San Francisco's latest addition to the world of upscale yet laid-back Italian dining comes in the form of Uva Enoteca (568 Haight at Steiner) in the Lower Haight, which, despite being open only a few weeks, is quickly gathering a roster of loyal regulars. “We've been full since we've been open; a lot of neighborhood people are coming back multiple times,” says owner Boris Nemchenok, who explains the inspiration for his new restaurant thusly: “[New York City's] Inoteca was part of it. But we all love Italian culture in general; the wine, the food, the way the dining experience is at enotecas in general. For us, it's all about finding that middle ground between a restaurant and a wine bar. People can come in, have a bottle of wine, eat some cheese. It's a really casual environment, but we're still very serious about the food and wine experience. It's something we wanted to bring to San Francisco.” Nemchenok's menu favorites include the caponata ($4.50) and the Umbrian salumi from Napa's own Fatted Calf ($8).
Packing more than 100 different dishes, many of them exotic Sichuan specialties, into at least five different menus, Zone 88 (2428 San Bruno at Silver) in the Portola District is quickly gaining citywide attention as a place where even the most finicky Chinese foodhounds can find that special something. SF Weekly's Robert Lauriston headed straight for the infamously spicy Sichuan hot pot ($9.95-$16.95), a cook-it-yourself dish good for large groups. The adventurous gourmand won't want to miss the dry fried pig intestine tossed with chiles, scallions, garlic, and ginger, or the similarly prepared spicy tea-smoked duck ($8.95). Check out Lauriston’s full rundown in the latest issue of SF Weekly, on newsstands today.
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