Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to dining out in an uncontrolled setting. We've walked into several restaurants with the baby, only to realize the fit was not right--too small, too loud, too quiet--whatever. So the key having a solid plan b, or at least the ability to create one on the fly. We learned this on recent Monday night, which got off to a rough start but ended with flying colors at a special Italian spot in the Mission of all places.
Since we were initially craving pizza, we headed across town for a special night at a beloved (and popular) neighborhood spot only to discover a huge line outside the door. Indefinite waits and babies don't mix, so we hopped back in the car searching for a place nearby that could fill our Italian craving. And we didn't want to go all the way to North Beach. What we found is a special Italian spot in the heart of the Mission loved by celebrities and families alike.
La Traviata on Mission at 25th is a traditional white tablecloth sort of place, and we were happy to find our family was right at home for dinner along side couples eating off each other plates and families with surly teenagers peeking at phones under tables. The restaurant was not full but not empty, so we took a roomy booth with plenty of space for a booster seat and a great view of the whole place. The hostess was naturally cheerful, made goo-goo eyes with the baby and moved our wine glasses out of her arm's reach.
A piping hot basket of bread came to the table, and our server also brought some candies for the baby. La Traviata's menu is traditional Italian, and even then their entrees skew rich. My pesto sauce was more like a pesto cream--tasty, but not what I was expecting. Hubby had the chicken parmesan, which came without the usual side of pasta, but the dish was rich enough he wouldn't have been able to eat it anyway. The food arrived hot and fast, tasted bright and fresh, and was perfect for sharing.
This really is a family establishment. It makes sense that such a restaurant would serve meals that are best enjoyed family style--the walls are covered with people smiling over platters of food, photos of celebrity dinners and of course famous opera singers (opera is the not-so-subtle theme here, from the name La Traviata to the music that softly plays). One of their most popular dishes is named after opera star Beverly Sills. This restaurant is truly old school in all the best, most comforting ways.
2854 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Stroller Friendly? Yes
High chairs? Yes (and boosters)
Changing Tables? No
Takes Reservations? Yes