519 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9413337.799853 -122.409549
Sun-Mon and Wed-Thurs 11:30am-10pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm
Neighborhoods: North Beach, Northeast
Despite the zillion places to get pizza in North Beach, this place still turns out some of the finest; thin crust and perfect toppings. Oh, and they have other Italian food, too, but why bother. When you can eat pizza, eat pizza.
Good food, cute place – This place is tiny and very narrow, but the food and service was great! Definitely has an older feel---i.e. not hip and trendy, but homey and comfortable. I ordered the special of the day which was cornish hen and it was excellent---not at all dry and the flavors were delicious. It was also pretty reasonably priced--for the two of us, we got a glass of wine, two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts and it came out to about $55. We were both full and very satisfied! I'd go back for a midweek dinner with one or two friends, but probably not with a group or on a weekend as I imagine it'd take awhile to get seated...
I Love this place. – The review by the ghost just goes to show that you can't please everyone. This place is great! My husband and I eat here once a week, it reminds us of our trips to Italy. I'm sure if one is used to Ital/American food laden with thick sauces and garlic, the food might seem bland, but I think it's a bit more refined. If one is used to ostentatious, man manipulated, American wines, more traditional wines from Italy would not appeal. The pizza at L'Osteria is the best! The roasted meats and vegeatables, so fresh! The service is great, we always feel welcome.
Consistently Good – This is a fantastic store-front place. I have been coming for over 10 years and it is simple service and simple food done very well. My father has been a chef for over 45 years and loves this spot. Their focaccia is buttery and lovely as are any of their starters, sandwiches or pizzas. I cant believe the previous review. This restaurant is not fine dining. If he thinks the bread has no flavor, then he probably hasnt been to Italy, where the breads have no salt. If people want their food to be exactly from Italy, then go to Italy. There is no hype, thats the point, its just good. Its not a scene or a seen-and-be-seen type of place, either. Their wine is decent, inexpensive wine and isnt trying to win any awards. Visit if you are a real and authentic lover of good relaxing food.
Don't believe the hype! Below Average. – Don't be fooled! A long line does not necessarily equate to good dining! DO NOT FALL INTO THIS FALLACY!!!
Waited 40 minutes for a party of 3. Was waiting to be amazed, even with the cramped conditions tried to have an open mind and palate. Was thoroughly disappointed. Carpaccio appetizer- was completely forgettable. They only had green olives-mediocre. Bread -no flavor. Tricolore (tomato/basil/ mozarella) also forgettable. Wine was bad. My wife had the polenta, I had the pasta al forno with Bechemel sauce: disgusting. There were peices of sausage that were dried up (as if left under the broiler all night). Then tried my wife's polenta with the Gruyere cheese- a texture like rubber. Eeeechh! Finished with Tiramisu- yawn. Espresso: OK. And yes, I know Italy: this is nothing like that! Dont believe the hype. Theres nothing special about LOsteria.
One of the Best – We go here as often as possible when we are in San Francisco, one of the best places we have eaten anywhere. The pizza is incredible and the roasts amazing. The focaccia sandwiches have to be tasted to be believed.
The only two complaints I have EVER heard about this place are 1) The wait. 2) Waiters not 'attentive'. First off the wait (never waited longer than 30 minutes) is well worth it, partly as it filters out the obnoxious blowhards (which improves the dining experience). 2) The service is not fawning or excessively attentive, and all the better for it. If you don't enjoy your food unless someone is constantly at your elbow then tough, though you probably didn't bother waiting so wont be bothered by this.
In short this place is the best restaurant in SF.
I recently came back from Italy and wanted to keep the magic alive so I asked someone where I could find some great Italian food, REAL Italian food, not the Ital/American usual fair of Spaghetti and meatballs, or pasta swimming in alfredo sauce. They pointed me in the direction of L'Osteria del forno. The food, service and ambiance, was well worth the wait. We started w/pumkin ravioli, and scallops for starters, and then shared a pizza(the best!!) and the roasted milk braised pork with salad, and a fabulous yet inexpensive bottle of Italian Red. We finished the wonderful meal with a tiramisu, torta di ricotta, and a couple of grappas and esspressos. Just like in Italy! The food was simple but wonderful! I've read reviews that say the food is pricey, well yes, if you compare l'osteria's salad with the McShaker salad I guess it would seem expensive.
Food worth it - Wait is not – After waiting in line for over one hour, and stairing at an empty table for 30 minutes we were happy to find that the food didn't disappoint and was a great value. The pork was tender and delicious, pizza was great and the tiramisu is a must try. The only down side is if you can handle the long wait and somewhat abrupt service.
A Neighborhood Treasure – Yes, the lines are long, but for good reason. This intimate restauarant, owned by two Italian sisters, is one of the best and most affordable places to eat in North Beach. My husband and I live just a few blocks away and come here often. We love the unpretentiousness of the place, the coziness (just 10 tables), the excellent list of affordable Italian wines, and the fantastic food. Everything is always fresh, and they make their own focaccia, which is brought warm to your table with a sprinkling of sea salt. You can purchase an entire pizza or very generous slices, but definitely try it. It's some of the best in the city. We also love the Insalata Rustica. And if the Pumpkin Ravioli is on the specials board, definitely try it. It's homemade right in North Beach.
hidden gem in north beach – this is one of my favorite places to eat ... period. the roast of day (pork in milk sauce) is beyond succulent. i have yet to be disappointed at this hidden gem by either the food, wine or wonderful service. due to it's small size, a wait may be necessary but it' well worth the wait. enjoy.
Please don't go here – because then it will just be more difficult to get in. When I step throught the door, I feel like I'm in an authentic italian bistro. There are only about 9 tables, so go early or late. The service is unpretentious. It's just great for a leisurely dining experience, but not for high maintenance diners who find themselves constantly flagging down servers.
The food is utterly fantastic, not the typical american/italian fare you find in most places in north beach. The tiramisu is the best, the coffee is fantastic. They don't take reservations.
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