Mi Amor

Let him count the ways this unique Italian restaurant won his heart

After all that starch, I'm starting to get full, so often we'll share entrees. As with the pastas, my favorite is the one always-available dish, the tender and juicy braised pork shoulder. Cosentino has such a feel for this animal that it's perfectly reasonable to do three courses of pork. He also does an annual all-pork "Head to Tail" dinner: This year's is coming up in May. Another regularly recurring standout is brodetto, an elaborate bouillabaisselike fish and shellfish soup. The single best entree to date was the main course from the 2006 Head to Tail dinner: finanziera, a rich, complex stew including sweetbreads, boned ducks' tongues, blood sausage, and cockscombs served over risotto — sounds like something you'd eat on a dare, but it was truly one of the most delicious dishes I had last year.

By this point, further eating is pure gluttony. If there's most of a nice bottle of wine left, we might get a cheese plate to help polish it off, or if the meal was mostly meat and starch, maybe a salad for a modicum of balance. More often, we move right on to dessert.

Even if you're stuffed, try the panna cotta, an almost weightless buttermilk gelatin with varying sauces — the version with saba (the syrupy concentrated grape must from which balsamic vinegar is made) and black pepper is particularly exciting. Seasonal fruit desserts are also a highlight, particularly the high-summer watermelon budino, a traditional Sicilian pudding made by thickening watermelon juice with cornstarch. I highly recommend ending the meal with a flute of Birbet brachetto, a moderately sweet red sparkling wine with a slightly bitter finish.

Love at first sight.
James Sanders
Love at first sight.

Location Info



1550 Church
San Francisco, CA 94131

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Castro/ Noe Valley


Incanto, 1550 Church (at Duncan), 641-4500, www.incanto.biz. Open Wednesday through Saturday 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday and Monday 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., closed Tuesday. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: difficult. Muni: J. Noise level: moderate.

Antipasto platter for two $18

Rapini salad $8

Handerkchief pasta with pork ragł $15

Braised pork shoulder $18

Cheese plate $15

Panna cotta $7.50

Five-course offal menu $65 per person

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What more can I say? I love this place. I feel spoiled and lucky to be able to eat there on a whim and on the most special occasions. Viva Incanto!

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