Amore! A delicious dinner in the San Francisco Mission District to celebrate my friend Russell's birthday.
Bar Bambino is urbane, chic and sophisticated. Small but its classy chic ambiance made up for its lack of space. The lamps were strategically placed for mood lighting along with tealight candles. Furniture comprised of heavy dark wood tables and chairs.
However, my friends and I were seated on the patio with the plastic roof covering and metal tables/chairs. It was perfect for a beautiful summer day in the City--well, until it got chilly which luckily for us we already finished dinner.
After my dining experience last night, I will best describe Bar Bambino as an expensive small plate restaurant. Even their main dishes were small. Luckily, the celebrant is picky and does not have a big appetite. So we paced our orders based on what the birthday boy wanted. A good thing because we would have ended up with a hefty bill if it had been based on my boracious appetite alone. However, the food was PACKED with flavors. Simple. Italian. Californian. Seasonal. We loved almost everything we had.
Russell, Heather, Mickey and I shared:
GRILLED PROSCUITTO-WRAPPED PEACHES W/ DANDELION GREENS $11: This was the BIGGEST HIT amongst us. The crispy salty was wrapped around the tangy-sweet peach slices over the bitter dandelion. So simple yet so delicious! I will definitely try to copy this at home!
FLATBREAD W/ SALMON: Thin-crust pizza with salmon. It's okay. I've had better. Not worth the $14 price tag.
BIGOLI W/ SARDINES, SAFFRON and SULTANAS $15
(Whole wheat pasta tossed with crispy Monterey Bay sardines, cherry tomatoes, and raisins in a saffron sauce) This was sweeter than we expected. We were looking more for the "anchovies on pizza" experience plus the sardines were not crispy as described. This dish was okay.
(Buckwheat crepes filled with mushrooms, spinach, and a dollop of mascarpone.) Another simple dish but another big hit! Earthy, bursting with flavors and delicious!
SCHARZWALDER CHERRY TORTA $9 (Bar Bambino's version of a Black Forest Cake. Boozy cherries, on top of a knock-your-socks-off chocolate cake, alongside whipped brandy cream) Cake for the birthday boy and was brought to him with a lighted candle. Yes, it was a boozy cake but not "knock your socks off" enough for us. I found it too sweet and not complex. Just too sugary with pasty consistency.
TAB: $118 including 2 wines, a cappucino and 18% tip.
Overall, we had a very fun, peaceful and enjoyable dinner. We were not stuffed but satisfied with our meal, even the picky birthday boy. The wines were very nice and refreshing even for being the cheapest ones on the menu ($9 per glass.) The service was very professional but not stuffy.
2931 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94101
Foodie Girl's Ratings: 4 (Lovely but portions left me wanting more. Pricey!)
Food: 4.5 Delicious and creative.
Service: 4.5 Professional but not stuffy.