Review: Gialina

About a month ago I moved into a new house (new to me) across town, and have been busy trying out the sights and tastes of my new neighborhood in between the seemingly endless quest for new furniture. My new ‘hood is Glen Park, and they have the tiniest, most adorable one-block strip of “town” where we can shop, drink, and eat. One of the highlights in this micro neighborhood is Gialina, an Italian-style pizza joint by the same owners as Ragazza on Divisadero.

Asparagus w/ preserved lemon, leeks, Campagnolo & ricotta $18

Asparagus w/ preserved lemon, leeks, Campagnolo & ricotta $18

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Review: Il Casaro – New Restaurant

When I first saw Il Casaro as I was walking by a week ago, the menu was posted as a “soft opening menu”. It looked intriguing, so (with difficulty remembering where exactly it was) I returned yesterday. They are now fully open, and I think they’re off to a good start.

Marinara Pizza - $12

Marinara Pizza – $12

The owners of Il Casaro are not new to the area; they’ve owned nearby Vicoletto for some time. Which, oddly, I’ve never been to. Perusing their menu, I would now really like to try their pappardelle with fresh crab meat, among other things. More new restaurants, yeay!

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Review: 54 Mint

54 Mint is tucked away behind the old San Francisco Mint off 5th Street just south of Market (indeed, in SOMA). It’s a cute space with rustic-chic decor, and a large-ish downstairs (basement) seating area for overflow seating and (I assume) large parties. They’ve got an extensive wine list, a fancy Italian menu, and, most importantly, it is possible to get a reservation.

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Review: Caffe Baonecci

North Beach is San Francisco’s “Little Italy”. As such, you’re never more than a stone’s throw from an Italian restaurant in these parts. Most of them, as far as I’ve experienced, are relatively mediocre, as you might expect in a tourist-oriented area with an overabundance of one type of restaurant. Caffe Baonecci is a nice change of pace.

burrata salad with tomatoes and arugula

burrata salad with tomatoes and arugula

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Review: Capo’s

Extra, Extra, ReadAllAboutIt! Capo’s Now Open in North Beach!

Say that in, like, one of those Dick Tracy Chicago gangster accents to get the full gist of what’s happening in that sentence, y’shee. Capo’s is the newest gig from world champion pizza tosser Tony Gemignani of Tony’s Pizza Napolitana, one of the famous SF pizza joints (also the owner of Pyzano’s in Castro Valley). This time he’s gone old school with Capo’s — red patent leather booths, brick walls, and mood lighting chandeliers. And a specialization in Chicago-style deep dish pizza. I can dig it.

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Review: Tommaso’s

Two “m”s, one “s”. Tommaso’s. Opened in 1935 (under the name Lupo’s), this Italian eatery has stayed the course for over 75 years donning the same cave-like location and winning awards for their pizza. They’ve got an interesting story and are one of the great restaurant successes of SF.

Margherita pizza from Tommaso’s

When you ask for restaurant recommendation in SF, particularly in North Beach (technically FiDi, but still), you’ll often hear the name Tommaso’s. At least I have. And since I walk by the place every day (no joke) on my way to work, it’s a wonder it’s taken so long for me to go. But alas, now I can say I have experience the great Tommaso’s.

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Review: Paradiso

Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value:3/5
Times Visited: One  ♦   Will I Return?:  Si, Per Favore!
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Ok, you live in the East Bay, but not really in the exciting parts like Oakland or Berkeley. You’re sorta stuck in the Fremont/Hayward/San Leandro no-man’s land of the East Bay*. There are plenty of places to eat, but most of them aren’t particularly exciting. Enter Paradiso.

Like Hayward’s Buon Appetito and a handful of other places around this stretch of land, Paradiso is an oasis of culinary delight. With classy decor, an upscale menu, and service that will put a smile on your face (as well as a hearty amount of water in your glass), Paradiso is a welcome pleasure.

Inside Paradiso: the counter that surrounds the kitchen.

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Review: Buon Appetito — Revisted

Atmosphere: 5/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  A Few* ♦   Will I Return?:  Yes, please
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Buon AppetitoHello again, Buon Appetito. My first review of Buon Appetito in Hayward followed my first visit about this time last year. Since then we’ve been back a couple times and I wanted to report on the growth of this place for those who haven’t been in a while.

Last time I commented on the new addition of the bar area to the main restaurant. They have now added a third space as they attempt to take over that entire tiny shopping strip. Sandwiching the bar area is a second seating area that could probably seat another 50 people easily. I didn’t ask who their interior decorator is, but it’s clear that they spared no expense — the place looks fabulous.

Buon Appetito

The newest dining room at Buon Appetito, Hayward

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Review: Spettro

Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  One   ♦   Will I Return?:  Yes, please
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SpettroSpettro can be found at 3355 Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland and is one of a huge many awesome restaurants which I’m only just finding out about in this area. Seriously, Oakland is pretty awesome. Our friends described this place as Mexican/Italian fusion, but after seeing the menu, it pretty much looked like Italian to me.

A variety of delicious-sounding salads; entrees including chicken marsala, chicken or eggplant parmesan, oven braised lamb and chicken risotto along with pastas and pizzas will start any mouth watering. Seriously, it was super hard to choose between the salads and the pizzas…so Friend #1 and I split one of each. This was a fabulous choice…. 

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Review: Buon Appetito

Atmosphere: 5/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  Once   ♦   Will I Return?:  Yes, please
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Buon Appetito has been one of the classiest Hayward restaurants for some time now.  Amidst all the good things I’ve head over the past many years, this was my first visit.  My conclusion?  It was great.  In short, the menu had many delicious meat-less choices, the decor was exquisite, and the food was very good.  The only problem?  The damn place is on A Street in Hayward.

Let’s talk for a moment about how I love Hayward.  I’m from Hayward, born and raised.  It seems to me that it does a person no good to walk around all day squawking about how horrible his or her hometown is, especially when he or she currently is residing in said hometown.  … 

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