Tagged: Italian Restaurants

Oct 25

Flour + Water

My debate was whether or not to blog about Flour + Water, I really don’t like writing badly about restaurants. And usually when I don’t like them, I just don’t write about them. But due to the hype, I just had to.

I got there at 5:00pm to wait in line, doors open at 5:30pm but there was already a long line! So here I am, ready to be impressed, I mean, how else can a restaurant be so popular, they must be good right? They do take reservations, but from my understanding, they only take a maximum of reservations so that there’s seating for walk-in’s as well. Lucky for us, we made it in for the first seating and were seated on the communal table. The staff was super nice and quick.

There were five of us so we decided to order family style which was our server’s suggestion. We ordered appetizers, pastas, pizzas and dessert.

For the appetizers, we ordered the Smoked duck breast with pine nut, currant, parsnip & watercress and the Cured Sardines with cauliflower, turnips, young carrots & crispy kale. When we got our order, we were thankful that there were exactly 5 pieces of duck and 5 pieces of sardines. The smoked duck was flavorful but the sardines were only okay.

Since they were known for their home made pasta, we ordered the Cappellacci dei Briganti with rabbit polpettine & red Russian kale, Farro Strozzapreti with braised pork, caramelized radicchio & star anise and the Celery Root Tortelli with brown butter, balsamico & walnuts. The pasta was good although I thought that my pieces of Cappellacci dei Briganti pasta were still a little bit hard. With that being said, the rabbit and braised pork were very tasty. I think that out of the three, my favorite pasta was the Celery Root Tortelli. But again, for $17.00 a plate of pasta, they were rather small. We also ordered a side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts with guanciale & preserved lemon, it was okay as well.

From their Italian wood-fired oven, we had the Salsiccia Pizza with rabe, sausage, montasio, caramelized onions & an egg on top and the Funghi Pizza with sunchokes, chanterelles, fontina, thyme & horseradish gremolata. The Salsiccia’s ingredients were good, I’m glad we added the egg, but I didn’t think that the bottom was crispy enough, it was a bit soggy. The Funghi was just plain dry.

For the dessert, they were only serving two so we got one of each. The Chocolate Budino with espresso caramel cream & sea salt and Olive Oil & Thyme Cake. Okay, the Chocolate Budino was really good, the sea salt definitely enhanced the flavors of the espresso caramel cream. It was probably my favorite thing for the meal. But the Olive Oil & Thyme Cake was a bit dry.

Overall, I was really disappointed, maybe my expectations were too high. I walked in hoping for one of the best Italian meals, and walked out feeling like I just got ripped off.  Sorry Flour + Water, I really wanted to like you!


Jul 18

Gialina Pizzeria, One Word: OMGoodness

I read about Gialina Pizzeria on SF Weekly‘s article, ‘San Francisco’s Top Five Pizzerias’, so I had pizza on my mind for dinner! We decided to order pizza on our relaxing Friday night. Because they may not take orders during their peak hours, we ordered at 5:30pm for a 6:00pm pick up.  But really,  how busy can this place possibly be? When we got there for our pick up, there were people lingering outside waiting for seats! YES, at 6:00pm, Gialina Pizzeria was PACKED! So yes, if you do go, bring your patience, and if you plan to order, order early.

When we got home, we couldn’t wait to open up the boxes and devour, the pizza smell in the car was making us hungry! Of course we ordered two, we first tried the Margherita with tomato, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil! Our first bite made our eyes pop out, and our first words were ‘holy crap this is sooo good!’  The tomato sauce was out of this world, it was not tangy, not too sweet, just perfect with the cheese! I personally love thin pizza and I am not a fan of crust, but this was not any crust, it was thin bubbly crunchy crust. And then it was time for the Amatriciana with tomato, pancetta, spicy chillies, oregano, pecorino and topped with a farm egg. Yes, a farm egg on top, this pizza was pretty, it put a smile on our face. The ingredients for the Amatriciana were stronger, the taste of pancetta and the hint of spice were popping in our mouths! We shared the farm egg and it changed the taste by adding a unique balance to the ingredients.

