I don’t do restaurant reviews.  This is an exception.  I expect there will be more.  San Francisco is a special place for me.  I remember as a young boy first visiting San Francisco with my father sixty years ago.  He was the owner of a restaurant and hotel in the Sierras.  Some day I’ll write about that but today I want to write about L’Osteria.

Family restaurants, neighborhood gems, are an endangered species in San Francisco, a place I simply call The City.  Rents are skyrocketing.  Tourists are looking for the big, bold, highly advertised places where cell phones are as ubiquitous as the French bread and the food is formulaic and familiar.  If you don’t know where you’re going, any map will do, and there are plenty of guides to take you there.  Happily there are still a few small family run places that cater to customers who are more interested in the food than who they are going to meet or impress.


Go to L’Osteria before it’s too late.  Not that they are going anywhere soon.  A new generation took over last year and vows to keep the same Northern Italian cuisine for which L’Osteria is justifiably famous.

My wife and I have had many a happy lunch or dinner there and a few odd ones too.  Once, after over indulging at a local bar/restaurant around the corner on Green Street, I nearly passed out in a plate of pasta at L’Osteria.  Luckily my wife gracefully saved me and I managed to enjoy dinner without embarrassing myself, or at least that’s my story.


I don’t recommend that approach.  Certainly not.  The food at L’Osteria is so good that it deserves to be consumed only by those willing and able to appreciate it.  Simple, elegant, delicious … not pretentious … and reasonably priced.  The staff is knowledgeable and friendly.  What’s not to like?

I had lunch there today.  Like that famous pick up line “I could have chosen any girl but I chose you,” I chose L’Osteria, and I’ll choose it again and again.  You don’t need a menu with unpronounceable entrees, with ingredients you’ve never heard of, with some unidentifiable sauce squirted around the plate by a Jackson Pollock wanna be.  Keep it simple, meat and potatoes, elegant salads, delicious pizzas and pastas, and the best Italian wines.  Hey, if you want a cocktail, don’t fret, they have those too.


My birthday’s coming up soon.  As an old guy I can foist my opinions on you without fear of retaliation.  Hell, I could wear flowers in my hair and leave my heart on the Golden Gate Bridge and no one would notice.  So, I’m not worried about screwing up this first restaurant review.  I had a restaurant of my own once.  Running it was no piece of cake.  The guys and gals at L’Osteria are the real deal.

I’m feeling full as a tick and need a nap but I couldn’t sleep before passing this along.  If you find yourself in The City with an empty stomach, head over to North Beach and try L’Osteria.  If you like it, thank me with an email.  If not, just chalk it up to the fact that your tastes are not as discriminating as mine.