Even though the name of the restaurant looks a bit like Pinocchio, I’m not lying when I say I had the best dinner experience of the summer at Piccino (ha..haha..). Piccino is hidden away on Portrero Hill, in the eerie outskirts of San Francisco.

This past Wednesday, two of our nearest and dearest family friends, a smart and successful couple, invited me to dinner. They explained they were taking me to this Italian restaurant that the wife had been dying to try (she has some of the best taste, so I trusted her). So we went, and let me emphasize how much of a ghost town Portero Hill was. The best part was that Portrero Hill is literally one hill. And every place worth going to is on that one hill.

Since the area was quite frankly deserted and isolated, I was expecting an alternative, granola restaurant, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

The interior was bright, but not because of any blinding, artificial lights, but because of the openness of the space and the large windows lining every wall. The artwork was simple (think wooden spoons on a sheer background) and light wood furniture. It was an open-kitchen setting, so the sense of breath and life was really refreshing. We sat down at a little table and took a look at the menu. The menu was very much “California granola” style, but everything looked so good. My friends and I always joke about “ordering everything on the menu,” but this time, we practically did. From the fairly small menu, we ordered two antipasti, two primo, and four pizzas (two of which we would take home). All the ingredients and dishes were beautifully presented and incredibly fresh. We also ordered a white wine and red wine. I liked the white wine better because I had never tasted a white wine so fresh and clean, but the red wine also went incredibly well with the food.

Conversation was flowing and we were all just so happy to be having dinner with each other. They have known me since I was a baby, so they seemed to love the idea of having dinner with me after having watching me grow up, and I loved the idea that when they were students, my parents were like their older brother and sisters, and now they were doing the same for me. They talked to me about my family, we talked about them, and it was just a most wonderful dinner. Eating good food with good people since ‘92 🙂 Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure. I highly recommend Piccino 😀 Note: Order eggs on the pizzas and you might experience a food-orgasm

Farmer’s cheese, baby artichoke, radish and meyer lemon relish (if you love cheese, this is a must-order)

Broccoli di ciccio, roasted cauliflower, farro and almond gremolata (I don’t even like broccoli and I died over this)

Strawberry Salad – order if only for how beautiful the dish is

Creamy corn soup, charred corn and pepper relish (I’m not the type to go looking for corn because I often find it’s too sweet for savory dishes and a hassle to eat in general because it always gets stuck in my teeth, but this was probably one of the best soups I’ve ever had in my life. I did not stop talking about how good this corn soup was until I got home)

Pork and beef polpette, crushed tomatoes and parmesan (lalala who doesn’t love meatballs?!)

Fungh pizzai: roasted mushrooms, stracchino and shaved garlic

Pisello pizza: english peas, buffalo mozzarella, pea tendrils and herb pesto

Check out theasianwhale.tumblr.com for more food pictures taken by yours truly!!


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