There are many adjustments to make on the way from Boston to San Francisco, some easier than others. My favorite recent discovery: San Francisco’s lowest recorded temperature is 53 degrees higher than Boston’s. How is it possible this was kept secret from me?
Well that covers the weather. Here’s what I’ve concluded about food on either coast in one profound sentence: there are similarities and there are differences. The support for organic, local, and sustainable food sources is a bicoastal phenomenon, and so is the fact that doing interesting things with this high quality food, that the general public cannot, will most likely land the restaurant a “Best” acknowledgement. What appears different between Boston and San Francisco is where you go to find the best restaurants.
Difference #1: The ‘great’ appears to be more widely distributed here, in number and in location. In Boston, we know the South End has high-end intimate eateries, Somerville is home to the up-and-coming Chef’s trends, and the North End is where you go for good Italian food. But in San Francisco, everything is all over the place.
Within three days of being in the city I was lucky enough to have some wonderful family friends take me to Delfina, a highly admired destination that’s home to James Beard Awarded Chef Craig Stoll. Owned by Craig and his wife Anne, Delfina makes its home in SF’s Mission District. Remember the Disney World ride ‘It’s a Small World’? That’s what this neighborhood looks like, a rainbow of cultures. It’s where you go for the best original Mexican joints, best Chinese food, it’s home to Tartine (a well-known bakery), many dollar and antique stores, and wonderfully colorful yet decrepit storefronts. This is what gives the food scene here its diversity: this higher-end eatery comfortably situated among such environs.
Fun fact about Delfina: They once made headlines for looking bad yelp reviews square in the face. They made T-shirts with the quotes from 1 star reviews for the staff to wear. One of them being: “This place sucks.” Don’t be mislead, though, it most definitely does not suck. It’s, in fact, good enough to give a big F-you like such to the negative feedback it receives.
Ok, now for the food. We started with one item each off the Sputini and Antipasti lists. The first, though it was called Gnocchi, had no resemblance to the thing whatsoever. It was more what I would call, ‘Potato puff with Prosciutto on top.’ It was tasty nonetheless. The prosciutto is a favorite of Delfina, as it’s cured in-house.
Next was the Calamari, which was also differently than the typical. Definitely not finger food, the meat’s fried crust was replaced by a tangy lemon sauce and white beans. I would drink that sauce. For my entree I had the Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Sage Brown Butter and chestnuts $18 (pictured at the top). Their pasta is the other item that brings praise to Delfina, as it’s made fresh in-house. My agnolotti was perfectly sweet and tender. The Chicken was fall off the bone soft, and the Steak was extremely flavorful, and with the fries and sauces on its plate you could never get bored.
I enjoyed Delfina, to say the least: at the first bite of my prosciutto and “gnocchi” I thought I was in love, our server was very knowledgable, and I have almost no complaints about any of the entrees I tasted. The only thing I can say is that I must return after I’ve had more to compare to!
Delfina & Delfina Pizzeria
3621 18th St.
The Mission District
San Francisco, CA