Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends
432 Powell St. (near Sutter St.)
Cuisine: Simple Italian
Pluses: Large, bustling trattoria.
Minuses: Noisy dining room.
Prices: Appetizers $5.50-$9.50; Entrees $15-$23.50
Overview: M-Sa 8am-midnight; Su 9a-midnight
Donna and Giovanni Scala, of Napa's celebrated Bistro Don Giovanni, created a stylish dining room in the Sir Francis Drake hotel meant to look like it's been there for years: dark wood booths, fanciful murals of vegetables, fruits and vegetables. The innovative but simple Californian-Italian menu is deliberately more contemporary, with modern combinations like a Earth & Surf featuring crispy calamari, shrimp, fennel and green beans paired with a spicy aioli or a solid grilled pork chop, double cut, with artichokes, heirloom potatoes, and a garlic-tomato compote. Most everything tastes delicious, and the portions verge on humungus. The location, in the heart of Union Square draws shoppers, tourists and locals. Be sure to ask about the cheese offerings - a savory way to end a repast here. Scala's version of Bostini cream pie or the Chocolate I.V. will end your meal on the right note. Reservations suggested.