2355 Chestnut St.,
San Francisco, CA (415) 771-2216 Visited March 1, 2006
This was our first visit to A16. We shared all the dishes that we ordered family-style with our dining companions – which makes eating more fun – and seems to be encouraged at this restaurant. There were no bad choices. We had high expectations for what seems a hot ticket restaurant and we left with the overall feeling of wanting to return soon. I really didn’t expect to like the food – and I did – a lot.
The food is savory and appetizing - it seems to be made with well-sourced ingredients. The surprises are good ones, like the olives and the salumi and the Jota special dish. If you are looking for presentation and over-the-top food this restaurant is not for you. Instead, it dishes up hearty and attractive fare with a fun wine list and a fun crowd. Make sure you have a reservation – even on a Monday the restaurant was packed to the doors.
Our motivation for this first dining experience was the visit of Aleš Kristančič fromMovia winery in Brda and Bruno De Conciliis fromDe Conciliis Winery in Prignano Cilento. They were present during the evening and their wines – 7 Movia and 8 De Conciliis – were featured at the restaurant.
House marinated taggiasia & castelvetrano olives $3 The Taggiasia was awesome and memorable. Hints of rosemary but salty. A meaty green olive I would seek out – not bitter. Green olive for a non-green olive fan. The other a smaller red/black olive was good.
Mozzarella burrata with Olive oil and sea sealt and Crostini $10 Not that exciting. Solid.
Roasted asparagus with walnut crema and pecorino tartufo $11 Really good walnuts were awesome with the asparagus. Yum!
Fennel Salumi $9 Delicious. Well made. The salumi is soft and melts in your mouth with a great fennel and slightly spicy finish. Great charcuterie!
Margherita Pizza with tomato, olive oil and basil $12 Tomato sauce too salty IMHO. Good.
Funghi – mushrooms with grana pandano and garlic, oregano, parsley and olive oil $15 Lots and lots of mushrooms. Good. Neither of the pizzas won me over.
Maccaronara with tomato ragu and ricotta salata $8/$14 We chose the larger portion to share. A solid pasta dish. Well crafted and with good ingredients.
Pork shoulder braised with white wine, chestnuts and herbs – with cannelini beans garlic and oregano $21 Pork was beautifully cooked. Beans were delicious on their own. Great.
Aleš Kristančič from Movia (standing)
2002 Movia Chardonnay Brda Minerally. Very pure. Crystal like. 2
2002 Movia Pinot Grigio Brda Lots of minerals. Slightly round soft finish. Very young. Very clean. Balanced. 2+
2001 Movia Veliko Bianco Brda Honey and chestnuts on nose. Deep golden color. Smells like a dessert wine but very dry with bright integrated notes of lemon. Every vintage seems to be a great value! 3-5
1998 Movia Veliko Rosso Brda Chocolate and dark berries. Almost artisan red wine vinegar on nose. ? (Too young, not enough opening time to judge.)
1988 Movia Pinot Nero Brda From magnum. Nose of antique roses. Lots of fruit with eucalyptus on the edges. Finish of rose petals. Showing no age. Joanne loved this wine. 6+ (Each table was given a complimentry pour.)
1959 Movia Ribolla Gialla Brda This wine was made by Ales’ grandfather. Nose of fresh cut squash. Clean broiled grapefruit center. Tart finish. (Each table was given a complimentry pour. Thanks, Ales!)
NV De Conciliis “Selim” Vino Spumante Paestum A Fiano/Aglianco blend.
Dry and elegant but not distinctive. We thought it was slightly corked. 1
2003 De Conciliis Antece Fiano Paestum Fantastic nose of green chanterais melon with vanilla. Slightly creamy. Great acids. Wildflowers. Very balanced. Not sweet but nose suggest sweetness. 6-12
2003 De Conciliis Naima Prignano Cilento Paestum Aglianico Brighter style. Young - hard to judge. 2-3+
2003 De Conciliis ‘Zero’ Agropoli Paestum Aglianico Concentrated. Deep. Good. Very young. 4
Special Dishes to pair with the Wines:
Braised artichoke salad with carrots, celery and marjoram Jack loved this dish.
Jota with cabbage, gigante beans, potato and sausage. (A special addition to the menu) Absolutely fantastic. Wow. Sausage was wonderful with bites of coriander. A hearty mixture of complementary flavors. Tastes like an Alsatian dish – hearty but elegant.
Montasio cheese frico with Treviso salad. Fried cheese crispy“patty” with cabbage salad on top. Good with the white wines but not a notable dish.
A Selection of 3 Italian cheeses to share
Summation: We really enjoyed overselves and will return eagerly. This service was excellent (and how often do we say that?). We were a bit overly focused on the wines, especially as Movia is one of our favorite producers.
A side note: Both winemakers chatted at many of the tables - each sat at ours for 10 minutes or so. We were treated very well!
Photography note: It was brighter in the restaurant (due to overhead outside light) for the appetizers, and darker for the later courses. We don't use a flash so as not to disturb other diners.
August 2007 Note: The Wine List has really improved and now rocks. - Jack
You may notice that we do not give out a lot of praise. Having been to so many high-quality restaurants, it's pretty tough to impress us.
Most of our reviews are based on just one visit. We neither have the time nor the money (or often, the inclination) to visit most restaurants multiple times. So, please keep in mind that a single-visit review is a snapshot - the restaurant may be "on it" that day - or not. If the meal has a calamity involved (foreign objects in the food, wine poured on us, etc.) we try not to let it shade the overall review.
We pay for the food and beverages; restaurants never comp us. We try to be discreet about taking photos so that the staff doesn't notice/get an idea we're going to do a review. We rarely take notes in the restaurant.
Like the rest of our website, we update our restaurant review pages based upon subsequent visits.