Picking a restaurant for the night should never be a daunting decision. In all honesty, Italian is almost always a choice - whether one is just getting back from a trip abroad in Tuscany, inspiring influences from the Food Network or movies like Eat Pray Love come into play, or just in the mood for a plate of good, traditional spaghetti just like Nona always made.
Whether in the area or traveling to San Francisco for the night, North Beach is the place to go to experience one's own Little Italy and Piazza Pellegrini on 659 Columbus Ave. is where a little slice of Italian heaven can be translated from plate to pallet.
Arouse the senses by entering into a restaurant that feels like a relaxing vacation into a world unknown filled with traditional Italian dishes, service, quality and above all, what Italians always commit to - satisfaction of the mind, body and above all, tummy.
Unwind by choosing a bottle of vino while enjoying the outside dinning at Piazza Pellegrini (which is a must) - heat lamps, checkerboard tablecloths, jealous street walkers included.
Leave the carbohydrate-crazed blues behind for a day or night of complete indulgence of hearty heritage. For the fans of sultry seafood, a dish that will prove a gold meal-medallion is the Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare ($19.95, but worth every nickel, dime and penny). A pillowing mound of fresh prawns, clams and mussels over a bed of spaghetti noodles, drizzled in a light blanket sauce covering of white wine or tomato. Sincerely, molto bene!
Not a fish fan-fanatic? Not a problem. Another mind blowing dish that is purely delizioso is the homemade ricotta Gnocchi ($16.95, but worth every last lick). Prepared in a gorgonzola cream sauce that is truly dreamlike, the dish is topped with fresh plump peas, asparagus and tender sausage. Out of this world and out of Nona's kitchen - a plate that will bring authenticity to the air and aromatherapy to the belly.
To view a full menu, visit the Piazza Pellegrini Web site (you won't be disappointed): http://www.piazzapellegrini.com/ ;
(415) 397-7355 ; open from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. everyday, weekends until 12 p.m.
And in all honesty, because everyone needs a little special something in life, follow the words of chef Emeril Lagasse and 'kick things up a notch' by choosing Italian (or a Italian) today or tonight. Start with Piazza Pellegrini.