Friday, March 13, 2009

You've Tried the Rest Now Try the Best

When the 18th Street Pizzeria Delfina opened, the owners (and my good friends), Craig and Annie, gave me a t-shirt that said 'You've Tried the Rest, Now Try the Best' on the back. After being propositioned by a smarmy guy at Whole Foods, I put the shirt into retirement. After dinner last night, I'm bringing it back out.

These days I find it tough to try a new restaurant when we go out. I have a handful of favorites and I know when I visit these places, I'm going to get amazing food that is worth the expense. I hate the thought of trying somewhere new, having it be just okay, and paying an arm and a leg.

For the past months, my very favorite restaurant has been Pizzeria Delfina on California Street. Maybe you've heard the latest Yelp-related stories about the place but, I'm over that and all about the food. The restaurant is in my hood and I started going there because I loved the idea of frequenting my friend's restaurant. I've kept going not for that reason but, because it really is some of the best food in SF. I can't imagine eating anywhere else and having such amazing food at such a good value. I'm not saying this is cheap food-you can go to Domino's for that. It is quality food made from the best products possible and cooked with care and love for very reasonable prices.

There were three of us last night and we ate plenty. We started with a Tricolore Salad of radicchio, arugula, and endive tossed in a simple, fresh vinaigrette and
topped with ribbons of quality Parmesan. Next it was the Broccoli di Ciccio, fried so light it was more like tempura than a thick batter. On to pizza-we had the Gricia, a special pie last night with house cured guanciale, spring onions, and panna (yep, cream)-it was decadent without being over the top. We also tried the Calzone, which I'd never ordered before. It was full of wild nettles and ricotta and had a nice acidic bite from, I think, a little lemon. Stuffed Escarole and Stuffed Shells were full of creamy cheese, well balanced red sauce and even a little kick from anchovies in the shells. Pretending we weren't stuffed to the brim we had two desserts! First it was the new to the menu Gelato sundae, made with vanilla gelato, Amarena cherries, pistachios, and whipped cream and topped at the table with hot fudge. We also tried the peanut straciatella gelato. Both were incredible! The gelato is made in house, infused with fresh flavors and not too sweet.

I love the vibe at the Pizzeria too. It's loud, busy, and casual but, the servers are efficient, they know the menu, and they don't rush you out even when there are 20 people waiting for your table. Mary had a great idea last night-open a gelateria next door and tables would turn a lot faster as diners walk over for a cup or a cone.

I will always go back to Pizzeria Delfina. In fact, l'll go before I try most four star restaurants in the city. I've tried a lot of the new and 'hip' restaurants in SF but, now that I have, I'm back to trying to the best.

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