Monday, May 30, 2011

More Great Italian Food in the Marina District

Back in 2006, I wrote about the terrific Italian restaurant on Chestnut Street, A16.  I've been back since then and still highly recommend the restaurant.  Now, just two blocks away, is another superb Italian restaurant - Ristobar.  The restaurant opened last year but didn't pop up on my radar until I noticed it was included in the San Francisco Chronicle's "Top 100 Restaurants" list in April.

Four of us had a chance to go to Ristobar last night and all of us came away extremely satisfied, including the one vegetarian in our group.  The restaurant features a menu of cheeses and salumis, from which you can pick two of of either for $10.  We tried two of both and loved our two hams and blue and sheep cheeses.  

The main menu contains a variety of interesting appetizers, salads, and soups.  We enjoyed two salads, one featuring squid and the other soft-shell crab.  The main menu includes pastas, thin-crust pizzas, and more hearty meals.  The only surprise was that none of the pastas was vegetarian.  However, when we asked whether the chef could make a vegetarian pasta dish, it was no problem and a few options were offered.  The vegetarian among us enjoyed a simple pasta with marinara sauce.  Two others had spaghettini with shellfish and ricotta dumplings with lamb ragu.  The fourth person had yummy risotto with prawns.  Ristobar also offers a few contorni, vegetable side dishes.  The sauteed greens were prepared perfectly - just leaves, olive oil, and a little seasoning.  We were stuffed when it was time for dessert but we all managed to work our way through a chocoholic's delight:  a chocolate drink, frozen chocolate mousse, and gooey chocolate cake.

Ristobar not only has a wine list that features wines from throughout Italy, as well as a few California wines, but also an extensive beer list.

I highly recommend lunch or dinner at this casual Italian restaurant.  I am continually amazed at the number of  interesting and delicious Italian restaurants San Francisco supports and how few of them are in North Beach, the old Italian neighborhood.

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