3621 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
I think Triple F mentioned Delfina to me a long time ago, so it’s not really the new kid on the block per se. The place is known for their simple Italian fare, namely pastas and pizzas. Sometimes, great restaurants can lose their luster just by the fact they aren’t the latest and greatest anymore. I’m not really sure if that’s really the case for Delfina, but that’s how the restaurant sat in my mind. Years would pass and there always seemed to be something newer and more exciting to try whenever I visited SF. I’ve made reservations here before, but never felt strongly about committing and let my plans fall through for various unimportant reasons. Finally, I was set on checking it off my to-try list.
Grilled Monterey Bay Calamari
I was imagining a cold salad like dish but instead was met with warm grilled squid. The tentacles were particularly charred and intoxicatingly smokey. Surrounding the squid was a hearty and filling white bean salad. It was rustic on the one hand but deliciously forward in balance and flavor. It is no wonder this is one of their classic dishes. I highly recommend this to try.
Butternut Squash Risotto fontina fonduta
While I am not a fan of butternut squash as a stand alone sweet starchy root vegetable, I am usually pleased to find it in risottos and raviolis. Sometimes they can lean too sweet, but the version at Delfina was creamy and leaned cheesy to its success. The portion was generous, since this here is just half an order. The kitchen was kind enough to split the dish onto 2 separate plates for The Annoyer and me without any request to do so. Kudos to the service!
Spaghetti plum tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, pepperoncini
Reading the description of the spaghetti, I was not impressed. But knowing it was another of Delfina’s classic and more popular dishes tipped me over. It turned out to be just as described with no surprising wows. In fact, it’s probably something The Annoyer or I could easily whip up at home. For a what it was, it’s fine but we needed more as discerning diners.
Capellati beef short rib, red wine jus
They were already out of the gnocchi al ragù, and offered up the capellati in its place. It certainly was as light and delicate as described. The beef filling was moist and unctuous. The light sauce of red wine and beef jus made for flavorful and satisfying dish without any heaviness. Well done!
Aside from the spaghetti dish, I was very pleased with the food at Delfina. It met all the San Francisco standards being seasonal, local, and wholly unfrilly. I haven’t tried too many Italian pasta places in San Francisco, but I would definitely consider Delfina a solid spot with tasty uncomplicated fare. It doesn’t require waiting at midnight for Open Table to release the next month’s set of reservation dates, like a few too many SF restaurants. I would come back!
10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here
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