Tratoria ala Sciliana

So this place is next to our real estate agent’s office and she raves about it.  Because I am competitive and a friend of J’s has tried hundreds of restaurants in San Francisco alone, I insisted we go to a place we hadn’t tried before.  We were well warned this place is popular and therefore crowded with a long wait.  Thus infomred we headed out there at 7:00 pm on a Saturday night.  Yes we are masochists.

We waited 35 minutes  for a table and we could hear the poor host fending off irritated customers.  It appears the people taking phone reservations aren’t closing the loop with the servers.  It’s a madhouse and Saturday night is a time for the birthdays and bachelorette parties to happen.

Luckily there’s a whole lot of pleasure to go with that pain. The food is beyond excellent.   It has the down to earth heartiness of a spaghetti and meatballs place iwth the refinement of flavors of a high end Italian place.  And they have a specials list as long as their regular menu.  We started with the antipasti to get a sense of their skills.  Assessment: WAAAAY positive.  They do amazing things with eggplant.  Their caponata is to die for.  Simply amazing.  The flavors are fresh and robust and there a good variety of caponata, calamari salad, and smokedm eats and olives.

As great as the antipasti was, the actual meal was even better.  J had a pasta special of sardines, olives, and hand made pasta.  It turns out the stuff on top of the pasta is actually ground into a savory sauce that is salty and intense.  It’s a truly original flavor that we loved. I myself had a well made order of lamb chops and sautee vegetables.  Certainly well made but nothing as revelatory as the pasta dish which was amazing.

J ended the meal with an order of their tiramisu made by the owner’s mother every morning.  He reported that it was the best he ever had (better than MINE).   Sadly, this place is only open in the evenings and it’s TINY.  But if you eat a little something beforehand to deal with the long wait, you will be rewarded.

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