Baby, Te Amo

Adorable new Italian cafe and wine bar in the Mission already draws many fans

A second meal was equally successful, though once more the roasted beet salad and the bread plate that we wanted to arrive with the salumi was late in coming. This time the smaller platter we ordered looked as generous as the first; the excellent finnochio (fennel and lavender salami) and a rerun of the pancetta we requested from the board were augmented, again, by the Toscano and Genovese salami and the velvety prosciutto. We would have liked more of the beets, hiding under a drift of arugula, with hazelnuts and some creamy goat cheese, but the tartly dressed salad went well with the two lush bruschette it arrived with: dark, earthy ginepro, chopped chicken liver, and the baccala mantecato, salt cod mashed with potato. The baccala was especially generous, heaped on its two crisp toasts.

We were happily surprised by the meaty taste of the sugo di coniglio over pappardelle; many rabbit sauces taste bland, with not even the memory of rabbit. The sturdy bucatini, thickish spaghetti, with kale, pancetta, and raisins, was a touch too al dente, but still pleased its orderer. And we all loved the maiale al latte, chunks of pork shoulder slow-braised in milk, touched with sage and lemon, which went particularly well with a shared side of fagioli all'uccelletto (white beans with garlic and sage).

Most inventive use for the wine bottle: a chandelier at Bar Bambino.
Jen Siska
Most inventive use for the wine bottle: a chandelier at Bar Bambino.

Location Info

Map

Bar Bambino

2931 16th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Mission/ Bernal Heights

Details

701-8466, www.barbambino.com. Open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Monday. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: street, moderately difficult. Muni: 22, 33, 53. Noise level: high.

Salumi platter $9.50-22.50

Roasted olives $3.50

Bruschette al ginepro (with chicken liver) $6.50

Lesso rifatto con porri (braised brisket and short ribs) $14.50

Pappardelle con sugo di conglio (rabbit sauce) $13.75

Grilled asparagus $6.25

Citrus polenta cake $6.25

2931 16th St. (at Mission)

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We preferred the citrus polenta cake sided with a mountain of mascarpone to the somewhat disappointing all-Italian three-cheese plate we assembled from a international selection of ten or so. None of them (tomino, a goat cheese rubbed with wine must, also available baked with prosciutto as an antipasti; roccolo, from cow's milk; and the sheep's milk maccagnetta) thrilled us. But the total experience at Bar Bambino, from the setting to almost all of the food we'd sampled, had. Baby, we'd be back. Often.

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