Uva Enoteca is one of those rare finds - a place that makes you feel comfortable and at ease while simultaneously offering you fantastic quality food and wines, with lighting and decor that perfectly compliments the casual-date like quality...even if the "date" is your good friend, Rachel!
In Uva's own words, "Enotecas are popular throughout Italy for their inviting atmosphere, simple, honest food, and good wine." As soon as you walk in the door, you know this will be a night of good food and conversation - while the restaurant is a bit loud, it is buzzing with activity and people, encouraging you to buzz right along.
Uva serves wine Quartino-style (about 1/3 of a normal bottle of wine in a small decanter) so that you can share with friends and try different wines, or simply get enough of one you love on your own. I got a white wine that I was very happy with (that's not difficult) while our waiter was helpful in finding Rachel the perfect red.
After we were served our Quartinos, we got so caught up in chatting that we hadn't even looked at the menu by the time our server came back around - luckily, I'd been there twice before (with my friend Valerie on another friend date, and for Lindsay's SF bachelorette dinner)! I must like this place.
The first thing I told Rachel we just HAD to get was the kale, ricotta, and almond salad. It's lightly tossed with a lemony vinaigrette and has the perfect balance of ricotta and almond slivers to add a bit of depth and crunch. I could eat this salad everyday.
Next, we each ordered a pizza and then split them - I got my unexpected (if you know me) favorite, the spicy salami, while she ordered the traditional pizza margherita.
The spicy salami really has a kick to it, but for some reason, I just can't get enough! Maybe it's the parsley (which I actually really like), maybe it's the subtle sweetness underpinning the layer of cheesy goodness, who knows. Either way, I'll continue to order this one until someone physically makes me try a new 'za...
The margherita pizza, on the other hand, was a great baseline to keep coming back to in between spicy salami slices. The mozzarella was perfectly melted and -- when combined with the flavorful sauce, beautiful basil, and fluffy crust -- completely satisfying.
Let me just say, we took down our fair share of slices.
After the plates were cleared and we each had a few more sips of wine, I told Rachel we just must order dessert - if only for the pictures! Ah, blogging: the greatest excuse to order dessert that ever was.
Not that anyone needs an excuse to order dessert in a restaurant that offers: cheesecake with seasonal toppings (they're boasting cherries currently but I've seen it with strawberries); a vanilla & pistachio semifreddo; vanilla gelato with sea salt and olive oil; an affogato (espresso with vanilla gelato); and (my personal favorite) the chocolate budino with caramel, whipped cream, and marcona almonds.
Phew, what an evening! Who wants to be my next Uva Enoteca guest? I won't stop until I've introduced all my San Francisco friends (and some out of town visitors) to this fabulous eatery. Maybe I should try their brunch menu next time!