395 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410237.776824 -122.422777
Neighborhoods: Hayes Valley, Central North
This relic (in a good way) of an Italian spot has an enourmous room, a generous menu and a busy staff... that's because on performance nights at the nearby music venues, it fills up with happy pasta lovers. You'll see many in the 65+ set here; they have kept this establishment in the black for a long while.
Good food, service, and an extra helping of history. – Before I start, let me just qualify my remarks by saying that in choosing this restaurant for lunch earlier this year, neither the quality of the food nor service played a part in my decision. Rather, it was the unique history of this location that prompted our visit. For # 395 Hayes Street is one of the most significant addresses in San Francisco's storied history.
It was late in the morning on April 18th of 1906, (about 10:30 by most accounts), that a young housewife decided to make breakfast for her family. Caution did not seem to be the order of the morning to her, for while the great quake had stunned the city barely five hours prior, the buildings of her neighborhood had remained relatively undamaged. Dutifully, she went about the business of prepping her cookware and lighting the stove...
And quickly discovered that the building's brick chimney had collapsed during the shaking.
The "Ham & Eggs Fire" as it would come to be known would burn unchecked for more than 24 hours, destroying over 30 square blocks of the city including much of Market Street and the quake-shattered remains of City Hall.
On the day of our visit however, the act of cooking led to far less calamitous results.
Upon arriving, the colorful yet cozy interior was pleasing to the eye and the complimentary bottle of seltzer water was a nice touch. The bread basket was also a pleasant surprise, offering three different varieties for our choosing.
As for the entrees, the capellini was perhaps slightly firmer than my normal taste, but still quite good, while my companion gave a passing grade to the vegetarian sandwich. Overall it was a highly enjoyable experience for a very reasonable price.
Overall, the biggest disappointment of the afternoon came when we discovered that none of the employees had any prior knowledge of the rich history that lay beneath them.
Needless to say, they were well versed by the time we left.
something is amiss here – We have eaten here several times over the years as the food is interesting and it is close to Davies' Hall. The service has always been haphazard though but never as bad as it was this past Friday. We arrived at 6 and were promptly seated but then a quarter of an hour past before anyone came by to take our order. The wine arrived promptly, 20 minutes past before our appetizers and then another 20 before the mains, which were plopped down by the server who left. There were 2 other tables in our section and both had ordered the same dishes before and after us but were served first and offered cheese for garnish. Not only were we not offered cheese but no one came to check on how we were doing until the hostess did, well after 7 pm by which time we had pretty finished. The people who had eaten before us had been given a dessert menu in the interim while we asked for the check that was then presented by someone else. They were still waiting for someone to take their order when we left at 7:30. The restaurant was less than half full so being overly busy wasn't the problem. I suppose they have been in business a while so the loss of a couple of previously satisfied customers won't bother them but I can't imagine many who would want this experience. We eat out 3-4 times a week but this was the worse dining experience in a long time. Seeing some of the other reviews makes me more bewildered than anything, it obviously has been an issue before but they don't seem to care and frankly, the food isn't that good to take that kind of service.
Extremely bad service and greasy food!! – This place was recommended from someone I will NEVER trust my taste buds to again.... The service was so abrupt we actually sent our main courses back to the kitchen because we were still EATING our appetizers and salads and it wasn't an opera night (so no rush on that folks). Of course, the sending back was a mistake because then all they did was set it under heat lamps and then repeatedly peek at us to see when they could slam down our entrees. Then, inexplicably (I say this sarcastically), the service slowed to a crawl. My dinner-mate wanted dessert, so against my better judgment I decided to try something called semifreddo. Never have had it before. The waitress described it as a super dense rich bready pudding. Well the dense part was right--it came to the table looking like a big flat ...ummm ...fill in the blank, and was so grainy from undissolved sugar it was like eating sandpaper. I cannot imagine that this dessert was properly prepared. I think they should have called it semicrappo. Marginal food, BAD service and so-so ambiance.
great lunch special – Enjoyed a special, the NY steak rolled with proscuitto, fontina and sage in a tomato based sauce over polenta (the braciole? I don't remember the name!). Delicious. Friendly service. Sweet atmosphere - nice but not trendy or pretentious but comfortable but still slighty cute. Really good food, VERY reasonable prices. Would be an easy date spot.
