Thursday, March 23, 2006

Excellent Italian Fare in Noe Valley

I go back and forth between my love for Italian and French food. I've been on a bit of Italian binge recently and revisited a favorite in Noe Valley - Incanto. This isn't your typical North Beach red sauce and pasta place. Rather, here you get interesting Italian-influenced California food featuring the freshest of ingredients. On the day we visited, the menu featured many "leftovers" from the restaurant's annual "Whole Beast Dinner." While duck tongue was too much for my fairly adventuresome palate, we did enjoy the Antipasto platter that featured house-cured meats. I also enjoyed the nettle papparedelle, which must be in season now as they were also included on Sociale's menu, which I discussed in a recent posting. Incanto's menu changes daily, so you are always in for a new treat no matter how often you visit.

Incanto also has a terrific list of Italian wines, as well as knowledgeable staff who can direct you to wines you are likely to enjoy. On my first visit, I said that we enjoyed Sauvignon Blanc and was directed to our first wine made from the Greco varietal. This time I told our waiter that we enjoyed medium to full bodied red wines with soft tanins He suggest we try a wine that is equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Nero d'Avola. (The latter was a varietal that I had never heard of, much less tasted, before.) Again the waiter's suggestion was perfect.

Incanto is located at 1550 Church Street. Dinner is served nightly, except on Tuesday. Reservations may be made by phoning (415) 641-4500.

If you would like to take a tour of San Francisco that visits neighborhoods, such as Noe Valley, that are not on the usual tourist route, call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.

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