We both love Italy and Italian food, so it’s no surprise that North Beach is one of our favorite places in San Francisco. The cosmopolitan neighborhood is packed with wonderful little restaurants and cafes – we love grabbing a cup of coffee at one of the sidewalk cafes and just hanging out and people-watching. With the holidays fast-approaching, we wanted to share one of our favorite Italian restaurants with you.
The festival holiday season is the perfect time to dine at Trattoria Contadina with friends and family. We like bringing out-of-town guests here and it’s a great place to celebrate a special occasion. Be sure to tell the wait staff if you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary – they make it really special… just ask my sister who was visiting from London (pictured below).
Charming, cozy and casual best describes Trattoria Contadina, located in the heart of North Beach (on Mason, at the corner of Union Street). Their perfect blend of authentic Italian cuisine (using organic sustainable ingredients) and wonderful selection of fine California and Italian wines draws locals and tourists alike.
We’ve dined at Trattoria Contadina many times over the years (just the two of us, with family, and with groups of friends) and each time the food and service has been very good. It can be a little noisy, especially during peak dining times and weekend nights, so don’t come here for quiet conversation. Note: There is only one “round” table (for six) on the main floor – we requested it for a special birthday gathering (and we were lucky to get it). It’s usually only available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For starters, we recommend ordering an Antipasto of delicious meats and cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, warm olives, roasted peppers and pepperoncini topped with a little olive oil. The traditional Caesar Salad or the Caprese Salad (fresh buffalo mozzarella, freshly sliced tomatoes, basil, pesto and a side of mixed greens) are both excellent.
Pasta entrees are great for sharing, especially for larger parties. We’ve enjoyed several tasty pastas, including Seafood Pasta (pictured top) with mussels, clams and calamari, Special Pasta of the Day with prawns in a cream sauce, Pasta Pesto with olives (pictured below), traditional Spaghetti or Linguini with homemade meatballs and fresh tomato sauce. Menu options also include Chicken or Veal Scaloppini, Fresh Fish, Seafood, and Lamb Chops. Save room for dessert – we love their Homemade Tiramisu.
Make it a real holiday treat – get tickets to see the Beach Blanket Babylon “Holiday Show” playing at Club Fugazi (on Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd) – just a short walk from the restaurant. The hilarious one-of-a-kind show is an internationally acclaimed San Francisco institution and not to be missed – it’s a great place to take out-of-town guests.