I took my fiance and a group of friends (14 people total) to Vino e Cucina last night to celebrate his birthday. The restaurant had come up in a little research I did on good places for groups and I remembered eating there once years ago. We got a very nice and private table in the back and ordered family style. We had Bruschetta (crunchy country bread, slightly brushed with garlic and nice ripe yet al dente tomatoes), a big bowl of classic Cesare (not too garlicky, not too heavy on the mayonnaise) and a big bowl of Insalata Mista as appetizers and then shared a Margherita (excellent and very thin crust and thin, bubbly tomato sauce with mozarella) and a Spinach & Gorgonzola Pizza (spinach was fresh, and just coarsely chopped and blanched, a nice difference to the spinach "mush" you often find on pizza), very well balanced Penne Arrabiata, seared tuna with grilled portabellas (flavorful but a little on the dry side), an outstanding chicken marsala as well as a side of roasted potatoes and spinach. For dessert, the owner arranged small taste size plates of Lemon Tart (very tasty and lemony but a little on the hard side for my taste) and their homemade tiramisu (very creamy yet light). We drank 5 bottles of 2001 Mazzolada Merlot and half of four of us had coffee. The total came to $46 per person incl. tip. Aside from the very good food (it all arrived at the same time so we were actually all able to eat together), the service was remarkable and worth mentioning. Granted it was a slower school night but the owner was also the only waitress that night and handled our group plus the rest of the customers with a lighthearted confidence and calm that I have not experienced in any restaurant in the city when faced with a group dinner situation. We all felt like being at a friend's house. Also, the restaurant is conveniently located for people coming from all directions (we had friends come from the South Bay, East Bay, Marina, etc.) and street parking is not a problem at all. Afterwards we all went to have an after dinner drink at Bacar which is only a five minute stroll away.
Vino e Cucina is located at 489 3rd St and they are open for lunch and dinner every day.