Italian. A stylish, breezy and romantic ambiance prevails at Brindisi. This charming neighborhood Italian restaurant in San Francisco favors traditional Italian cuisine with the occasional modern twist. The lengthy menu offers delectable appetizers, creative salads, classic pizzas, tempting pastas and an array of main courses that feature everything from succulent meats to fresh seafood.

San Francisco's Belden Place is well known for its French bistros and outdoor seating, as well as a general European vibe that is reinforced by a preponderance of patrons smoking filterless cigarettes in the table-filled alley. Brindisi's Southern Italian menu offers a fair distraction from the hubbub of the street, and the super-charming Italian waiters, when they are not too hurried to bring you water, make for at least 50% of the positive dining experience.

On a recent visit during crab season, we found Chef Fabrizio Protopapa's cuisine to be a mixed bag, ranging from completely delightful to downright reprehensible. That said, we'd recommend Brindisi anytime for its magnificent panna cotta, its relatively sophisticated atmosphere and overall romantic location. -- Thor Elliott and Margaret Meriwether

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