Four things out-of-towners (and clueless locals) should know about San Francisco’s Italian district: It is called North Beach, not Little Italy. Don’t bother looking for the beach in North Beach because despite the name it doesn’t touch the bay at any point. When possible take a cab or walk to North Beach because parking is famously impossible, day and night. Though you can’t throw a rock without it landing in somebody’s pasta or espresso, only about half of all those restaurants are any good. We can’t list them all, but here are two of our favorites that never fail to satisfy:
Ristorante Ideale on Grant Ave is a casual place run by some extremely friendly Romans that nearly lives up to it’s name, the “ideal restaurant”. Everything on the menu is as authentic as you’re going to get in California, even down to the thin, crispy crusted pizzas. Their great wine list doubles as their décor.
Aside from being in the running for the best food in San Francisco in our opinion, Albona Ristorante Istriano, near Fisherman’s Wharf, has one of the most charismatic owners you’ll ever meet. And you will meet Bruno Viscovi because he personally makes sure every person who enters gets the most out of their visit. From telling you about his amazing life on the Istrian Peninsula to knowing what you should order better than you do, Bruno is a treat. They are currently in the process of passing ownership to Bruno’s nephew, Michael, who seems to know exactly how to care for Bruno’s baby. And something tells us despite the succession Bruno is not going to anywhere any time soon.