Ciao Down: The Haute 5 Italian Restaurants in San Francisco

Thank your lucky stars that San Francisco can almost mimic the terrain of Italy so that we can all enjoy the scrumptious dishes that will surely put us in a pasta comma. Check out our Haute 5 restaurants hat will surely have you saying, “Mama mia!”

Flour + Water

There is something to say about traditional Italian cuisine that is based on the principles of simple Italian cooking. Handmade pastas and cured meats, made in house, are their specialty, while their appetizing pizzas are made in a Valoriani oven, imported from Italy. They even butcher the animals themselves for the freshest ingredients possible. If the wait is too long, don’t worry. The hostess will take your drink order, so there is no need to tread to the bar. As for dessert, try the chocolate budino with espresso-caramel cream and sea salt, or the olive oil cake with honey thyme ice cream. All dishes are made with seasonal ingredients and sourced from California growers.

Flour + Water is located at 2401 Harrison St., (415) 826-7000.

Rose Pistola
Dine in the sophisticated, friendly, lascivious atmosphere of San Francisco’s Italian quarter. Have a glass of wine as you indulge in the sounds of the live jazz band and taste the traditional blends of Italian spices. Laurie Thomas, restaurateur and owner, takes great pride in ensuring that the real flavors of the Mediterranean are brought to the establishment. Enjoy a bowl of pasta or some anti pasti in the San Francisco style dining counter, a booth, or even at the animated bar. Just don’t expect the same dish to be around for long, this place is notorious for changing their menu daily.

Rose Pistola is located at 532 Columbus Ave., between Greene and Union St., (415) 399-0499

Quattro does fine Italian dining the way only the Four Seasons knows how. Think Italian cuisines with a California twist; the menu is available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Step into a setting flushed in natural California sunlight and accented with wood and stone elements. Dining al fresco, or taking in the contemporary style of the indoor dining room, the overall atmosphere exudes a spirit of conviviality and community, not to mention the top of the line Four Seasons hospitality. Featuring traditional and new Italian cuisine, expect seasonal highlights sourced from the local farming community. Also, expect to find Quattro formaggio pizza, broccoli rabe, and a decadent selection of wine.

Quattro is located at the Four Seasons at 2050 University Ave., East Palo Alto, (650) 470-2889.

Go to a trattoria in Italy, grab the cook, the atmosphere, bring it to San Francisco, and you will get Delfina. Located in the Mission District, the recipe is simple: traditional and seasonal cooking is what makes the flavors pop. Try the Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Roasted Fulton Valley Chicken, or Salt Cod Mantecato. ou wont go wrong. As for the ambiance, there is a covered heated patio, plus seating for up to eight, and a five-stool wine bar, all perfect for a scrumptious gathering.

Delfina is located at 3621 18th St., (415) 552-4055.

Stepping it up a notch from their former quaint locale, Quince took over the space formerly known as Myth. Expect a focus on local, organic, seasonal ingredients, which have proved to be a big hit in the past. The updated menu features an a la carte menu (very fancy stuff); five course prix fix menu, and eight course tasting menu. Expect a more elegant and dimly lit atmosphere, with high ceilings and chandeliers that hit a note of sophistication. This new venue is definitely somewhere to go for a special occasion. Chef and owner, Michael Tusk, heads the restaurant that has recently earned one Michelin star.

Quince is located at 470 Pacific Ave., (415) 775-8500.