This is not a review as such because many local yelpers have done such a great job reviewing the seasonal offerings of one of the truly great neighborhood restaurants in California and the entire West Coast.
The attention to the quality and authenticity of ingredients, cooking techniques and taste and texture development is extraordinary. The result, no matter what the noise, street parking or occasional slips in service, is real food both distinctive and delicious.
The wine list is an inspiration since it is dominated by Sardinian wines which are new experiences for 99% of us. I tasted 6-7 wines with my friends over the course of a 3-hour dinner and was impressed with the unique tastes that pair wonderfully with the chef/owner’s cuisine. Even if most of the ingredients do come from California, Chef Massimo has learned to adapt them to Sardinian cuisine in a powerful way.
It is interesting that some yelp reviewers give this restaurant low marks. Most rave about La Ciccia. Viva la difference; however, this is a restaurant that should not be missed on a trip to San Francisco. For the cost of a cab ride from downtown, it is well worth it since prices at restaurants downtown are not to be believed. Ask me because I dined another night in one of the famous venues and got nose bleed from the bill – and the food was not even close in taste and umami.
PS I arrived early and sat at the bar reading my newspaper. A smallish man with very dark hair and intense eyes brought over a taste of wine and a small dish of something that looked like a fish carpaccio. It turned out to be a slightly pickled onion looking for a future home as an ingredient in the appetizer offerings. Then the fried Sardinian olives(in Sardinian olive oil) arrived with another Sardinian wine. Both times he asked what I thought about the onion and olives as well as the wines. Then I knew I was meeting a chef who was passionate about his food and interested to learn what others thought. Chef Massimo is a very special member of the SF food scene and deserves the rich patronage of lovers of real food.