Calzone: Fresh Spinach, Feta, Mozzarella, Roasted Onions, and Garlic; Margherita Pizza: Pomodoro, Oregano, Mozzarella, and Basil; Chocolate Ganache
Name: Marcus Osborne
Occupation: Radio DJ 98.1 KISS FM
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Nob Hill Cafe
Reviewed Nob Hill Cafe: Saturday, December 2, 2006
Nob Hill Cafe is a very busy Italian eatery, but well worth the wait for a seat. Good sized place and a friendly atmosphere. I chose to dine inside, but you have the option of dining outside as well. But it was waaay too cold in San Francisco this night, so inside dining was for me! Okay, so my only real issue is actually a pet peeve of mine with the menu — not just here, but at virtually all resturaunts — I’m not Italian! So I need the menu in English! Is it just me?
The waitstaff was soooo very friendly and attentive — definitely seem like people who enjoy assisting you. Making sure everything was “okay” fairly regularly. The Nob Hill Cafe is very homey. Definitely a place where the locals hang out, not real touristy. You can tell that business has been good there. This used to be one little place, but it looks like they bought a little restaurant next to it and combined it with the original cafe to form one larger eatery.
Bustling place, close quarters, but it doesn’t feel claustrophobic. The wait wasn’t as long as I expected. There are no reservations at Nob Hill Cafe, so you will wait, but they make the wait convenient. You can sit outside, and they’ll offer you a glass of wine or Champagne. Food came relative quick, which I ALWAYS like! Get me my food and get it fast!
The salad was excellent. Nice variety of green lettuce with a light vinaigrette dressing. Two types of bread on the table. I went outside my comfort zone and had the eggplant and pasta dish. Normally I’m all about having meat, but I said, “What the heck?” and went with something different. Nice charcoal flavor, COVERED in heavy cheese, and that was great for me because I LOVE cheese. The eggplant was mixed with corkscrew penne pasta. Good portion size. The price was reasonable, given the location. It can get pretty pricey to dine up there. And parking is tough up there, so don’t waste time trying to find a parking space, just head over to one of the parking garages and save yourself time and headaches.
Name: Sylvia Chacon
Occupation: Radio DJ Star 101.3
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Cha Cha Cha
Reviewed Nob Hill Cafe: Thursday, November 30, 2006
So I ran into another small restaurant. Not as small as Ninna in Oakland. Actually, this was fine. Lots of happy people and conversations going on, so I didn’t feel like people could hear mine, nor could I make out what they were saying, although I tried! It was a very cold evening, and parking in that area isn’t easy. I lucked out and found street parking immediately. Be prepared, that doesn’t happen! It was a Thursday night and the place was packed. You can’t make reservations. I was hoping it wouldn’t take too long. Out of all the nights I dined for this show, I was the hungriest on this night. Luckily, we were seated within eight minutes. I kept getting lucky. It pretty much continued that way. Especially when it started to get busier. People began waiting OUTSIDE to get in. At this point I’m feeling pretty special. Wow, I’m thinking, this must be a great restaurant — these crazy people are lined up outside wishing they had MY table! There are about four tables out on the sidewalk, so if you’re fortunate enough, you’ll get to be cold, sitting down. By the time we got our main course, there were plenty of people STANDING outside too, all the tables had been taken.
It lived up to the hype outside. The food was wonderful and the service was great. Our waitress was very attentive and friendly with a great personality. She came by just enough time to make sure that we had everything we needed. We started out with garlic bread, which was pesto toast with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Very tasty, I’m a total bread person anyway! For my main course, I ordered Gnocchi Bolognese, which were homemade potato dumplings, with ground beef, Italian sausage, and pomodoro. Simply outstanding. And filling — remember I was particularly hungry on this night. That’s how I knew the portions were generous. I was full. The Bolongnese sauce was perfect. It was tasty and not over-done. Sometimes, for me, with Italian cooking, there’s just too much going on. One spice kills the other, and you can’t taste everything, because there’s too much of that ONE thing. Confusing! I know! They’ve got it figured out. DELICIOUS! I had custard for dessert. I was interested in comparing it to the custard at Ninna. This custard was much better. The topping wasn’t bitter, it was sweet. That made a big difference. I guess I’d wait out in the cold for a table at Nob Hill Cafe too, but not in the rain. I don’t do that for anything! Great restaurant!
Name: Miranda Wilson
Occupation: Radio DJ Smooth Jazz KKSF 103.7
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Ninna Restaurant
Reviewed Nob Hill Cafe: Monday, November 27, 2006
Nob Hill Cafe is one of those places that screams “San Francisco!” It is located just a block or two from Grace Cathedral. They feature Northern Italian cuisine and it’s hot, homemade, and healthy. After driving up and down Taylor and every adjacent street, we finally found parking. Lucky for us they don’t accept reservations. (We’d never make it!)
Suggestion: Come early! After we “climbed every mountain,” we found a parking spot. Whew! Breathlessly, we made it. We were welcomed by a bright, friendly, and fast waitress. My friend Judy had a glass of Merlot, and I had a Sangiovese Santa Christina Antinori. How cool! It was poured into our glasses right from the bottle at the table. Just like I would do it from home!
Judy started with the artichoke soup. Since it was a cool evening, I had a piping hot, hearty, Italian soup with chicken broth and Italian veggies. We chose our entrees from the chalkboard of the day’s specials. Judy had the Butternut Pumpkin Ravioli in a Sage Cream Sauce — perfect for Fall! Did I try Judy’s food? Of course! Pour moi, salmon in parchment served over julienned veggies. Thanks to the parchment, the salmon was juicy and not dry at all. But the veggies should have been plated next to the parchment rather than on top. I had to dig and lift the dry parchment off my veggies. One thing I loved was being so close to the kitchen. This place has a real home cooked vibe. A historic neighborhood with folks talking, but not so loudly that we couldn’t enjoy our conversation. Just when we finished our entree, another great — I should say two great –San Francisco mainstays walked through the doors. Every Tuesday and Friday at 7pm the San Francisco Twins dine at Nob Hill Cafe. They get the same table, right up front near the window. This is another reason why Nob Hill Cafe is the perfect place to bring out-of-towners!
Did we do dessert? You gotta try “Try Its!” Six great flavors of gelato pie like slices. Usually frozen desserts are rock hard, but this one was just right. I had a mocha gelato with toffee crunch served on a cheesecake crust! Our server told us that a company call Gottahaveit creates these wonderful delectables. Scrumptious! I can’t wait to try this place on a sunny summer evening. I’d recommend the Nob Hill Cafe to everyone I know. But er, uh, take a taxi or cable car.