My choices in the neighborhood were dwindling, so I've been ecstatic about the recent quality additions to the North Beach restaurant scene. Tony's, which has been discussed heavily, is definitely a positive addition. But the two more recent additions that I thought I'd mention are Naked Lunch (lunch only) and Don Pistos (dinner/late nite only).
I've tried three sandwiches at Naked Lunch and they have all been delicious. Overall, the quality of ingredients is extremely high, and the flavors are bold and work well in combination. Their refreshers are also consistently good. I am looking forward to a week when I can drop by for fried chicken sandwich Tuesdays. Having tried both Kitchenette and Pal's at least 3 times each, I would say that Naked Lunch is in the same league, but their sandwiches are made in a different style. And the great thing (for me) is that there is FINALLY a place like this in North Beach. North Beach is still way behind the Mission in terms of gourmet eats though...
Don Pistos is the Mexican restaurant that recently replaced El Raigon. The amazing thing is that the grill from El Raigon stayed, and as a result the pork chop al pastor with charred pineapple was full of smoky goodness. The hamburger with bacon (mixed in the patty) and guac was also a good rendition. The carne asada tacos were made from quality beef, cooked medium rare and served with a red salsa. The tomatillo salsa, chips, and pickled jalapenos were all clearly housemade as well. The scallop ceviche was the only dish I thought was just average, because it was too raw and the flavors didn't quite meld. Don Pistos is not as inexpensive as a taco truck or the mission burrito places, but their ingredients are higher quality and the menu more refined yet affordable.
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