I am so glad we read about this place, we were happy with every bite, I can’t wait to return for more!


May 16

Delizioso Dishes at Ristobar

Over the weekend, we tried Ristobar! We had a large group of people, but the service was good and they were very accommodating.   The ambiance was warm and dim with an Italian flair, featuring wines bottles along the parameter and colorful frescos on the walls and ceiling!  Since we were such a big group, every few sections of our table ordered different dishes. Our section ordered more than a few dishes to share family style.  Believe it or not, I almost enjoyed every dish!  Delizioso!


Duck Liver Pate, truffle sea salt, crushed pistachio – WOW, please order this smooth heavenly pate if they have it on the menu, you won’t be sorry!

Olive Condite, marinated castelvetrano olives – Sooo good, the olives were plump and perfect!

Mortadella, imported cured pork, pistachio, local escarole, pink lady apple, toasted pumpkins seeds – Not sure why,  but Mortadella reminds me of Bologna. Okay, I know that’s wrong of me to say since one is made Italian style and the other is just American! But really, it’s quite similar. This salad was good,  an interesting combination of ingredients.

Crudo, Raw Salmon, watercress, mandarin oranges, caper berry and lemon oil – This had no orange flavor whatsoever.  And honestly, the raw salmon was not that good and this dish didn’t have enough salt. Thankfully there were the capers to add some saltiness. I didn’t love this.

Artisanal Pizza

Vesta tomato sauce, ricotta, fennel sausage, speck, rucola – Very good combination, the pizza was thin and crisp, not soggy! Very good pizza!

Valencia ricotta, goat cheese, asiago, pear, watercress – Another great combination, you will enjoy this if you like goat cheese!


Risotto, Arborio Carnaroli rice, spot prawn tails & soft shell crab, shellfish stock, prosecco – The risotto, as an Italian would say, was ‘perfetto’! However, the soft shell crab was very salty, it’s almost as if the chef spilled too much salt onto it by accident!


Ossobuco, dolcetto braised veal shank, rainbow carrots, natural jus – One word, LOVE! The meat was so tender and fell off the bone!

Pan Roasted Wild Boar Sausage, carrots, turnips, brussel sprouts, natural jus – This was also a good entree, the spices with the sausage were tasty!


Apr 09

Contemporary Italian at Beretta

It’s really rare that we eat in the Mission District, but a friend recommended dinner at Beretta. They don’t normally take reservations, but for a party of more than 6, they do! I made reservations for a Friday night a few days prior,  they said they were extremely busy,  and  only able to seat us downstairs. Also keep in mind that the area is really busy and parking may take some time, so take your hunger and your patience with you to Beretta.

Once you get inside, you will enter the upstairs and feel the hip ambiance featuring chic decor with an urban style, I especially loved the lighting fixtures.  Our table was downstairs, it was a dimmer and intimate room, it didn’t offer the same vibe as upstairs, still nice but nothing like upstairs. I think they seat the bigger parties downstairs.

The service staff was friendly and helpful with recommendations, definitely ask them how many pieces are in each order because that varies. It reminded me of Italian food served tapas style, all served in small dishes to share.  Italian can be rich and heavy, so 2 people can share 1 bruschette or 1 meatball.  We ordered the following and I have to say, I actually loved everything!

After dinner, we walked off our big dinner, I noticed so many restaurants along the Mission District and I cannot wait to return for more!

Antipasti (The bread in the antipasti dishes were superb. perfectly made for these dishes)

Eggplant Caponatina with Burrata – This was so good, the vegetables were all so fresh and the melted burrata definitely enhanced the flavors!

Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce – YUMMM, while I was eating this, all I was wondering was how I could possibly make it and what kind of meat was in it, wish we asked the server! The meat was so tender with a smooth texture.

