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.
Building on an idea that first fruited in the Burgundy and Bordeaux regions of France, Mountain View Winery became one of California's first négociant 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.
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”.
Of all the hooting and victory dancing coming from the group in the corner booth, only half of the commotion is a result of the game of Sorry! the group is immersed in. The other half occurs during breaks in the action when the competitors dig into the decadent morsels in front of them—desserts forged from ingredients such as rum mascarpone cream and homemade marshmallow. Evenings of spirited merrymaking capped with sweet treats are standard at Candybar, where seasoned pastry chef Cathleen Li handcrafts a rotating menu of cakes, ice creams, and sorbets.
To complement Li’s signature desserts, mixologists further tantalize taste buds with inventive cocktails ranging from the triple-chocolate bellini with chocolate sorbet to the blood-orange cocktail. Throughout the candlelit dining room, minimalist bulbs dangle from ceiling tracks, casting dancing shadows across plush red couches, black-and-white damask poufs, and contemporary artwork. A collection of board games infuses the dessert lounge’s chic atmosphere with a touch of whimsy and encourages good-natured rivalries between friends or high-stakes games to determine who gets the last bite of the ice-cream sundae.
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.
Established in 2009, The Vin Club—which grew out of proprietor Dario Zucconi’s background in producing handcrafted wines—pairs a rotating roster of more than 20 globetrotting vinos with a European-style café and upscale supper club. Once home to such bygone speakeasies as the Blue Moon Café, the contemporary lounge now features 12-foot ceilings and hand-blown pendant lights that glint off a wooden bar custom-built from wine-box tops and the finest chunks of the Trojan horse. Plumbing small artisan vineyards from California to Italy, The Vin’s experts handpick wines from terroir-focused producers to ensure high-quality glassfuls. Handmade salami headlines charcuterie plates at The Vin’s café, where artisanal cheeses and oven-baked eats accompany platters laden with homemade desserts. Echoing croons from Bay Area jazz musicians bounce off the dining room’s spread of local artwork during Friday-night supper clubs, where patrons can indulge in elegant cuisine while raising glasses to the toe-tapping spirit of Louis Armstrong.