Wednesday, September 16, 2009

La Briciola - SOMA, San Francisco, CA

A South of Market recommendation from a wonderful friend, Briciola has a wonderfully bright, yet cozy atmosphere. Candles, white tablecloths and white cloth napkins calmed me instantly. This weeknight was not extremely busy, but there were a few other tables filled with diners. That is a better sign that the empties Laine and I have experienced at times in the past. Upon my friend's suggestion, we let the waiter know who had sent us and this was followed by delivery of Tagliere di Salumi, coppa spek prosciutto, salami, olives and marinated vegetables. Full of flavor and a nice way to begin the meal, we were very appreciative of the gesture. As I am steering away from meat, I concentrated on the marinated vegetables and olivees and they were phenomenal. The fresh bread and olive oil also met my expectations for fine Italian dining. Bread is a good meter by which to judge a restaurant. The menu has a lot of options, many pastas such as, ravioli, gnocci, linguine and many more with wonderful sounding variations such as pesto, string beans and potatoes or sausage and broccoli rabe. I was having a very hard time deciding, but after pondering and asking Alessandro's opinion (our friendly, very pleasant waiter), I ordered the Ravioli di Cernia, seabass filled ravioli with a lobster reduction. Upon its arrival, it also had baby prawns in the lobster reduction. Can you say oh my! Honestly, this was one of the most interesting pasta dishes I have ever consumed and what taste. Very different and all of the flavors complimented each other like nothing I could have imagined. The portion was generous and I was happy as a clam. Maryland ordered the Agnello al Brunello, the rack of lamb, green peppercorn and Brunello red wine eduction. Her plate was completely filled with succulent-looking meat and vegetables. She was excited and very pleased with her selection as well. Because we love dessert, we had to end with something dolce and the Profitterolles alla vanilla, pastry puffs with vanilla ice cream and chocolate had our name written all over them. This is such a wonderfully
presented and fun dessert and Briciola did not disappoint. We were fully satisfied and so glad my friend had given us this wonderful suggestions. Prices are reasonable for fine dining and Briciola specializes in Tuscan and Piedmontese cuisine. I will definitely visit Briciola again.


La Briciola is Italian for "The Crumb". This seems an odd name choice to me. There are too many derogatory ways you can play on that word, but I am sure they had their reasons to use it. I was significantly wiped out by the time we made it to Briciola. The walk from our hotel was further than I expected. Additionally, it was about 9pm PST, making it 12am EST according to my stomach’s clock. Way too late for me to be that interested in eating. I decided to keep it light and opted for combining a salad and an appetizer, rather than selecting an entrée. Of course, you end up spending more when you do that, but I didn’t really care at the time. Briciola has a nice wine list. I love Italian wines and they are a staple in my family wine collection. I selected a glass of 2007 Pinot Grigio Le Notti, Friuli and liked it so much I had another before my meal was over. My salad choice was Spinacina, a spinach salad including honey caramelized walnuts and goat cheese. It had a delightful vinegar based dressing and garlic seasoning. Quite nice! My appetizer was the Sfogliatine con gamberi e asparagi; a puff pastry roll with asparagus, shrimp and crab reduction. The preparation and presentation was flawless, and I liked it, but it didn’t knock me out. I don’t think I would order it again. As an appetizer accompanying an entrée it would be on the heavy side.

I was not as enchanted with Briciola as Alex. Our server started out very charming and attentive, but disappeared by the end of the meal. (See my pet peeves). Perhaps we were not so charming? By this time we were one of only two tables still dining. It made me wonder if he liked the person who referred us. Why would you neglect the table of diners who were referred to you by a friend? I had to get up from my seat, walk over to the bar where he was laughing it up with his co worker, interrupt the joke and request the check. Basta! Of all the places we dined in SF, I would have to put this one at the bottom of my list.


Briciola serves lunch between 11-3 Monday through Friday and serves dinner seven days a week between 5-11.

489 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
South of Market District
La Briciola on Urbanspoon

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