Building on an idea that first fruited in the Burgundy and Bordeaux regions of France, Mountain View Winery became one of California's first n?gociant wineries in 1978, its winemakers concocting vintages by curating, blending, and aging a harvest of grapes from rigorously vetted vineyards. Owner Angelo Pera strives to deliver a compelling product by partnering with organic growers and packaging companies and indoctrinates new or interested customers during spirit-sampling symposiums. Throughout tastings, visitors glean each grape's origin, method of production, and propensity for carpet staining.
Whether seated in Servino Ristorante's waterfront dining room or on its second-story patio, diners can feast their eyes on San Francisco's skyline and watch sailboats meander past Angel Island. The restaurant's inspiration, however, comes from a distant location: southern Italy. The resemblance is evident in everything from its rustic cuisine to the staff's hospitality.
Light from a wood-burning brick oven flickers in one corner of the kitchen, roasting pizzas topped with combinations such as cremini mushrooms and white-truffle oil or buffalo mozzarella and green garlic. Homemade pasta dishes and hearty seafood entrees round out the menu of trans-Atlantic comfort foods, which are complemented by wine or cocktails.
Though Servino Ristorante takes its inspiration from abroad, the spot keep things closer to home when it comes to sourcing. Chefs source the majority of their organic produce and humanely raised meats from sustainable suppliers in the area. In addition to accolades for its locally sourced cuisine, Servino received recognition from the California Green Business Program, which honored the eatery for its commitment to ecofriendly practices and energy-conservation efforts.
Boasting a bacchanal of wallet-friendly selections from local and international wineries (most bottles are under $25), Vintage Berkeley promotes an atmosphere of grape-loving camaraderie. Pick up a limited-edition bottle of 2007 Tayerle pinot noir ($15), culled from old-vine fruit in the Rio San Lucas vineyard in California, or a vivacious and slightly fizzy 2009 Muralhas vinho verde ($15) from Monco, Portugal. To lubricate a languid backyard barbecue or a daunting brick of cafeteria meatloaf, pick up a bottle of 2007 Chateau l’Estagnol ($10) from the Rhone Valley—with solid tannins and rich notes of blackberry and cherry, it has a meaty finish to tame even the heartiest of rib eyes. Celebrate an end-of-summer LAN party with a bottle of 2009 Preston sauvignon blanc from Dry Creek Valley in California, made from organic grapes and featuring flavors of lime, chive, and fig ($16).
Noeteca‘s owners spent their lives looking forward to running their own restaurant, so it’s no surprise that the French-inspired tapas spot feels comfortable in its own skin from early morning meals until late into the night. During the day, Noeteca seems like a cafe, where patrons sip on international coffees from local roasters brewed by the cup or for personal-sized French presses. At brunch menu, familiar dishes share space with ambitious French-inspired offerings—the croque monsieur becomes a croque Napoleon with slices of bread pudding layered with black forest ham and emmantaler. When the weather is nice, guests can wander out to a patio colored by a flower and herb garden to learn the sun’s secret handshake.
As evening falls, candlelight fills the dining room and guests switch their focus to wine. The award-winning list includes more than 30 varieties, each available by the glass or half-glass. For dinner, patrons can build their own cheese plates or share a tarte flambèe, Alsatian flatbreads the San Francisco Bay Guardian said have “a lovely thin, blistered crust that was a bit softer and more luxurious than a typical pizza crust”.
Food Inc. Trattoria seeks its inspiration from near and far. Beginning with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, the eatery's chefs prepare seasonally rotating selections of pan-Mediterranean bistro cuisine.
The Wine Cellar
Rather than stick with just the basics, Food Inc. Trattoria's wine buyer hopes to introduce diners to lesser known varietals and winemaking regions. Greek moschofilero, French picpoul de pinet, and a ros? of Californian carignan represent a few choices from the everchanging list. The staff eagerly recommends bottles to share with a group of friends or newly discovered spirit animals.
The brainchild of two native San Franciscan chefs, Dell'Uva sprung from a joint love of food and wine, inspired by travels around the world. After finishing culinary school, Juri McCorkle set off on a journey that carried his palate from Vietnamese markets to Swedish harvests, learning new cooking techniques and ways of saying "These are onion tears" along the way. Returning to the states with a renewed sense of epicurean adventurism, Juri teamed up with chef Jason Marcucci. Together, the two dreamed up a food and wine venue reminiscent of cozy caf?s found abroad. The result was Dell'Uva, where an extensive selection of domestic and imported varietals transports palates across the globe, from Napa Valley to Argentina. Diners tuck into tapas from a menu focused on locally sourced ingredients, along with artisan cheeses and charcuterie-cured meats. Dishes pair with themed wine flights composed of vintages from Bordeaux, bubbly wines from France, Italy, and Napa, and dessert wines. Reclining on the outdoor patio or inside amidst the warm tones of the bar and dining room, guests snack on house-cured rosemary balsamic olives, rustic pizzas, and rich desserts.