With its large space and casual vibe, Gioia has become a Russian Hill standby, drawing families with kids, groups of friends, and even solo diners (there's lots of counter seating). The rustic décor features white subway-tile walls, an open kitchen, and wood and metal furniture. Be warned: the noise level can be a bit high for any intimate conversation. The highlight here is pizza, with creatively topped pies like summer squash with pesto, burrata, and Calabrian chili, or sausage, broccoli, leeks, pecorino, and olives. They're pricey, but worth it. A selection of salads and antipasti make for great starters. Otherwise, opt for rigatoncini in a meaty pork ragù with fresh, creamy ricotta and more Calabrian chili. A second location dwells in Berkeley.
- MICHELIN guide inspectors