California | San Rafael | Thai01 Nov 2016 09:15 am

A great Thai restaurant that really stands out – owner is a transplant from Chicago and this place gets it right.

Dishes are special – the combination $15 appetizer is worth the visit and enough for four. Seafood curry, Pad Thai, chicken broccoli and bacon wrapped shrimp were all great. Beverage prices are adequate and fairly priced.

Thai Aroi-Dee

1518 Fourth Street

San Rafael, CA 94901

(415)295-7464

Open for lunch every day 11am – 3pm

Dinner from 5pm to 9pm (10pm Friday & Saturday)

California | Italian | Santa Cruz01 Nov 2016 08:43 am

Gem of authenticity with owners from New York with Sicilian background.

Wow! The Sunday Gravy which took hours to prepare was the perfect Bolognese style pasta sauce (though the word sauce does not give this thick and luscious staple of good cooking any justice). Pat Bruno’s recipe from one of the Chicago newspapers has been attempted in Chicago several times with some success and Lillian’s comes in close.

Appetizers are well prepared; try their gnocchi (they melt in your mouth)! Bread is perfect and wine choices adequate and fairly priced.

Location is great with plenty of parking nearby (and away from the hustle and bustle of “downtown” Santa Cruz and the waterfront).

Lillian’s

1148 Soquel Ave.

Santa Cruz, CA 95062

(831)425-2288

Closed Monday

Open 4 to 9 pm (Sat & Sun until 10 pm)

 

 

California | Fairfax | Italian11 Jan 2014 02:23 pm

Great little spot with wine from casks made to owner’s specifications – both the red and white were good.

Shared freshly made ravioli with pumpkin squash filling – they split the order in the kitchen – always a good sign.

We will definitely be back.

Small spot so reservations would be a good idea during prime dining time.

Fradelizio’s Ristorante Italiano

35 Broadway

Fairfax, CA 94930

(415)459-1618

Italian | San Francisco | Tony's Top Ten05 Dec 2013 09:37 am

This one makes my Top Ten!

Chef/Owner Sergio Giusti brings his home cooking knowledge from a small town near Firenze – and his food is some of the best Italian food I have eaten outside of Italy. He spent time in Chicago for years and knows all of the better Chicago Italian restaurants and their chefs (La Scarola, Piccolo Sogno, Bruna’s, Coco Pazzo, etc.) – I am sorry he left Chicago!

This small, noisy restaurant in a happening part of San Francisco (you definitely need a reservation most nights) has an exciting ambiance (more like a New York spot) Рbut why not go where the in-crowd goes? One of his specialties is gnocchi with a light cream tomato sauce Рthe gnocchi melt in your mouth. The roast chicken is perfectly prepared with the right spices and tenderness. The Veal Saltimbocca Alla Romano was tender with just the right amount of prosciutto and fontina cheese.

Salt alert: none needed here – Sergio does not mask the flavor of his cooking with too much salt – what a concept.

Next time I will have the Malanzane Alla Leonardo Da Vinci – my quest for the best Malanzane continues.

Wine list is thorough but not ridiculous; nice Barbera de Alba and Dolcetta de Alba choices along with other great Italian wines.

Also, the prices are very reasonable.

1429 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 392-8585
Firenze by Night website

California | Carmel | Italian | Melanzane23 Sep 2006 01:30 pm

The beautiful town of Carmel has one of the best little Italian restaurants in California. Strolling the idyllic, artistic, tree-lined, quiet town and arriving at an elegant little spot like Mondo’s is a great experience. It’s what vacations are all about.

The service staff treated us with great care and even moved us to the corner window spot after the previous occupants left. It all began with good bread and good wine – a Durney Vineyard 98 Carmel Valley Pinot Noir. I have to admit my homemade pinot noir has a bit to go to compete with this quality – but what a nice new CA wine area to navigate and discover.

Sharing the Melanzane and special veal entree were excellent choices. The Melanzane is among the best. Veal was Provimi as you would expect in the land of healthy and quality food (luv ya – California). Tutto Mindo will be a sure visit whenever we are in Carmel.

Dolores Street between Ocean & 7th

Carmel, CA 93921

(831)624-8977

www.mondos.com

California | Italian | Monterey23 Sep 2006 12:19 pm

Monterey has loads of fine restaurants, but this one was chosen away from the tourist areas but close enough to our hotel near the ocean; we do have a good nose for restaurants.

The restaurant is branded ” A Local’s Place” though we could not assess this branding as we were there midweek and late in the day. We shared a spinach salad (oops, guess not in the future until the fresh spinach scare is clarified/resolved) and ricotta basil raviola and I had minestrone as well. Wine choices are adequate and the pours are fair; guess the increasing popularity of Monterey and Carmel Valley wines has improved things at Joe’s.

Service was very friendly and their open kitchen approach should be a standard; nothing to hide here.

2149 North Fremont Street

Monterey, CA

(831)655-3355

www.montereyjoes.com

California | Corte Madera | Italian | Melanzane | Pizza05 Jul 2006 11:59 am

Mario & Tony (the chef) Farahmand transplanted themselves from Iran to California,with a childhood (and growing up in the Italian restaurant business) in Italy before Corte Madera. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your journey to an area we visit often. I will again praise an eggplant dish prepared exactly to my liking – tender, not greasey, with a fresh marinara sauce consisting mainly of diced, flavorful tomatoes. Wow! Other dishes with my companions included a really thin crust pizza with prosciutto, and a pasta/chicken dish – both very good. The focaccia style bread was a hit with the fresh garlic/spices/olive oil.

Wine choices are extensive for such a small place – variety from many places, and some very decent Barbera and Dolcetta selections by the glass and bottle. Wine prices are fair.

Sharing a tiramasu was not a bad idea either. Coffee is good, and service very friendly (even with a 2.5 year old in tow). Friendly staff as well as elegant/casual surroundings.

18 Tamalpais Drive
Corte Madera, CA 94925
(415)927-2316
www.benissimos.com

Beverly Hills | California08 Jan 2006 10:35 am

See my comments on the San Francisco location. This newer of their places is larger and fun (see Dracula).

55 North La Cienega Blvd.
(Near Wilshire)
(310)652-7673

www.thestinkingrose.com

California | San Francisco08 Jan 2006 10:31 am

The original in San Francisco is a garlic lover’s paradise – garlic in everything, even in the ice cream if you choose (not me – I prefer hot fudge). I have not had a dish here which I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. The starter of baked garlic/oil to accompany the bread is almost reason enough to stop here. I am partial to the garlic meatloaf and garlic mashed (smashed would imply too much eclecticness) potatoes. Wine choices are fair as well as the pours.

Their “gift shop” has some very unusual garlic-themed items. During my first visit I finished half a bottle of pickled garlic before bed time – WOW!

325 Columbus Avenue (near Broadway)
San Francisco, CA
(415) 781-7673
www.thestinkingrose.com

California | Italian | San Francisco01 Jan 2006 05:42 pm

The North Beach neighborhood in San Francisco has a multitude of good Italian restaurants – and Rose Pistola came highly recommended by a midwestern visitor – thanks for the recommendation.

Our lunch consisted of several appetizers (though the meal was just this last October I failed to note the choices); also Italian wines by the glass from an interesting selection from many regions.

Next time I’ll take notes and make specific recommendations.

532 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 399-0499

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