Trattoria Pinocchio 401 Columbus Ave./Vallejo St., North Beach, (415) 392-1472. Br-D daily; $$.
This corner spot set in the heart of North Beach offers both indoor tables with a great sidewalk view through large windows as well as outdoor sidewalk seating with heat lamps that brings you even closer to the street action. Our waiter was Italian and charming and took care of things. The kitchen makes fresh pastas (ravioli, gnocchi, lasagna, and fettucine) and desserts daily; don’t miss them. We started with a plate of four exquisitely tasty bruchetta topped with chopped tomato. I thought both my own blissful ravioli stuffed with housemade sausage and topped with a mushroom white sauce and my companion’s meat lasagna were equally delicious. The menu also offers thin-crust pizza, calzone, saltimboca, piccata, osso buco, scampi, and cioppino. Servings are generous. Though we each chose a glass of a different Italian wine, there is a full bar and a selection of cocktails, and instead of one of the enticing desserts, we shared a refreshing housemade limoncello digestif. Free jazz is scheduled on Monday nights from 7 to 10 p.m.
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image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers