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2400 Polk Street (at Union Street)
Pluses: Exceptional service, great for out of town guests, impressive wine list, warm atmosphere.
Minuses: parking, crowded on weekends.
Prices: Moderate to expensive.
dinner Tuesday thru Sunday, closed Mondays.
Valet or parking lot available
The best description for Antica is simply authentic Italian fare. Antica is one of the growing number of restaurants by Chef/Owner Ruggiero Gidaldi, which includes Pesce and The Last Supper Club. His empire all started at Antica in the heart of Russian Hill. Upon entering the richly earth toned abode, you get the feeling of a real neighborhood restaurant without any sacrifice to elegance, great food, and at the same time the sense of what an authentic Italian trattoria might resemble. White tablecloths, wooden floors and enough sparseness create a sense of mixed modernity and tradition all wrapped into one Italian mecca. The menu is simply superb and, at the same time, straightforward. The choices are ample, but not too overwhelming and include an array of choices in the antipasti, first and second course categories. Eggplant (served as an appetizer or entrée), the light and skillfully prepared breaded veal, papperdelle with wild boar ragout, and orrecchiette with broccoli rabe and baby shrimp are just a few of the winning dishes. Delicately prepared sides such as the sautéed spinach with raisins and pine nuts can be ordered and arranged as a complete meal all on its own when paired with a few appetizers. The deserts are top notch with the best tiramisu and panna cotta in town and should not be missed.