Thursday, May 23, 2013

Out and About: Green Street, North Beach, San Francisco

By Stephanie Wright Hession

All photographs by Stephanie Wright Hession. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

Green Street, North Beach, S.F.: Italian immigrants settled in this neighborhood, bringing their language, skills and regional fare from their native homeland. They opened restaurants, delis, bakeries, shoe repair shops, grocery and hardware stores and more. Despite the influx of tourists and 20 somethings coming here to party on weekends, some of the old North Beach remains in the family owned businesses where generations of Italian Americans continue their traditions.

1. Amante

570 Green St.: Unwind with a martini while perched on a comfy seat in the lounge area or with a beer while watching sports at the bar in this jovial neighborhood spot. The Chubby Noodle also serves up Korean pork tacos, buttermilk brined, organic fried chicken and other small plates here. (415) 362-4400,,


2. Gigi’s Sotto Mare

552 Green St.: At Gigi Fiorucci’s place, it’s all about the cioppino, the fresh fish and the shell fish. From oysters on the half shell to mussel and clam steamers to cracked, Dungeness crab to Boston style, clam chowder to baccalĂ , this is the place for seafood lovers to get their fix. (415) 398-3181,

Gigi’s Sotto Mare

Gigi’s Sotto Mare

3. Vicoletto

550 Green St.: Sit outside and people watch while dipping, house made focaccia bread into bowls of rich olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Choose from Francesco Covucci and Peter Fazio’s menu, which draws from the cuisine of their native Calabria. Standouts include the lobster raviolis topped with sautĂ©ed prawns and a tomato brandy cream sauce (415) 433-5800,


4. Dante Benedetti mural

Jasper Alley (at Green Street): Anyone who dined on the family-style meals at Dante Benedetti’s New Pisa Restaurant couldn’t miss the baseball mementos the collegiate coach displayed on its walls, an expression of the passion he held for the sport. Sadly, Benedetti died in 2005 but friends including Gigi Fiorucci honored him with this mural.

Dante Benedetti mural

Dante Benedetti mural

5. Gino and Carlo

548 Green St.: If you want to get a sense what North Beach used to be like, stop at Gino and Carlo, a sports bar and cocktail lounge opened in 1942. Start a conversation with the regulars—some whose families have frequented this establishment for generations—and hear their personal tales of the neighborhood. (415) 421-0896,

Gino and Carlo

Gino and Carlo

6. Golden Boy Pizza

542 Green St.: At age 19, Peter Sodini opened Golden Boy Pizza in the late 1970s. Today, his sons continue to make its square pizza, sold by the slice or the sheet. Varieties include
a pesto vegetarian, the combination made with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini and onions, and the clam and garlic.
(415) 982-9738,

 Golden Boy Pizza

Of Note:

North Beach Festival activities include blessing of the animals, Italian street paintings, live music, poetry, arts and crafts exhibits, gourmet food booths and beer and wine gardens throughout the North Beach neighborhood. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16. Rain or shine. Free. www.