Some of the best Italian food in the City hides in family-owned North Beach restaurants. Poke around and find your favorite hole in the wall, or try a bigger, more upscale spot.
At busy Caffe Delucchi (500 Columbus Ave., 415/393-4515, www.caffedelucchi.com, Mon.–Wed, 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Thurs, 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri.–Sat, 8 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.–10 p.m., $12–20), down-home Italian cooking meets fresh San Francisco produce to create affordable, excellent cuisine. You can get hand-tossed pizzas, salads, and entrées for lunch and dinner, plus tasty traditional American breakfast fare with an Italian twist on the weekends. Drinks run to soju cocktails and artisan Italian and California wines.
Trattoria Contadina (1800 Mason St., 415/982-5728, Sun.–Thurs. 5:30–9:30 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5:30–10:30 p.m., $15–23) presents mouthwatering Italian fare in a fun, eclectic dining room. Dozens of framed photos line the walls and fresh ingredients stock the kitchen in this San Francisco take on the classic Italian trattoria. Kids are welcome, and vegetarians will find good meatless choices on the menu.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition