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Best Italian in North Beach?


Stone
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I think finding good Italian food in North Beach is harder than finding good Italian food in Little Italy. (I've found that only Boston's North End offers consistently good old-style food.) North Beach has absolutely no Italian "charm," with North End has in droves and which Little Italy still has some of.

But does it have decent food?

I think Steps of Rome is the most consistent. I once went to the place billed as the first Italian restaurant in SF (Fiorio?), and we all agreed it sucked. I also went to the place what serves wine out of ceramic chickens and gives every table gummy bears for dessert and, well, it serves wine out of ceramic chickens and gives every table gummy bears for dessert.

Haven't been to Rose Pistola. It looks a little polished for what the "Italian" section of town should be offering.

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There's a whole in the wall with a limited menu called Osteria del Forno, which I remember extremely fondly. Usually a line, no reservations, very affordable.

Other than that, i agree, not much there. I heard Rose Pistola is good, but it's "Ligurian" which is different from mainstream US Italian.

beachfan

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I heartily second the recommendation for L'Osteria del Forno - one of the highlights of my trips to San Francisco always include part of day wandering around down there, and including a stop at Stella Bakery right down the street for the best cannoli in town.

memesuze

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There are some decent Italian restaraunts in North Beach

L'Osteria del Forno - makes an excellent pork roasted in milk. and some tasty pizza's

Rose Pistola- Reed Heron's restaraunt. he's an assh*le, but turns out some delicous food.

Wine out of the chickens? your not talking about Caffe Sport right? Italain Seafood. RIP the old man who owned and operated it. Funny place and sometimes would turn out some amazing food. can be spotty

Ideale on Grant @ Vallejo. They do in fact have some of the better Italian Food in the neighborhood and I would recommend this place.

Caffe Macaroni on Columbus was turning out some good food a couple of years ago (one of the only places I've seen horse served in the states)

Fior D'Italia is consitent. consistently bad.

Mario's Cigar Store still makes a decent sandwich using Liguria Bakery's bread.

There are some real crappy joints in North Beach too, Stinking Rose, Basta Pasta, Calzone's. too many to name.

Dstone , where are the good restaraunts in NY's Little Italy? :unsure:

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Mario's Cigar Store still makes a decent sandwich using Liguria Bakery's bread.

Dstone , where are the good restaraunts in NY's Little Italy?  :unsure:

I went to the Marios that was on Polk. Thought it was just some pasta with canned tomato sauce and some bits of sausage. I will try the others.

As for NY -- beats me. I'm not sure there is real good Italian in Little Italy. I used to go to Umbertos for calamari in hot sauce, but the last time I was there it was awful.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The chicken/gummybear place is called Michaelangelo. I think Italian food is overall pretty crappy in San Fran. I've heard good things about Ideale, and Aquarello was divine (and divinely expensive), but I really only go one place for Italian, and that is Oliveto in Oakland.

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I think Italian food is overall pretty crappy in San Fran.

Do you include places like Delfina, Antica Trattori, Pane y Vino and I Frascati in this? Or just the Little Italy types of place?

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I was referring mostly to North Beach itself. I've been to Delfina a number of times, as I lived right around the corner. It is good, but its menu rarely changes and I don't really consider it an Italian restaurant. It has a fair amount of French-influenced dishes and the menu tends to read more Cali-Chez Panisse style than Italian style. I do like Albona down by the wharf; Trieste-style Italian food cooked by a fussy old nut named Bruno.

For me, Oliveto is my favorite restaurant in all the world, so any other, and especially Italian, will pale a bit in comparison.

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Rose Pistola isn't what a lot of people consider "Italian," but it is totally wonderful. They have a seafood "frito misto" that when we were there included whole baby octopus, prawn, and crab/potato pillows: a burst of flavor in every bite. Also, a combination of marinated raw fish - salmon, swordfish and sardine. I first had Arctic char there, grilled whole. The only pasta I recall is gorganzola ravioli with wild mushrooms. The style is Adriatic food, which is not really close to the Neapolitan model, like lumping together New England and New Orleans and calling it "American." Expensive, and worth it.

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If I remeber right there is a great little coffee shop in the North Beach area, Cafe Greco', almost across from some icon restaurant that I can not remember the name of, the coffee was good but the pastry...............well it was well worth the trip

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Mario's Cigar Store still makes a decent sandwich using Liguria Bakery's bread.

Dstone , where are the good restaraunts in NY's Little Italy?   :unsure:

I went to the Marios that was on Polk. Thought it was just some pasta with canned tomato sauce and some bits of sausage. I will try the others.

I haven't lived in SF for years, but...

Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store on Columbus and Union--I think it is not related to the place you went. It is a fun place. They have a tiny "kitchen" set up behind the bar where they make yummy hot sandwiches--meatball, sausage, and the like. They used to have polenta and sausage on Thursday nights...MMM.

Caffe Greco has fabulous cappuccino. Good pasty, too, as Belmont 3 points out. It's on Columbus.

I agree that Rose Pistola is very good, though it can be a pain to get seated. The food is simple--lots of grilled fish/olive oil dishes, really nicely done. (I have the cookbook, but the food doesn't translate well.)

Years ago I was very fond of Buca Giovanni on Greenwich and Mason. They always seemed to have interesting items like goat and wild boar. Has anyone been there recently? I think the ownership has changed since I have been.

I know it is not Italian, but Cafe Jacqueline (the souffle place) on Grant has got to be the most charming place in North Beach! :smile:

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  • 1 month later...

Buca Giovanni is one of my favorite "neighborhood" spots in North Beach. Has anyone else tried The Northbeach Restaurant I had a nice meal there about a year ago, has anyone been there recently?

I also like Aperto very much, but they do lack consistency and they added a brunch menu that is pretty blah. I think they are trying to compete with all of the "chezs" that have recently overun Potrero. But I have to say that I love the staff and the owner; we had a party there and they treated us very well and the food was terrific!

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Da Flora has consistently excellent food.

I haven't been to Rose Pistola in about 2 years now, but friends of mine who were there just a week and a half ago say that they've revamped the menu and it is amazing (and I trust their judgment enough). The last time I was there I was very disappointed. The cuts of fish seemed ok but not terrific, and I can't say I was impressed with any of the preparation (um, I can grill swordfish and make a homemade pesto to dress it with, too). My friends say the kitchen seems to have been revitalized there, so I may try it again.

I also like Baccio (darn, I think that's the name) on Diamond, between Elizabeth and 24th St.

As for great atmosphere and food, though, I agree with Stone that Boston's North End can't be beat (sigh ... I miss Pomodoro, and Dom's was always fun and had good food).

~ CookieMonster

Mr. Pibb + Red Vine = Crazy Delicious
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  • 4 weeks later...

So did we reach any kind of consensus on this thread? I need a place in North Beach for dinner this weekend that is moderately priced and has good pasta (my dining compaion is a vegetarian :hmmm: ). L'Osteria del Forno sounds good but waiting in line outside could be inconvenient if the weather is bad. What would be the second choice? Steps of Rome? Da Flora? Bacco?

Lobster.

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So did we reach any kind of consensus on this thread?  I need a place in North Beach for dinner this weekend that is moderately priced and has good pasta (my dining compaion is a vegetarian  :hmmm: ).  L'Osteria del Forno sounds good but waiting in line outside could be inconvenient if the weather is bad.  What would be the second choice?  Steps of Rome?  Da Flora?  Bacco?

Honestly, any of the ones you listed will probably be fine.

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