519 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9413337.799853 -122.409549
Sun-Mon and Wed-Thurs 11:30am-10pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm
Neighborhoods: Northeast, North Beach
Despite the zillion places to get pizza in North Beach, this place still turns out some of the finest; thin crust and perfect toppings. Oh, and they have other Italian food, too, but why bother. When you can eat pizza, eat pizza.
Delicious simple Italian food – just LOVE this place! If you are looking for simple, delicious Italian food, this is the place to go. We heard good reviews about this place so my husband and I decided to give it a try. We almost missed the place because it is tiny but OMG you feel like you are in Italy!! It feels like visiting your relatives (even though you are not Italian :-) and seat a table with family-cooked, very tasty Italian dishes! The owner told me that they cook everything in their oven.
Now, we go with our daughter because she loves the thin crust pizza; which is very convenient because you can order pizza by the slice for small stomachs :-) My favorite dish is the polenta with gorgonzola - to die for! And my husband (a meat guy) is in love with their pork roast.
We've tried other Italian restaurants in North Beach, more expensive and the food was no better...
Owner is a B...... My husband and I couldn't decide on a main dish to share, so the waitress offered some "marinara" sauce on the side. It was delicious, but we didn't realize it was made from "gold". When I asked for some more, the owner bawled me out like she was my mother. She also charged us $5 for the 4 T. of "marinara" that the waitress had brought us. Unbelievable!! She turned what was a wonderful meal into a BAD experience. I will never go there again, and I am telling consierge never to recommend it to anyone.
Worst meal I have ever had in San Francisco – The wait staff was surly and appeared quite bothered to wait on customers. The pasta Bolognese made me wish for a frozen dinner, a frozen dinner offers more food too! If you only accept cash, perhaps they should make note of that prior to presenting the check. They do have a sense of humor, they thought they deserved a 20% tip! Stay away!
A taste experience not to be missed – They make such a perfect thin-crusted pizza that since I first discovered them 15 years ago I've had a hard time bringing myself to tour the menu. Due to the tiny kitchen size, they can't get city approval for any cooking devices but the pizza oven, and their entire repertoire is a function of that odd constraint. They do amazing things with au gratin and roasted vegetables.
The wine list is put together by a schizophrenic. Right now (late 09) I'd recommend the 06 LaGrein from Hofstatter.
Warning: if you want basil on your Margherita, you have to ask. I park in Chinatown and walk 4 blocks.
Can't Beat this Food for the Money – Afraid that their being listed in Zagat might have changed things, we went back to our favorite Italian food restaurant not knowing what we'd find. Everything is as it was when we left it - the food, the wine and the prices are all exactly like we remembered. Great food, especially great prices and brisk, but accommodating service. If you like Olive Garden, don't take up space in this restaurant, please! This is so much more than a chain restaurant could ever be. Obscure and delicious menu items make the dining experience unforgettable. We loved the Belgian endive wrapped in Speck, roasted. The roasted beef appetizer with porcini mushrooms was a perfect starter. But we're still talking about the superb milk roasted pork! Simply awesome.
NOT RECOMMENDED! did not even deserve one star – On satuday Feb 23 around 4:30pm my son and I decided to dine at L'Osteria since we've drove by the restruant a few times. As soon as we open the door the waitress gave us a look like, "What do you want!". When we walked in I noticed there was only one other table with 3 customers who already placed their order. It took 10mins for them to give a menu then another 20mins to take our order. As we were waiting I also noticed that when the other customers would ask for something the waitress would turn around and roll her eyes at them as if she was being bothered. Then we had to listen to the two waitress bad mouth the third waitress who had just ended her shift.."She's a fu---- bi--- and I'm sick of her sh--!" Since they weren't discrete about their conversation we had to listen to it all because the place was so small. When the food arrived the waitress just dumped our food on the table and walked away without asking us if we wanted anything else nor did either one of the waitresses check up on us at anytime the way other waitress do. The food was so horrible that after eating only half of our dish we decided to leave and dine at another resturant. We had to ask twice for the check and again, we had to wait...remember, there was only one other table. This place has the most UNCLASSY waitresses who never smiled and looked as if they were mad at the world. The food was terrible and lacked basic flavors. Their advertisement of an authentic Italian resturant is FALSE advertisment....very misleading!
If you're young... – There is a perfectly good reason why I'd give this restaurant three stars. A good friend of mine and I went into the city to bum around North Beach and hang out to get away from the East Bay. Neither of us look too particularly young, but we both happen to look around our age, which is about 20 years old. The servers picked up on this almost instantly; it was like they could smell we weren't going to purchase drinks or wine. We poured over the menu and both settled on paninis for lunch.
The paninis were, in fact, excellent. They were just as good as ones I've had in Italy. They were fresh and clean tasting, unlike average American food. The servers, as a result of our food and beverage choices, were incredibly rude. They took forever to take our order and helped people who had just sat down while we had been sitting ten or so minutes; they didn't ask us how our food was; they took our plates away before we were done without asking. And, on the whole, they were unpleasant. Needless to say, we didn't leave an overly generous tip. I would, though, still go back for the sandwiches and/or with a friend for dinner... but I'd feel the need to dress up.
Tasty focaccia sandwiches and other oven-baked delights headline the menu at this authentic Italian restaurant in North Beach. – In Short
Tiny L'Osteria del Forno is a true diamond in the touristy rough of North Beach. As diners step inside the 28-seat room, they could be entering a cafe in Siena, complete with small tables, wine served in water glasses and a friendly, food-savvy staff. Everything on the menu is baked in the oven, from superb thin-crust pizzas lightly covered with fresh mozzarella to stellar focaccia sandwiches and daily roasts.
Tasteless. – I waited for a table for an hour outside and when I finally was seated ordered polenta with gruyere as an entree. It arrived on an off white oval plate with absolutley no garnish or color. The cheese gave it next to no flavor and looked less than appealing. When I asked the waitress for some kind of tomato sauce (which would be fundamental at an Italian restaurant) she said, " we don't serve it that way" and walked away. Her attitude seemed to be that the food was so spectacular and innovative that it would a travesty to add anything when in reality it was bland, uninteresting and incredible poorly presented. A few sliced cherry tomatoes or even a spring of basil or rosemary on top would have turned this boring yellow slab into an attractive dish; adding interesting flavor would have required a proficient chef's touch.
It is not worth the wait.
A tiny whole in the wall you'll love! – I friend raved to me about this place for nearly a week before he took me there and I couldn't stop raving when I left. This tiny italian spot feels like your dining at someone's house. The food is AMAZING, but the ambience I thought, was way off mark. The service is very casual and not necessarily very good, but the food is worth the trip. I promise you'll love it! The prices are very reasonable too.
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