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It’s already bad enough that I have to be so far away from Italy right now, but on top of that, I’m completely tortured by the separation from the food in her restaurants!

San Francisco is a big, big foodie city known for its fine, cutting-edge dining, exquisite winemaking, and a strong, Italian-American heritage.  Whenever possible, I eat in Italian restaurants but honestly, lately there seems to be something missing.  The Olive Garden just isn’t cutting it for me any more.

Dining in Italy is the sum of its parts; a package deal where food and wine don’t tell the whole story – relationship, personal connection and graciousness are also part of the equation.  When I am in San Francisco it’s not so surprising then, that the places I feel the most comfortable and want to frequent are those owned, operated and staffed by native Italians. Ristorante Ideale in North Beach is one of my favorites. (Read 7 Tastes of Italy).  Owner and Chef Maurizio Bruschi creates a scene that makes the walk through his door, a walk into Rome. 

…and then there was dinner last evening at Ristobar in the Marina District.  The food was amazing in taste and presentation, but the icing on the cake was a personal visit to the table from the new Chef de Cuisine, Michele Belotti from Bergamo – young, talented and an artist with food.  I was transported again…this time just a little farther to the north.

Ristorante Ideale: http://www.idealerestaurant.com/; 1315 Grant Ave, SF 94133 (415)391-4129

Ristobar: http://www.ristobarsf.com/; 300 Chestnut Street, SF 94123; (415) 923-6464 

by Toni DeBella 

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