Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends
Puccini and Pinetti
129 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94102 (415) 392-5500
Pluses: Good pizza and pasta, prompt service
Don't Miss: baked goat cheese appetizer, grilled lamb chops with baked polenta, cambazola & roasted mushrooms, 8 desserts and the sorbetto & profiteroles are different flavors daily
Prices: Moderate; pizza $8.75-$9.50, pastas $13.50-$19.95, entrees $12.75-$22.50
Overview: Open for Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday; dinner only on Sunday
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club, Discover, Japanese Credit Bureau, and Carte Blanche accepted
Parking on street or in local garages
It's fun, it's reasonably priced and the food is good. No wonder Puccini and Pinetti is often crowded. It's a comfortable neighborhood sort of place in a downtown location just a few blocks from Union Square.
The restaurant has the feel of a friendly trattoria, with yellow sponged walls and colorful murals of cafe scenes on the back and side walls. If you sit at the bar, you can watch the action in the open kitchen. Your server will bring house-made rosemary-scented focaccia for you to enjoy as you peruse the menu.
The menu includes pizzas with traditional crust; focaccia panini, such as grilled and roasted portobello mushroom panini; eight or ten different pastas, including the classic paglia e fieno (green and white fettucine with mushrooms, prosciutto, peas and Parmesan cheese); and a half dozen entrees, including a delicious grilled lamb chop dish. Side dishes worth sampling include sauteed spinach with raisins and pine nuts, Marsala mushrooms or grilled asparagus. Eight dessert choices, including an excellent tiramisu, finished out the evening.
Puccini and Pinetti has much to offer in addition to well-prepared food. It's very convenient, close to hotels, shopping and theaters and just a few block from Moscone Center. Servings are generous. The wine list has moderately priced selections from California and Italy, with 20 wines available by the glass. Service is friendly, professional and almost too prompt. Puccini and Pinetti is great if you've got kids in tow, and it's good for pre-theater dining, as you can get in and out quickly. It is popular, though, so reservations are a good idea.