I recently posted a query regarding Acquarello. Thanks to a handful of responses and suggestions, we ended up going to Ristorante Milano insted and my choice was a real hit with everyone. We had such a splendid meal!
Firstly, our party of 4 took the trolley car over to Pacific and Hyde (fun!) and got there at just after 8. I apologised to the beautiful donna with the long dark tresses for being almost 1/2 an hour early. Our hosts were truly gracious and gave us a choice of two four tops. Turns out I'd mixed up the times with the next night's rez, so we were actually more or less on time.
The four of us shared two apps, had a fantastic pasta meal each then shared two warm and delcious zabaglione. Plus two ~$40 bottles of really great Italian wine -- bill was about $100 per couple before tips. I was amazed!
This was one of the best Italian meals I have ever had, second only to Valentino and Angelini Osteria (Lasagne Verdi!) in LA. I have eaten at various locales in Italy, but sadly nothing memorable and certainly not recently.
Valpolicella Ripasso, Semonte Alto $38 - Veneto 2003. Excellent.
Proscuitto and figgi and also arugola (we think - he can't remember any, I think I can...) Lovely ripe figs, really mild and delicious proscuitto (I generally find it too stong tasting).
The others had what I think was the highlight of the meal -- calimari. Perfectly cooked, tender and a tiny bit charred. We squeezed some lemon juice on top. Perfect.
Pesto angel hair or linguini (forget) was really remarkable - included walnuts in the pesto and that made it stand out.
Penne puttanesca with some Italian sausage on the side. Again, extremely flavourful sauce and great sausage.
Clams and mussels -- apparently very good.
Mine was pumpkin ravioli with sage butter sauce. Actually, it wasn't the best I've ever had... The dough was a bit thick and the filling was unremarkable. The sauce didn't have nearly enough sage in it. But I ate it all.
Everything else was outstanding. All the specials -- even the salmon one, which is something I never order bc it's so easy to cook at home -- sounded fantastic and we all wanted to order practically everything we were told about.
Just one little observation -- I was amazed at the painstaking detail the older guy went into in describing the food. "Risotto -- that's a rice dish etc" Really?
Anyway, I emphatically recommend this neighbourhood restaurant for its high calibre of fare, its warm and welcoming vibe and -- above all -- its extremely resonable prices.
I just wanted to thank the SF chapter of this warm and informative board for your thoughtful suggestions.