I am very fortunate to travel quite often to San Francisco for work. Since I cook dinner at home for my family pretty much every night, it is a treat for me to enjoy great meals out when traveling. This past trip was filled with delicious meals, one of which was at Ristobar in the Marina section of San Francisco. I eat in that neighborhood whenever I am joined by my aunts who live north of the city in Sonoma. They joined me for this dinner and we had a fabulous time.
Since it is winter and the sun sets early, I had a difficult time taking decent pictures with my traveling camera. However, the Internet is a great source for pictures. The restaurant is quite open with high ceilings and in the evening, dim lighting.
There were a couple of big surprises that evening which really helped increase the memorability of our meal. The first was the white wine we enjoyed with our first course. I broke one of my own rules for wine tasting and pre-judged a wine by its varietal. Our waitress, who was delightful and full of great recommendations, suggested a Pinot Grigio when I described the type of wine I wanted to try. I told her that I typically don’t like Pinot Grigio as it is often too fruity but wisely I sampled the wine anyway as they have it by the glass. It was delicious and nothing like the stereo typical sweet Pinot Grigio. It was smooth and balanced, with some acidity and not sweet at all. And, it paired delightfully with our first course of burrata (I have been known to pick restaurants because they have burrata on the menu – if you dont know what this is, it is basically the most decadent fresh mozarella you could imagine) and scallops.
With our main course we wanted a great Italian red wine but the wine list was overwhelming. Easily 10 pages of wines to pick from. Our super waitress let us try every red that they have by the glass but nothing tasted like the right wine for our night. I asked about the Valpolicella wines as that is often a region that I enjoy wines from, and they were more reasonably priced than the Brunellos, but there were several to pick from. At this point, our waitress introduced us to Ed. The second turning point of the evening was the arrival of Ed. He rocks. He suggested a wine off the menu which was reasonably priced and we just loved loved loved it. Smooth, earthy, full bodied, luxurious. Everything I could want in a wine and it went so well with the entrees we shared. We had the osso bucco, a ravioli and the most gorgeous pizza ever.
The wine that Ed suggested was made by Allegrini (located near Verona in Northern Italy). Ed in his awesomeness decanted the wine over a birthday candle to assess the sediment in the wine.
I was not able to get a good photo of the wine because my flash made the text illegible, but I am pretty sure this is the wine.
We ordered a second bottle of this wine because it was so good and I was not ready for this evening to end. I had a really fabulous time at Ristobar. The food was excellent. We really loved everything that we ordered and nothing was left on the plates when we were done. The service was amazing. Without question I will visit Ristobar again with enthusiasm.
2300 Chestnut Street San Francisco, CA