Bay Area chefs are renowned for their creativity and innovation, but sometimes we crave simplicity and freshness above all else. That's when we head to Il Pollaio, the unassuming North Beach trattoria with the abridged, perfectly executed menu. The restaurant's raison d'etre is savory grilled chicken and Italian sausage (hot and mild); chewy bread and unpretentious wine complete the deeply satisfying picture. To be completely truthful, our favorite course is the combination salad, with generous portions of green and three-bean salads and coleslaw, dressed with down-home oil and vinegar. The prices are reasonable, even if Il Pollaio isn't quite the bargain it was 15 years ago. But then again, what is?
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