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Now in Its Third Decade, North Beach Osteria Da Flora Is Still a Find

After 22 years, Da Flora is going strong.

 

In the relentless search for the hot and noteworthy, it’s easy to forget that San Francisco is full of restaurants that are neither new nor particularly sexy. What they are is steadfastly reliable; they soldier on for decades without demanding anything in return but our patronage. Da Flora, the Venetian osteria perched on the northern stretch of Columbus Avenue, is one such place: Opened by Flora Gaspar in 1994, it has lured a generation of diners with the promise of simple but lusty food and a triangular dining room whose bloodred walls and heavy velvet curtains are equal parts bordello and Little Italy of the mind. The sweet-potato gnocchi and complimentary focaccia are the stuff of legend, and they have remained on the menu since Gaspar sold the restaurant to chef Jen McMahon and McMahon’s husband, Darren Lacy, this past May. The pair have made no discernible changes to the place; instead they’ve kept their focus on the handwritten menu, turning out bighearted pastas, slow-cooked meats, and pristine, plainspoken salads—and plenty of charm. 701 Columbus Ave. (at Filbert St.), 415-981-4664

 

Originally published in the October issue of San Francisco 

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