Although Italians originally invented pasta as a fastener to keep Sicily from floating away, they abandoned it for less-delicious moorings after locals on both sides kept snacking their way toward separation. Tether your taste buds to today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of traditional Italian fare and drinks at Fior d'Italia, located in North Beach in the historic San Remo Hotel.
Founded in 1886, Fior has more experience in delighting taste buds with traditional Italian cuisine than a Ford Model T. Today, Chef Gianni Audieri whips up authentic Italian dishes using fresh and local ingredients. Take a gander a Fior's extensive menu before prepping mouths with starters such as escargot baked with garlic, fennel, and butter ($14), and crespelle con granzevola, a crêpe filled with crab meat, cheese, and butter sauce ($16). Daily-made pastas include ravioli di zucca, stuffed with pumpkin, mustard fruit, pine nuts, and amaretti and smothered in sage sauce ($16), and meaty entrees include coniglio ai funghi con polenta, a succulent rabbit stew in wine and wild mushrooms ($27). Sea-friendly tongue-stoppers include salmone al vapore, a poached salmon swimming in white wine, leeks, carrots, and celery ($28), and the house-styled cioppino is served with a glitzy entourage of crab, scallops, calamari, mussels, and potatoes ($36), to parade down the mouth's red carpet in style.
Fior's rich history includes the survival of several famous natural disasters, with the restaurant rising each time from the ashes akin to a penne-powered Phoenix. The warm, inviting interior offers couples, families, and feral coworkers a place to kick back with the extensive wine list, sure to evoke memories of a babyhood spent in Umbria.
Though reviewers have varied opinions on service, everybody praises the authenticity of Fior's menu and experience. OpenTable diners give Fior d'Italia an average of 3.8 stars, and TripAdvisors give it an average of 3.5. Yelpers weigh in with a three-star average, and Citysearchers give it an average of four:
In 1886, Angelo Del Monte and Papa Marianetti opened Ristorante Fior D’Italia and quickly earned the patronage of nearby bordello clients. Over the years, the Northern Italian eatery transformed into a bastion of the Italian community, and is now celebrating their 127th anniversary. After the 1906 earthquake, chefs fed the homeless soup from within tents, and over the last century, the banquet halls have hosted hundreds of wedding parties. The dining room retains Fior D’ Italia’s 19th century influence, with its original mahogany bar, old central Italy countryside mural, dozens of historical pictures, and occasional hauntings by Gold Rush prospectors. Similarly Chef Gianni Audieri strives to pay homage to the eatery’s roots, showcasing traditional northern Italian pasta dishes as well as other dishes peppered with local produce.