Gondolas Are Hard to Come By in San Francisco...But Italian Restaurants Aren’t!

November 13, 2020
Food & Drink
jason wolfe

Nobody ever said that Italian food can only be served up in Italy. Sometimes you just get a craving for some pizza. Or pasta. Or some really, really, really good cannolis. Most of us can’t just fly over to Italy on a whim to satisfy our cravings, so the next time you find yourself dreaming about carbonara, look no further than your own backyard! San Francisco is packed with Italian restaurants, and these are some of the absolute best.

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About GiftYa

There’s no denying that Italian cuisine brings forth some of the most delicious dishes in the entire world, but unfortunately it’s not always super affordable. At GiftYa, they understand that it might not always be in your budget to enjoy authentic Italian food whenever it strikes your fancy, and that’s why they come up with the idea to present you with e-gift cards to restaurants near you. Help to take a chunk out of a friend’s bill by ordering a GiftYa today!

Il Casaro Pizzeria & Mozzarella Bar

Image courtesy of Il Casaro Pizzeria & Mozzarella Bar Instagram

348 Columbus Ave | North Beach/Telegraph Hill | ilcarasopizzeria.com

Depending on which route you take, it can take anywhere from fourteen to sixteen hours to fly from San Francisco to Naples, Italy. 

If you’re hoping to get your hands on some authentic Italian pizza, skip the flight time and indulge in the local favorite that brings Italy right to your backyard at Il Casaro Pizzeria & Mozzarella Bar.

Just as you’ll find with any cuisine, there is no one, surefire way to make pizza around Italy. With Napolitan style pizza, they use a combination of mozzarella cured right in Naples, a special type of tomato that only grows in the 41 municipalities in Naples, and caputo flour to knead into their dough.

Here at Il Casaro Pizzeria & Mozzarella Bar, they import all of these very special ingredients from Italy and cook them up in a wood fired oven to give you a slice - or even a whole pie - of delicious Napolitan pizza.

“I need to take back all my 5 star yelps because this place is flat out amazing. Like mind blown, I can't figure out why this pizza is so damn amazing.” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Il Casaro Pizzeria & Mozzarella Bar >

Bella Trattoria

Image courtesy of Bella Trattoria Instagram

3854 Geary Blvd | Inner Richmond | osteriabella.com

Every Italian knows that it wouldn’t be a truly authentic Italian meal if you didn’t have something alcoholic to wash down your meal with. There’s even an old Italian proverb that roughly translates to “God preserve you from one who eats without drinking.”

Now, obviously most people don’t take proverbs as literally as they used to back in the day - and not everyone enjoys drinking alcohol anyway - but Bella Trattoria is here to make sure that you at least have the option to sip on something while you eat.

Along with their extensive list of Italian red and white wines, they’re also pretty fond of vermouth across the bar here at Bella Trattoria, so you can choose from a selection of thirteen different vermouths from around the world to enjoy alongside your meal.

Whether you’re there for weekend brunch or to chow down on some of their mouthwatering pastas for an evening date, we know you’re going to love your experience at Bella Trattoria.

“Overall, an incredible dining experience. The ambiance was great, with intimate lighting and outdoor fire heaters, and soft music. The norcina pasta was perfect. Everything the waiters carried by me smelled awesome.” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Bella Trattoria >

Bacco

Image courtesy of Bacco Instagram

737 Diamond St | Noe Valley | baccosf.com

There are certain rules that are widely known throughout different culinary circles. For instance, a bubbly wine that is sealed off with a pressurized cork may not be called champagne unless it is actually made in the Champagne region of France.

It makes us wonder: can an Italian meal really be called Italian if it hasn’t been cooked up by an Italian chef? If we’re being realistic, it probably can, yes, but they aren’t about to take any chances at Bacco.

Founded a little under thirty years ago, San Francisco’s critically acclaimed Bacco is still home to their original executive chef, Vincenzo Cucco, who was born and raised in Italy.

After working all around Italy under some of the best Italian chefs known worldwide, Vincenzo began to develop his own personal spins on some traditional Italian recipes - and those are exactly what you’ll find here at Bacco.

