Charming Italian for 20th Anniv. Allegro Romano, Delfina, or Seven Hills?
Hi, We're CT foodies and will be in San Francisco in a couple of weeks to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. We would like to find a nice Italian restaurant. We considered Acquerello but it is more than we want to spend especially after four nights in Napa Valley. Any comments on these three places or suggestions for another restaurant? Drinks before and maybe a place with a live singer after would be welcomed suggestions as well. Thank you!!
Since I have never heard of Seven Hills or Allegro and hold Delfina in the highest esteem as in our view the best in the city, I think this choice is a slam dunk for Delfina. We often go there on New Years Eve and for occasions and to take out of town visitors. It is always dead on fine deceptively simple perfect fish or meat or pastas. You can celebrate with the Bellini of the season. The place is relaxed and informal and IMHO the epitome of SF cuisine. So much so, that i am sure someone else will chime in and complain if is not as good as it used to be. Ignore them. It is always good.
As far as a singer...lots of action near by in the Mission but you will have to check The Guardian or other sources to see what's happening.
PS book now for Delfina.
I guess I would choose Delfina out of those three, but I can't rave about it as much as Thomas Nash. It's ok, but I've never been able to remember a single thing I ate there despite repeated visits over the years. Delfina has been well-regarded for a while, but I've never considered it close to the best in San Francisco (more of a 3 out of 4 stars place). If you get down to NYC for Italian food, I worry that your standards may be above what Delfina can reliably offer.
I live near Allegro Romano and Seven Hills and don't really consider the food at either one good enough to ever go to. (in all fairness, I've experienced and witnessed some off-putting behavior from the owner of the former on more than one occasion).
Personally, my favorite for Italian in SF is Flower + Water, but it might be too noisy and packed if you want a traditional romantic atmosphere (FYI: Seven Hills is kind of cramped). La Cicca would be another good choice for food, but also loud and not a "special occasion" environment. But I think these two places could actually hold their own if they had to compete with restaurants in Emilia-Romagna or Sardinia, unlike most places in the Bay Area (I've spent a lot of time in Italy).
Perbacco. Not as expensive as Acquerello, great food and service. For me it's #1 as far as special-occasion atmosphere among SF Italian restaurants without heavy French influence (i.e. Acquerello and Quince).
For someplace more casual and less expensive, Cotogna. More rustic but still very special atmosphere.
La Ciccia might be the most charming restaurant in the city, thanks to the warm personalities of the owners, but on the material plane it's relatively crowded and bustling.
Thank you to all who replied. We've decided to look at other restaurants instead of Italian since we do come from a heavily influenced Italian food region of the country already. I would love your replies to my new thread because I still need advice on where to go! And time is ticking! ugh!