There are many Italian restaurants in San Francisco, but only a handful serve food that competes with what you find in a very good restaurant in Italy. So, I was thrilled to find Farina which serves Ligurian (and Italian) cuisine. I dare say it may just be the best Italian restaurant in the city. Here’s why:
- The Proscuitto San Daniele and burrata (fresh cheese made from mozzarella and cream) appetizer was excellent and it was served on a very delicious focaccino bread;
- The gnocchetti with fresh tomato sauce and olives was savoury and spicy with what seemed to be a hint of ginger;
- The testaroli with porcini mushrooms, garlic and parsley is possibly the best pasta + mushroom dish I’ve ever had in the city;
- They have a wide selection of Italian wines, especially the Barbera d’Alba which is my favorite; they have Barbarescos, too. Many restaurants in SF carry a meagre selection of Italian wines.
- They have many different kinds of grappa, again unusual for San Francisco (except for the grappa bar at the Hotel Intercontinental).
- They serve limoncello, another rarity.
- The semifreddo alle mandorle was divine – it had bits of caramel and cherry – an unbelievably delicious combination.
- The pastas were all hand-made and as they were primi piatti (first courses), the portions were as they should be for primi piatti. I did not get around to ordering the secondi or the pasta with pesto which seems to be their speciality (maybe next time, and there will be a next time because this restaurant is now in my Top 5).
Farina is located in a very large “industrial” space with high-ceilings and a lot of light, giving you the luxury of space unlike many restaurants that cram people into a tiny room. The metal tables have an “old cafe” look and feel, but everything is very modern. The service is very good.
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