The North Beach neighborhood in San Francisco is old and it is Italian. There are still shops that make fresh Italian specialities and homemade pastas daily...the owners enthusiastically communicating with their staff and fellow neighborhood friends in their native tongue as you pay for your yummy Sicilian delights. And at the cafes, people still post up to the bar to have their espresso shot in a porcelain cup, instead of taking it to-go in a paper cup.
North Beach has always been charming but in an older, more rustic sense. It is a popular tourist destination and has always been a great spot for bars, but the restaurant scene in North Beach was missing the mark...until recently.
Tony's Pizza is a perfect example of the cliched Italian Pizzeria turned on it's head. Tony's opened a few years ago and is bustling and busy from the moment the doors open until the last pie is served. The menu represents the storied Italian dishes that we all know, while introducing us to innovative cuisine that makes a foodie's mouth water.
One of our favorite pizzas is Quail Egg, Potato and Guanciale. It is made with creamy mozzarella, and layered with potatoes, rosemary, calabrese peppers. Then they add chorizo, quail eggs, gaunciale (pork cheek), fromage blanc, and a dash of lavendar sea salt...yes, yes, yes. Not exactly vegan...nor gluten free and dairy free, but insanely decadent and delicious. For a town as food-driven as SF, Tony's was a pioneer in putting North Beach on the food-scene map. Tony's challenged the notion that a pizza place in North Beach is cliche...and everyone who has eaten there would say they emerged victorious.
Next up, one of our all-time favorite restaurants in San Francisco: Park Tavern. The design, the menu and the atmosphere are all fantastic. Walk in and the chic bar, and modern industrial decor will set the tone for the tasty libations and simple, yet delicious food you are about to enjoy,
For starters, we always order the deviled eggs, brussel sprout chips and wagyu beef jerky. Their burger, dubbed the "Marlowe Burger" is one of the best in the city, but truly we haven't had a meal or a dish that we didn't like. The ambiance is lively and trendy while the food, cocktails and service are on-point and built to last. Park Tavern is a welcome addition to the North Beach neighborhood offering new American food in an old Italian neighborhood.
And for that night cap, Tony Nik's is the perfect place. Small, and dimly lit... it is a place with no frills and great drinks. Post up at the bar, or grab a cozy booth in back to relax because getting "one more" at a bar that has been in business since 1933 is always a good idea.
North beach has always offered a lot of history and now it offers a lot of great dining too. An old neighborhood infused with some new blood is changing North Beach from a neighborhood of tired cliche to a one of haute cuisine.