Anyone who has lived in San Francisco for some time, and certainly on Russian Hill, should be well acquainted with Pesce (www.pescebarsf.com), chef-owner Ruggero Gadaldi and Adriano Paganini’s Venetian-inspired restaurant and bar. Well, folks who live in the Castro are pretty stoked, because the restaurant has moved from its perch on the hill and reopened in the former 2223 space on Market Street. The menu will fit well with whatever your appetite requires: you can come by for some bite-size cicchetti (all $2–$3), including smoked salmon or prosciutto and melon to go with your cocktail (most are $10), like the Venetian, with gin, moscato, bianco vermouth, and orange bitters. The trademark bevvie, however, is the sgroppino, which you should consider at the end of your meal — it’s comprised of lemon sorbet, Prosecco, and vodka, and is simply fantastico. The new marble bar is gonna be hopping, but there’s space for all of you since the entire bar area has room for 38 folks.
Don’t want to drink your dinner? There is a large variety of small plates, ranging from salads (beets and greens, kale with Caesar dressing — or go for some potatoes, cream, and Parmesan, woohoo) to pastas, including pappardelle and squid ink risotto. Pesce has always been known for its seafood selection, of course, like octopus, grilled sardines, and larger dishes like branzino and cioppino. It wouldn’t be an SF restaurant without some pizza; since the original 2223 location already had a pizza oven, look for the new bonus of five kinds of pizzette on the menu.
The space is almost twice the size of the original Pesce, with soft grey tones, a pressed-tin ceiling, and there’s a private dining room as well. Hours are 5pm–11pm for the bar, with the dining room opening at 5:30pm. Weekend brunch is coming soon too. As for the fate of the Polk Street location, stand by!
BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET
Of course some news about a new meatball truck needs to be in this section. Balls! Starting up on Thursday August 22nd is the Red Sauce Meatballs truck (www.twitter.com/redsauceballs), which is launching outside The Homestead (2301 Folsom, SF.) in the Mission, or you can find the truck at the SOMA StrEAT Food Park that weekend. Meatballs, so good — and there is also a vegetarian version, so everyone wins.
If you have wanted to check out the chic Waiheke Island Yacht Club (Pier 29, 1256 The Embarcadero, SF. www.waihekeislandyachtclub.com) space and high-end cuisine but can’t afford the tariff, maybe the new brunch will be your ticket to sail? Come by Sat–Sun 10am–3pm for fancy brunch dishes like Mt. Cook Alpine smoked salmon, escabeche, salsa verde, soft herbs, hollandaise, and eggs ($16), or a couple different kinds of burgers (both $15). A Bloody Mary for just $6, yes please. Plus there are DJs to keep things upbeat.
Have the belly room for an all-you-can-eat New Orleans-style feast? Make your reservation for this special dinner at Just for You Café (732 22nd St., SF. www.justforyoucafe.com) — which is a fundraiser for it parklet — on Saturday August 24th from 6pm–8pm. You’ll get to tuck into seafood gumbo, jambalaya, eggplant Parmesan, salad, and garlic bread, plus beverages like chicory coffee and iced tea. Tickets are $45 per person and include a glass of wine, Champagne, or beer; additional drinks will be priced at only $3.50. For tickets, call 415-350-2020 and ask for Ruben.
YOU GOTTA EAT THIS
There are ham-and-cheese sandwiches, and then there’s the tosta mista ($7.25) at Cafe St. Jorge (3438 Mission, SF. www.cafestjorge.com), a charming new café in Bernal. This Portuguese twist includes two kinds of Portuguese cheeses (queijo edam and ilha azul) and either black forest ham or applewood-smoked ham. It all melds together in cheesy bliss. But the brilliance lies in the spot-on toasting of the thick-cut sourdough bread (from Bakers of Paris) on the panino press, with the lightest brushing of butter. Hold me.