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help me choose 3 dinners -- Italian(ish), Latin, and ?

foodfirst | Mar 23, 200502:13 AM

Totally clueless abt the San Fran dining scene since I gave up my subscription to San Francisco mag, haven't been back in two years, perused recent posts but confused by too much choice!
In the past we have loved (1) Merenda for its homey food, warm welcoming atmosphere; (2) Alma for the creative but still down-to-earth dishes (yucca gratin, yum); (3) Piperade bec it was just incredibly delicious.
Nothing too too fancy, nothing pretentious or precious, do not like my food to be excessively played with before I get it (no sculptural/architectural presentations), and I hate hate hate attitude at the door or anywhere else (we were thinking Quince but I hesitate now bec of a few posts to this effect). Would love a place with a cheese course but not necess, very interesting wine list a plus (sounds like a personal ad).
Just deliciously memorable food in a comfortable, friendly setting.
Also, I recall reading of some shack-type place by the Bay that offers yummy deep-fried whitebait?
You've steered me right in the past hounds, please help!

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