Along the historic stretch of the cable car line infused California Street in Downtown SF between Front and Battery exists a throng of fine restaurant choices one can select from. My job is to make sure that people enjoy themselves, their meal and a range of wine selections ...moreto compliment a gourmet filet or fish entree. Once that piece is out of the way, the tone set, we get down to business discussing different ways to reduce expenditures from an IT infrastructure standpoint. So I look for places that are going to make me look good. I’ve been to the fine establishments such as Aqua (when it was around) and Tadich in the same block, but my adventurous side beckoned me to try something new. And so, like the matriarch stomping up dust and leading the herd in Botswana, I led a group of five into the unknown demesne of Perbacco that I had only read about online. “Hello,” the hostess said. “Reservation?” I smiled, said, “I was just telling these five guys behind me how much better your monkfish is as compared to those guys next door.” “So, no reservation,” she said with a smile. “Give me one second.” I turned to the guys, offered a wink to indicate things were under control. The waitress returned, cradling a clipboard like an infant in one arm. “I’ll have a table for you in fifteen. Perhaps your friends would care for a drink at the bar while you wait?” Like Jack Colton trimming down overgrown stalks in the Amazon with a machete in, “Romancing the Stone,” I carved a path through the uber trendy Thursday night dinner crowd, wiggled my elbow passed the backs of two women in cocktail dresses to the bar top. I ordered six Prosecco’s to accommodate a toast, stole a glance from the beauty to right peering subtly over her shoulder and held out my glass to my group. “To good health and a hearty appetite.” We clanked flutes. In under 13 minutes, the hostess found me again and we were seated. We laughed, told stories, ordered bottle after fantastic bottle, devoured appetizers, entrees, risotto and eventually even conducted a little business. Whether or not I will ever make a reservation here is not something I can answer. But because Perbacco succeeded in making me look good, I can tell you there is a 100% probability that I will be taking another group here in the near future . Their service is superb, the food and wine uncontended. Five stars.view less
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Mescolanza is a small, intimate, little, neighborhood, mom-and-pop restaurant that serves Italian food located on Clement Street between 23rd and 24th Avenues. It's discreetly tucked under a small pink awning. It's my favorite restaurant in my neighborhood and I've been goin...moreg there for 20 years! Please note, parking on the Clement Street corridor is difficult (almost as bad as North Beach) but there is a parking lot directly across the street from the restaurant (as Martha Stewart would say, \"It's a good thing!\"). This restaurant is small and seats only 49 patrons at one time so be sure to make reservations. My favorite appetizers are the Carpaccio and Bruschetta. The plate of Carpaccio is presented with extremely thinly sliced beef draped on the plate. There are small mounds of capers, chopped red onions, shaved Parmesan cheese, and mustard paste. Mix all the ingredients and enjoy! The Bruschetta is toasted french bread topped with a delicious sprinkling of chopped Roma tomatoes mixed with fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and sea salt. In this day and age of almost tasteless tomatoes (inbreeding is never a good thing), the tomatoes in this dish are ripe, packed full of flavor, and fill your mouth with a burst of flavor. The Pear Pizza (Yeah, I know, it sounds kind of strange but darling, it's divine intervention on a plate.) You have got to try this! The Osso Bucco was excellent. The meat was very tender and flavorful in its rich burgundy-like sauce. I loved the vegetables and that's saying something for a meat eater like me. The vegetables were carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash done just right in that perfect combination of buttery, tender and crunchy at the same time. We had a veal chop off the \"Specials Menu\" that was sauteed in its own juices with a blend of slow-cooked root vegetables surrounding it. It came with silky, creamy mashed potatoes that had a hint of garlic flavor and a serving of the vegetable combination I spoke of earlier. Once again, excellent! We had the creme caramel, the tiramisu and the chocolate flan with amaretto and crushed amaretti cookies. The tiramisu and creme caramel were as expected, delicious. That chocolate flan was EXCEPTIONAL! Sinfully, silky smooth texture on a bed of crushed cookies with the hint of amaretto flavors. While we ate all the desserts, the chocolate flan won hands down.view less
As I was born in Italy, I was happy to find E' Tutto Qua, a reasonably priced and friendly restaurant that really serves food just like I would find in Rome today. The pizza is Roman style with thin, crispy crust and the pastas are all authentically Italian in the preparatio...moren and ingredients, no short cuts here. I loved the \"Gnocchi allo Zafferano\" ~ Saffron gnocchi with zucchini, clams, tomato & white wine sauce. Another favorite is the \"Tagliata di Manzo\" ~ Grilled New York steak topped with cherry tomatoes, arugola & shaved parmesan cheese. They have a huge selection of both \"house-made\" and \"imported from Italy\" desserts. After the opening in June 2007 they already have a local following just for their fantastic Tiramisu. The wine list features both Italian and Californian wines and is very reasonably priced. End it all with one of their perfect espressos or cappuccinos, then go home feeling you have just had a \"mini-vacation\" to Italy! The service is attentive and helpful, these people really seem to care about their customers. Dress goes from casual to trendy chic looks. The crowd is a nice mix of all ages, nationalities and lifestyles. They are open from morning til late night. Atmosphere and location are just right, lively and fun dining in a historic old bank building with great views of the neighborhood. One interesting point that many locals have noted is that the Italian waiters from several other restaurants in the city are seen eating here on their day off. That says a lot about the authenticity of this place. I'm hooked!view less