I recently visited Cotogna for dinner and this morning saw that Bauer loved it in Sunday's paper. While good, I was not overly impresssed.
The space has a urban loft feel with large windows that look out on to Pacific Ave. There is exposed brick, tile floors, wood and steel about the dining area. It is an attactive space.
We were sat about 15-20 minutes late for our reservation and there is really no place to wait. Some diners are showing up early for their reservation and the doorway gets cramped with waiting diners.
The tables are rather close together, many tables are elbow to elbow and the hard surfaces throughout the restaurant make it very difficult to have a conversation. It was difficult to even hear the waitstaff describing dishes. I had to ask for descriptions to be repeated often.
The design is nice with the wood burning oven, the glassware and dinnerware are sleek but then they put paper placemats on the table with the word Cotogna on them, which I did not care to see. It felt cheap. I also did not care for the dish towel napkins, similar to Nopa. At Nopa they are fine the place is kind of funky, hip. At Cotogna I would prefer normal napkins. I get they are trying to have a rustic, casual feel but parts are very sleek and others just contrast as not refined (dish towels and paper place mats). Frances pulls this refined casual blend better without resorting to paper mats and dish towel napkins.
The front of house does a great job. Everyone from the hostess, floor managers, bussers and waitstaff is delightful.
The food is good but not great. The pastas are well done but I didn't find them any better than Perbacco, SPQR, etc.
The bread (offered by request) is a cold lackluster sliced baguette (possibly Acme).
Meats from the grill are also good but my pork was overcooked and a little dry on parts.
The desserts were fair, my crostata had a nice light flaky crust but there was very little fruit and it was mostly "crust"-tata.
Parking is a pain, unless you want to valet park.
All and all it was fine, but considering the tight quarters, loud dining room, difficulty parking and getting a reservation and the food wasn't better than what you can find at other well respected italian restaurants in SF I am not rushing back.
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133