Caffe Delle Stelle

On the corner of Hayes and Gough. I went here with some friends before going to the opera. If you plan to eat here and catch a performance, come more than an hour ahead or just plan for the pasta, since it is usually pretty busy and the meat dishes take a while to prepare. It’s a pretty nice Italian restaurant with reasonably-priced entrees. There’s a prix fixe for $20 which is worth it if you get one of the more expensive entrees.

I had a fusilli with grilled chicken, asparagus, peas, and mushrooms. It was a generous serving, but not too much, and was not weighed down in sauce, which was a pleasant surprise. It was a little heavier on the olive oil than I expected, but it wasn’t oppressive. The bread they serve comes with this tomato tapenade that is really tasty — it’s a pity they don’t seem to have an “infinite bread” policy. The others at my table got a fettucine with sun-dried tomatoes, crab ravioli in a tomato-cream sauce with brandy, and squash ravioli. The overall judgement was that they were pretty good, but not mind-blowing by any stretch of the imagination.

All in all, a decent place to go before a program at the symphony or the opera. There are a lot of other good places in Hayes valley though, so it’s more a matter of what you are in the mood for. If you want Italian for under $15, Caffe Delle Stelle is a pretty good bet.

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