I dropped by Ristorante Milano for dinner on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Milano is located on Pacific between Larkin and Hyde in a residential area. It is a small, narrow restaurant with most tables close together. A small room in front by the windows has a few two- and four-seat tables with more room.
There was a good list of specials in addition to a small, traditional menu. Specials last night included soft polenta with rabbit, a veal dish and fish. I opted for something tried and true to give me a sense of how good the kitchen is. I ordered Insalata Caprese, and Penne ala Puttanesca.
The meal started with a basket of good, but not outstanding, foccacia served with a very good quality olive oil for dipping.
The Insalata Caprese was made from cherry tomatoes, which were not ripe. The salad was insufficiently seasoned, and was bland. The serving size was reasonable.
The serving of Penne ala Puttanesca was little on the small side, and though the pasta had the correct 'al dente' texture, the sauce was plain and could have benefited from more anchovies and red pepper flakes.
The service was extremely friendly and competent. I never had to wait for anything, and they offered to let me taste the several wines by the glass to make a choice. The check for salad, pasta and a $7 glass of wine was $34, including tip.
All in all, Ristorante Milano is a competent neighborhood restaurant, which I am sure, deserves its popularity with the locals. I am mystified, however, as to how it turned up on Citysearch's list of best restaurants in San Francisco. Perhaps the rabbit, fish or veal would have been better. For the simple salad and pasta meal I tried here, I would recommend Cafe Macaroni, Ristorante Umbria or Pazzia as better places.