“Have you ever tasted something so delicious, it made you close your eyes, bow your head, and smile in gratitude? That's what my experience was like with the Ravioli.” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Bacco >

Lupa Trattoria

Image courtesy of Pixabay

4109 24th St | Noe Valley | lupatrattoria.com

Some restaurants look at authentic Italian cuisine being made from authentic Italian ingredients. While it’s a perfectly viable option to import many of your ingredients from Italy, restaurants like Lupa Trattoria have a slightly different approach.

According to traditional methods of preparing food throughout Italy, one of the most widely circulated methods is to use the freshest ingredients possibly in a given season and to combine them into simple, delicious dishes.

This latter method is exactly what they aim to do at Lupa Trattoria. While they don’t import their ingredients directly from Italy, what they actually do is work with local farmers to bring Californian produce that is in season to their kitchen.

Combining locally grown vegetables with good olive oil and handmade pasta, the folks here at Lupa Trattoria are ready to bring you a delicious Italian-inspired menu that changes throughout the seasons - so you’ll never really be without something new to try!

“Very happy this restaurant is in my neighborhood. I studied abroad in Rome and this place really takes me back to that time. I especially love the fettucine tartufato. Go here. You won't regret it.” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Lupa Trattoria >

The Italian Homemade Company

Image courtesy of The Italian Homemade Company Instagram

1919 Union St | Marina/Cow Hollow | italianhomemade.com

If you’ve never had the opportunity to try fresh, homemade pasta, you need to stop whatever you’re doing right now and run over to The Italian Homemade Company, where they’ll serve you up some of the best pasta you’ve ever had.

Don’t get what all they hype is about homemade pasta? Well prepare yourself because your entire life is about to change. Freshly made pasta is more absorbent than the dried pasta you might get from the grocery store - with means that all of those flavors you add to your pasta are amplified.

Here at The Italian Homemade Company, they’re all about simplicity - simple ingredients to make up a simple menu, which helps to make sure you aren’t overwhelmed by your options. Don’t forget to save room for their tiramisu at the end of your meal!

“Ever tried SoulCycle? Amazing. You burn off all the carbs so you can walk a few blocks over to Italian Homemade to load up with more carbs - not mad about it, just stating the facts!” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to The Italian Homemade Company >

Mona Lisa Restaurant

Image courtesy of Mona Lisa Restaurant Instagram

353 Columbus Ave | North Beach/Telegraph Hill | ordermonalisa.com

Ever had a craving for Italian food but haven’t been quite sure exactly what it is that you can taste on the tip of your tongue? What you need - besides Italian food, of course - is a menu full of every dish you could possibly imagine.

Mona Lisa Restaurant is the perfect place for you to find exactly what it is that you’re looking for - and the best part? They also have a gluten free option of pretty much every item you can see on their menu.

Vegetarian pastas or pastas packed with seafood? There are gluten free options for both, as well as their Napoletana pizzas!

“I've been coming here for years, and I'll keep coming here. I'm still working my way through the menu every time- but the squid ink risotto with the scallops is definitely one to try.” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Mona Lisa Restaurant >

La Traviata

Image courtesy of Pixabay

2854 Mission St | Mission | latraviatasf.com

There is Italian cuisine and then there is Sicilian Italian cuisine. Both are absolutely delicious, but the Sicilians add a little kick of spice to almost every dish that they create - and there’s no better place in San Francisco to find Sicilian food than La Traviata.

For forty-seven years now, La Traviata has been serving up family recipes of Sicilian classics to the San Francisco area, and people can’t seem to get enough of it. 

Whether they’re serving up a simple carbonara or some eggplant lasagna, your mouth will be watering as soon as you walk through their front doors. Before you leave, don’t forget to ask about their gelato, too. When in Rome (or San Francisco)...

“I ordered a simple Putanesca and it was perfection. Everything here is classic, old-school, and exactly as it should be. The menu has sooo many options that I want to come back to try - especially on the seafood list.” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to La Traviata >

There are so many different styles to cook up Italian cuisine in. Let us know which of these restaurants cooks up your favorite kind of Italian food in the comments below!

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