09 Oct Neighborhood gem: Albona Ristorante. Istriano
Looking for fabulous food, warm friendly service and valet parking? Albona Risorante is the first and only Istrian restaurant on the West Coast. Where is the Istrian Peninsula exactly? It lies in the Northern Adriatic Sea near Trieste, although today maps show it as Croatia, for nearly 2000 years Istria was part of Italy. Albona is tucked away in a residential area of North Beach & one could easily drive or even walk by and miss it, but once you step inside you are transported to a small, cozy, romantic restaurant that seems to be a favorite of North Beach locals.
Michael Bruno, the nephew of the owner and founder of Albona, Bruno Viscovi is a welcoming surprise, as he works between the kitchen, waiting tables and greeting everyone, as if they were part of “the family”. Albona’s food is unbelievably amazing, fresh and beautifully presented, along with an impressive wine list to boot. One must try the Prosuto de Parma con fighi, grilled figs wrapped in a lovely blanket of prosciutto,the squid stuffed with toasted bread crumbs, parsley and garlic, roasted in a homemade marinara sauce, is so good that one could drink it! Entrées vary in an impressive selection, from homemade pastas to poultry, seafood and meats, including a gorgeous braised rabbit with onions, juniper berries, honey, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. There truly is something for everyone, from the heartiest of carnivore’s to a strict vegetarian and everything in between.
Albona is a small restaurant, so reservations are highly recommended, they are open Tues. through Sat. 5pm to 10pm and the dining room may be reserved for private luncheons or dinner parties 7 days a week, they reside at 545 Francisco Street, (415) 441-1040. albonarestaurant.com for reservations online through opentable.com. Bravo, Albona Ristorante. Istriano!