for happy hour fanaticos.

                3 Replies
                1. re: moto

                  The one edge Cotogna has is the wood oven, great place but I don't think the cooking's any better than Dopo's. Cotogna is a side project for Quince's chef Michael Tusk, Dopo's the flagship for its chef Jon Smulewitz.

                  The early happy hour at Adesso isn't what it was and it's no longer a reason to make a special trip. The late one's still fun.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    have tried Dopo 3-4x and for our tastes getting one course with too much oil or salt throws the whole meal off, whoever the cook happened to be, and as much as the wine we brought ourselves helped smooth things through. we prefer SPQR to Cotogna (no pizza there of course), or Pizzaiolo.

                    1. re: moto

                      Pizzaiolo's food is first-rate, only reason it's not on my "A" list is that sometimes the music's too loud.

                      SPQR's in a totally different school of Cal-Italian.