The Mission are of San Francisco is still pretty gritty. I actually like it. Bar Bambino is there. A tiny Italian restaurant with no heat.
We were seated at the front of the restaurant because the back was full ( only one table ) and the back yard was too cold for tonight. BTW, the restaurant was as cold inside as it was outside. We all wore our coats most of dinner which was sort of a drag.
Dinner was mixed. I liked the feel at Bar Bambino. Very Italian. Cheeses, paninis, the biggest bruschettas you have ever seen, pastas and main courses. There is also about 6 olive oils that you can taste for about $2-3 a pop. Interesting. Conceptually a great idea. Very old school with pounded wooden tables and wooden chairs surrounded by great lighting and a large bar. A very groovy place to hang.
We began with the pumpkin, greens and fontina cheese bruschetta. Two huge pieces of Italian bread that was slathered with olive oil and garlic and then sauteed greens, roasted pumpkin and fontina cheese melted on top. The flavors were good except for the garlic but more than enough for 5 people to split. On top of that we all had appetizers. Arugula, roasted beet with goat cheese and hazelnut salad. Very light on the dressing and sort of bland. Another was thinly sliced fennel served with incredible blood red grapefruit slices. Lastly the Italian tuna salad. Very dry tuna served with hard cannelli beans and sliced red onions. Not great.
Dinner was mixed too. Josh went with the pasta for his main course. Only should be eaten as an appetizer. Small portion. He went with the tomato, sirloin and mushroom sauce. Like a ragu. Could have had more sauce. Fred and I split the branzino which was roasted in covered breadcrumbs. This is marked on the menu for 2. Believe me, it is for one and was boney. The girls each had the chicken. Half a chicken grilled under a brick seasoned with sage. This is plenty for one. Sort of strange that the fish is for two. The chicken was juicy and tasty but the thigh and leg were raw in side. Not cooked enough. Drag. Each dish comes with nothing except what you ordered so make sure you order sides.
Nothing rocked our boat on the desserts so we called it quits. If I lived in San Francisco, I might give Bar Bambino another choice and take a seat at the bar one night. Have some cheese, salami and perhaps split some sides, a panini and a bruschetta. The waiter, although very nice, should have said something about size, sides and expectations. He took our order with absolutely no feedback. The restaurant is missing out on larger orders and the patrons are missing out on a better meal.
Mixed review on Bar Bambino. Emily and I thought it was okay but Josh, Jess and Fred gave Bar Bambino a big thumbs down.