Chicken Liver Crostini alla Toscana – What can I say, it was damn good Chicken Liver!

Bruschette of Fava Bean & Pecorino – Offering a nutty flavor and completely covered with pecorino!

Lamb Chops with Arugula & Goat Milk Yogurt – Nicely grilled lamb chops, combining the lamb and arugula together was a great idea. I liked it but wish there was just a little more spice added to it.

Fish Antipasti

Monterey Sardines en Saör – Very fresh sardines, topped with red bell peppers and onions offering a delicious tart flavor!

Meat Antipasti

Artisan Salumi with Giardiniera, Mixed Plate of Lardo, Prosciutto di Parma, Hot Coppa, Mortadella, Sopressata – Yes, Lardo meaning just fat, an Italian charcuterie made by curing strips of fatback. It just melted like butter. Love cured salty meat, so yes, I loved this platter.


Prosciutto di Parma,  Tomato, Arugula & Mozzarella – Loved the combination of this thin crust pizza covered with fresh arugula!

Spicy Italian Sausage, Panna & Green Onions – Another great blend of flavors and the sausage was deelious!


Squid Ink Risotto with Calamari – WOW, great dish! Had a hint of cheesy flavor and completely addicting!


Mar 06

Sweet Delights at Stella Pastry & Cafe

One of my favorite dessert places in San Francisco is Stella Pastry & Cafe. I used to come here all the time for my sweet cravings! Over the weekend, we decided to come here for dessert and coffee, it’s been a long time since my last visit. As I was devouring the sweets, all I kept thinking was, ‘Damn, I miss this place!’ Stella Pastry & Cafe is a charming little place, it’s not a huge space like the other coffee joints in the area, I love how it’s  so very cozy, there’s probably only 2 tables that can seat up to 4 people.

We ordered ourselves the Chocolate Fedora with dark chocolate flakes, the layered Napoleon, the signature and prize winning Sacripantina and a plate of chewy Amoretti Cookies, complemented with our cups of caffeine of course! All the desserts were perfect, not too sweet, fluffy and addictive!  Although I no longer recognized the staff who worked there, the desserts were still as delicious! If you are ever in the area, want some sweet delights and a nice quiet night, stop by this quaint neighborhood spot!


Aug 28

Sweet Night at Steps of Rome

North Beach, San Francisco’s little Italian neighborhood is one of my favorite places for pasta, coffee and desserts! This evening, we went to Steps of Rome, and I couldn’t wait to order myself a cup of Cappuccino! When I got there, I was still quite full from my dinner but since I was here, I just had to order a Tiramisu too! I am so glad I ordered the fluffy sweet dessert, it complemented my warm strong Cappuccino perfectly!  Friendly staff, crowded space, perfect way to end the night!


Jun 07

Movie and Puccini & Pinetti

Over the weekend I went to watch SATC 2 with two wonderful ladies at Century San Francisco Centre 9 featuring relaxing plush seats! After the movie, we were hungry but wanted to stay in Union Square instead of dealing with parking again.  Saturday night and parking does not mix well in the City. We decided to walk around to see what was appealing.

When you eat in Union Square, it is never cheap, we already knew we were going to spend more than expected. We walked over to the area where Puccini & Pinetti was located, checked out their menu and decided to try it out.    The restaurant was comfy and traditional, we sat at the bar  since there was a wait and since they served food at the bar. I was just happy to see that they had hooks on the bar for coats and purses, not a lot of places have this nowadays.  Since we sat at the bar, we actually got the bar menu too, which was perfect since one of my friends wanted bar snacks type of food. They had a great bar menu, we just ordered a bunch of items since they all sounded good and were reasonably priced!  We shared the Crispy Calamari, Arugula Salad, Marinated Olives, Fried Ravioli, Cheese Plate, and a Pizza with Potato Skins! Everything was in small plates except the pizza and they all tasted delicious! I am so happy that we walked into this restaurant cause now I will definitely be back again!