Really Bad Food – Man. Our experience was very different from other reviewers apparently. The service was actually pretty charming. I believe we had the waiter from Rome referenced in another review. However, people...the food. My God...it was awwwful. Limp pumpkin ravioli with, what tasted like, canned pumpkin in the middle. Swimming in a sea of oil. A pasta dish with cheese and potatoes that was pan fried but was so salty it was essentially a salt lick. Seriously, I don't know how they stay in business with food like this - there are too many good restaurants in San Francisco.
Food average, manager absolutely rude and unapologetic – The food is ok, but really nothing extraordinary. Incompetent, arrogant and unapologetic for both his bad service and bad manners, this is how I would qualify the manager of this place!! I will never set foot in that restaurant again, and I recommend you do the same. Below is why:
I'm not one to write reviews or be a restaurant activist, but this time, I have to make my voice heard. I have NEVER (read again: NEVER) been so badly treated by a restaurant professional, let alone a manager than at Caffe delle Stelle. And I have a tough skin: I come from a certain French speaking country in Europe where waiters are sometimes plain unpleasant, naturally...
We ate there on the 6th of October, before a performance. The man that served our food (who later turned out to be the manager himself) made a mistake in my order and served a dish I had not order. We had been waiting a while already, the staff was completely overwhelmed, and my wife and I were both hungry. So not to create any additional problem, we decided to eat it anyway. The dish I did order finally arrived 15 minutes later (an appetizer, Im on a diet :) ).
When the time came to take away the plates, the waiter/manager repeatedly made really obnoxious comments, some about my weight (quote you did not order it, but you still ate both plates didn't you. Good luck losing weight!!! end quote) or some plain inappropriate to another waiter as he was leaving our table (quote: we are not in Latin America! end quote). VERY RUDE, we could not believe it!
Tired of the abuse, we asked the other waiter to speak to the manager. The man told us that this was the manager!!! We asked if we could please talk to him, THE MANAGER REFUSED, saying that he did not want to talk to us!!!
Incompetent, arrogant and unapologetic for both his bad service and bad manners, this is how I would qualify this man. I will never ever go back to this place. I recommend you do the same.
Great Dining Experience! – We went for dinner on July 4 weekend, and what a great surprise. We walk to the neighborhood from where we live and have gone to the less expensive, Italian, neighbor a few doors down a few times, but this was our first venture to Cafe Delle Stelle. What a great place!
The service was fantastic! I wish I could remember our waiter's name. He was from Rome originally. He made a wine recommendation that turned out to be a great choice. I had described my preferences, and he chose the perfect bottle. It wasn't even one of the pricy bottles but was in the average price range. It was declicious. It was hard not to just guzzle it down.
The shrimp bruschetta appetizer was delicious. The flavors were wonderful, the texture of the toast, perfect everything. I had a spaghetti baked in parchment paper that was interesting, light but filling and great.
I enjoyed the atmosphere completely. It is a little pricier than it's Italian neighbor but it's a classier joint. I look forward to being able to go to both places on a regular basis.
Wrost Customer Service in SF – If you want to be harassed and insulted by the manager (Tony Sopranos cousin) and stalked by the hostess, visit Cafe delle Stelle, where the food is average, yet it takes forever and they hardly give you parmesan cheese because "they are running low."
Traditional Italian fare are the lures at this cozy Hayes Valley trattoria. – In Short
With crisp white tablecloths, decorative stacks of boxed pasta and olive oil, and bright red walls, this rustic, affordable dining room mixes casual comfort with class. The staff of actual Italians can be brusque, but the regulars tolerate a little attitude to enjoy traditional recipes for Tuscan favorites like osso buco, beef carpaccio and house-made pastas. For an after-dinner sweet, tiramisu is the house special.
Nice place – Enjoyed two meals there in as many weeks. The tiramisu is wonderful!
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