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Quince, Cotogna, Flour+Water? [San Francisco]

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Hi SF Hounds. Will be visiting your fair city in a few weeks and after perusing the board, have a few more questions.

Has anyone been to Quince recently? I read the negative review from last year and I also noticed that Bauer of the Chronicle gave a very positive review in April of this year. Is he dependable? If one were to go to Quince, would one order the tasting menu or the 4 course dinner?

Does Cotogna have a bar area/walk-in policy? (No, I couldn't get reservations).

What is Flour+Water's waiting time like after 9PM? Has anyone tried the pasta tasting?

Trying to choose between the three for one evening and am having a difficult time deciding. Thanks for your help!

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  1. Cotogna and Flour + Water have similar rustic Cal-Italian menus. Quince is much fancier French-Italian, like Acquerello.

    1. Cotogna is great but hard to get into - last time I walked in was on a Tuesday at 9:30pm and I squeezed into the last seat at the bar. I only make it to Quince about once a year so it's been a whilt, but it's always fabulous.

      1. I had the Flour + Water pasta tasting a few months ago, and it was pretty kickass. Don't know anything about the 9pm wait, though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dunstable

          I don't know what the wait time would be like 9 pm on a weekday. But on a weekend, it's just as long at 9 pm as when it first opens (about an hour and a half). I have a feeling if you walked in at 9 pm you'd actually end on a small risk that they would not be able to take you at all.

          We usually either go half an hour before they first open or around 7. If it's at 7, we put our names down, walk to Homestead (small neighborhood bar) a few blocks away, wait an hour, and walk back. It's an unpleasant to wait inside flour + water because it is super super crowded in the front part of the restaurant.

          Agree that the pasta tasting menu is awesome and it's what they do best anyway (so it's not like you are missing out on the key dishes by going that route).

        2. Thanks for your replies. I've looked at their menus online and they all have something that appeals to me... Seems like I need to show up early to be sure to get a table/seat at the bar, which I am not sure will be possible. If I go the Quince route, would you recommend the tasting menu or the 4 course dinner?

          2 Replies
          1. re: MrSlippery

            Following up on walk-ins at Cotogna, if you are by yourself, of course it is easier. You might try making reservations later than you might want, and walk in earlier and tell them you had a later reservation but was wondering if they could squeeze you in. Who knows, they may try a bit harder. I tried that approach once and only waited 15 minutes when I walked in at 8pm (of course drawing conclusions based on a sample size of one is always dangerous). It is also easier if you go there for lunch. I went one weekday at about 12:30 and had most of the bar to myself, and the lunch offerings were as good as the dinner offerings.

            1. re: MrSlippery

              4 course menu -- i thought the quince tasting menu was too much like every other tasting menu i've ever had.

              you also might try asking them to put together a menu of just pastas for you. about 1.5 years ago, quince was a la carte, and i would go and order 3 or 4 pasta dishes for dinner. it was fantastic. don't know if they would agree to do this, but it would be worth a try.

              the food at all 3 are great. getting into cotogna and flour+water can be a huge pain, so it might become a question of how much patience you have.

              farina doesn't get much love on the board, but it is another place i'd suggest. easy to walk in to, probably because it costs 40% more than everywhere else.