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Fodor's Northern California 2014
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The formula here basically works: excellent cocktails, an array of affordable antipasti, solid pizzas, risottos, piatti del giorno (daily mains), and late dining until 1 am. The bartenders are both serious and friendly, smiling when they detail the ten or so gins you can choose from for your cocktail. The pizzas respect their Italian heritage (thin crusts, traditional and contemporary toppings) and the antipasti are an appealing mix of vegetables (the eggplant caponatina with burrata cheese is a standout), fish (a light fritto misto or marinated sardines), and artisanal salumi (cured meats). The long, ascetically outfitted room—tin ceiling, white walls, bare-wood tables—is casual and smart, and typically filled with a young crowd. What doesn't work here? Conversation, unless you speak pretty loudly or read lips. The weekend brunch is a hit with the neighborhood crowd. Reservations are accepted for groups of six or more only—but smaller groups can call ahead (up to an hour in advance) to get your name on the waiting list.
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