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Another shout out for La Ciccia, and Range hits the spot too [San Francisco]

This probably doesn't need to be said once more on Chowhound, but if anybody is procrastinating about going to La Ciccia, just beat a path to their door. It's truly flavorful food, prepared with a lot of love and panache, and it was a pleasure to dine there. My friends were equally wowed and happy. For the record, we ate olives, flatbread, octupus, a kind of ceasar salad with anchovies, fregola with sea urchin, a spaghetti with squid ink, wild prawns, sea bass and a trio of sorbetti. We split everything 3 ways, family style, no problem. We drank a lightweight red Sonazzos (Cannonau), a suggestion from the waiter, that was great fun. I was least taken with the salad and the sea bass (which was watery), but I could eat those pastas forever. Marvelous.

Range is a very solid restaurant with a very appealing, fairly priced wine list. Their trout entree actually bested La Ciccia. I liked the modestly sized food portions. Everything is very wll balanced.

Only disappointments of the trip was an early lunch at Bocadillo. Nothing on the lunch menu truly appealed to me (I don't eat breakfast) and I probably should have just left. As it was, I was bewildered by lackluster chorizo between way too much dry bread, smeared with an equally dry walnut paste that lacked any reason for being there. Also puzzling was the salad piled onto the same plate, dressed in run-of-the-mill Asian flavored stuff. Patatas bravas were more like Shake'n'Bake, and the dipping with them, advertised as Romesco, had zero when it came to the signature flavors of a true Romesco (ground almonds, smoked pimento) and instead came perilously close to Russian dressing mayo. Everything struck me as closer to coffee shop food than a bridge to Spain.

Impromptu meals on the go, eaten out of necessity, kept landing me in places where portions were supersized and grease/sugar factor was hight. I assume SF Chowhounders know how to avoid these places. I'd sooner just forget those meals!

Thanks for previous posts and recommendations on SF eating....

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  1. Thanks for the report!

    I'm not terribly surprised about Bocadillo. It wouldn't have been a recommendation of mine. It's also a little shocking about "lackluster chorizo". I've started to consider that if a place seems sketchy, get the chorizo, because it's so easy around here to source killer chorizo and the amount of prep in-restaurant is minimal. If you can't do chorizo well, you're just not trying.

    1. Great to have an update on La Ciccia. I'm starting to plan our spring trip (little later this year) and have shortlisted Frascati, Sunday Supper at Cotogna, NOPA, SPQR, and La Ciccia for Italian options this time. Now to narrow it down to three, tops!

      1 Reply
      1. Glad to see this bump! A friend and I are meeting in SF next weekend (Asian dumpling cooking class) and have a res here Sat. PM I can tell that deciding on only enough food for two may be a challenge :)

        1. Great food but the noisiest restaurant I have ever eaten -on Friday at 6pm, just so others know what to expect.

          Even noisier than Perbacco. We could not hear the server nor she us without raising our voices high.

          The great food was not the worth our discomfort in not being able to converse easily during the evening.

          I hope management will someday work on this problem. and provide some sound baffling from a pro acoustics team. 5 Bells!

          7 Replies
          1. re: stanbee

            are you referring to la Ciccia re. the high noise level ? though we enjoyed the food there very much, the factors that have limited us to a single visit are the difficulty in getting reservations without planning fairly far in advance, and the just-acceptable level of comfort eating there. they've been successful with what they're doing for years now, so it's not likely they'll be investing heavily in an acoustic re-design if they're serving at or close to capacity now.

            1. re: stanbee

              Apparently they are closed this week for some renovations, including soundproofing:

              http://sf.eater.com/archives/2013/03/...

              1. re: mdougherty

                OMG, they BETTER be open by Saturday :) Don't make me faint!

                1. re: mdougherty

                  Anyone been there recently and can comment on the noise level? I've got a couple of guests who demand fairly quiet environments for a business dinner. I'm thinking Acquerello, but I know that they've been ok with certain tables at Zuni's.

                  1. re: W42

                    It's been very noisy every time I've been there. We mostly signed rather than talked. I would not do a business meeting there nor take a hard of hearing person that does not sign.

                  1. re: stanbee

                    I realize this is an outdated thread but when I went to La Ciccia in early March with a party of 3, we were seated at the last table in the back of the restaurant, a round one. Although admittedly near some of the service area, the 3 of us had no trouble conversing in a normal tone of voice, and no trouble hearing or being heard by the server. Without exaggeration, I would describe the 3 of us as having low-pitched voices.

                    It would be great to have an update about whether the renovation resulted in noise abatement, but if you have any concerns about noise, but want the food, try requesting that table (if it still exists!) Also, we ate at 8.30, so that might help too.

                    I am not sure I'd pick La Ciccia for a business meeting. The food is so good it is distracting. We kept interrupting our own conversation to comment on our dishes and share.