During my family’s visit to the San Francisco Bay Area for my graduation, I decided to take them on a tour around Little Italy in San Francisco so they could have a taste of Italian food that was more authentic than what we could find in our hometown. We stumbled upon Firenze by Night, which turned out to be popular among patrons who approve of the dishes’ authenticity.
A lot of Yelp reviewers rave about their gnocchi which I did not end up ordering because I generally find gnocchi too starchy. Instead, I ordered the Pappardelle ala Toscana which a lot of people reviewed very favourably too. It is basically very wide pasta noodles in rabbit sauce, definitely a deviation from the likes of Chicken Marsala or Frutti di Mare that I frequently order at Italian restaurants. Rabbit sauce sounded interesting to me so I went with it.
Pappardelle ala Toscana @ Firenze by Night, Little Italy SF
It was quite a simple dish but not the pasta-I-can-cook-myself kind of simplicity. It was literally fresh egg pasta. And sauce. With bits of rabbit meat. It was a good dish but not overwhelmingly amazing like what I was led to believe. Perhaps my taste in Italian food is less authentic and more American than I thought. I also had a taste of the other dishes that my family ordered which had seafood and I have to say that Firenze by Night does its seafood well. The seafood linguini that my mother ordered as well as the seafood entree my father got were tres fresh and delicious.
Seafood Linguini @ Firenze by Night, Little Italy SF
Overall, Excellent service and better than your average Italian restaurant. However, I would like to believe that there are better Italian restaurants in the same price range somewhere in Little Italy or the city. My family and I actually preferred our experience at Scoma’s Restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf despite the heftier bill (old post here).
As for desserts, we undoubtedly went for gelato. I took my family to Gelataria Naia, a chain that was very popular among my friends before the branch in Berkeley closed down. Somehow, the gelato fell short of what I remembered it to be and I found myself favouring Almare Gelato in Berkeley. Yay to locally owned stores!