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Paisan is a case study in high-end casual dining. Wood tables, paper napkins, and canisters of silverware keep the atmosphere light, while southern Italian cuisine with a California twist makes the menu enticing. The focus is mainly on traditional pastas, like fettuccine Bolognese, and contemporary thin-crust pizzas, like the potato-artichoke pie with bacon, rosemary, and Fontina cheese. But don’t miss innovative entrées such as the ribollita, a rich Tuscan stew of braised beef, kale, and borlotti beans, spotted with toasted bread and parmesan. As is practically required for any new Bay Area restaurant these days, meats and produce are often sourced from local distributors and farmers markets, before being turned into appetizers like fried cauliflower or an amazing chicory salad with white anchovies. Pass on the bland ricotta cheesecake, though. Lunch and dinner daily.
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