For food and ambiance (two things dear to the hearts of most Beardies), you can't beat San Francisco or Italy. At the stylish yet quirky Zinzino in San Francisco, Andrea Rappaport has united these far-flung corners of the world, juxtaposing delicious Italian classics like smoky wood-fired pizzas, unfussy pastas, and moist roast chicken with the comfortable atmosphere of a San Francisco cafe.
From start to finish, Rappaport serves a meal worth remembering: "From the first bite I realized I was eating the best fennel salad I've ever had," wrote the San Francisco Chronicle's Michael Bauer. "The crisp calamari is among the best in the city. The pizzas are truly exceptional. Baked pastas are finished to a golden turn in the wood-fired brick ovens, which seem to bathe the entire dining room in a golden glow. By the time we finished dessert, we were talking about three-star food. The ambiance evokes a feeling of being in Italy, but it's nice to know San Francisco is right outside the door."
Rappaport first cooked in restaurants while she was a student at the University of Wisconsin. She liked her part-time job so much that she enrolled at the CIA, and ultimately spent three years working for the legendary Wolfgang Puck in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. In 1998 Rappaport was named among the "Top Ten Up-and-Coming Chefs in the Bay Area" in the San Francisco Examiner's annual Food and Dining issue, and this year, the Examiner named Zinzino to its Best of the Bay Top 50 Restaurants list. "Zinzino is a lusty, soulful, genuinely Italian osteria with superlative food that sings of Italy," Bill Citara wrote in that paper. (She makes an occasional foray into other culinary regions, too, as with her Grandma Adele's Potato Pancake, served with dill, sour cream, smoked salmon, and apple-fennel-beet slaw.)
Whether making Italy's lusty classics or her grandmother's comfy Jewish fare, Rappaport has a sure hand at the stove. As Sidewalk.com told its cyberspace visitors, "In the restaurant-saturated Marina, Zinzino has blown away the competition."
Green Zebra Stripe Tomatoes Stuffed with Truffled Risotto and Tomato Water
Fresh Fig Bruschetta with Fromage Blanc, Balsamic Vinegar, and Parma Prosciutto
Crisp-Potato Pancake with Sour Cream, Smoked Salmon, and Beet Slaw
Heirloom Tomato Tasting Plate with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, and Cracked Black Pepper
Sweet Corn Bisque with Chives
Fennel and Mint Salad
Pacific Northwest Wild Salmon with Chanterelle Mushroom Ragoût
Roasted Boneless Quail with Seared Foie Gras and Potato-Apple Blintz
Peach Crostata with Honey Cream
St. Supéry Moscato