Geary Blvd. in San Francisco has many ethnic restaurants, it is a sleepy area, but jammed packed with delightfully creative dining. Simple, yet elegant, Mescolanza does not disappoint. Chef Rueben decided what I should try and he did a great job of giving me some nice tastings off the menu. Mescolanza is a cozy Italian restaurant nestled in the Richmond District of San Francisco, known for its northern Italian menu.
Their décor is simple and elegant, with 2 dining rooms, a mural of the Trevi fountain in Italy adorns the second dining room, and café chair and tables work just perfectly as a backdrop for this delicious food. Festive chopping blocks are wall art, there are wooden floors and blue ceilings with round drop lighting fixtures, making for nice soft lighting, all done with the utmost taste. The bay windows add that only in San Francisco touch. The music they play is Italian opera.
The customers are families, dates, and locals, all very sophisticated. The night I was there they had a private 21st birthday party with a special menu, all of those guests looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.
They can host dinners with special menus, wine events or private tastings, plus a devoted kitchen and chef for any event. The Trevi room can accommodate up to 30 people for private parties such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and business luncheons. The room is available on any day or night of the week and can be closed off from the main room with heavy curtains providing for a more intimate setting.
Owner and Chef Ruben and wife Maria Macedo, purchased Mescolanza from the previous owners back in November 1998. Ruben has worked at the restaurant since it opened in 1987, beginning as the pizza cook. It is not unusual for Ruben and Maria to begin their day with a trip to the produce market in the morning, do all the prep work in the early afternoon, work in the kitchen while the restaurant is open, and even do all the cleanup after everyone else has gone home.
Long before he bought Mescolanza, he was hired at the restaurant as a maintenance worker. Yet, during that time, he quietly dreamt of ideas for new dishes that could potentially help the restaurant. Rueben has a strong work ethic, so he worked hard as a janitor until he was promoted to working in the pantry. A short time later, he found himself training in the kitchen as a pizza chef.
Suddenly in 1998 an unexpected opportunity presented itself, and he purchased the business. Ever since that purchase he has always made sure that Mescolanza offers only the best quality of organic produce, wild fish, and hormone free poultry.
At the end of 2014, he lost the lease for his original location on Clement Street, and was forced to relocate. It was a very painful experience for them because the future of their restaurant was uncertain, and they faced tremendous hardships looking for a new location. Even after they found one just a few blocks away, there were many construction delays, which in turn, delayed their re-opening. Now, thanks to the loyalty of their customers and to their employees who have stuck by their side through the toughest of times. Today, they are extremely happy and grateful to continue serving their new and returning customers for a long time to come.
Here’s what I tried:
Melanzane Alla Griglia grilled eggplant, bruschetta, a nice array of flavors and the eggplant is cooked perfectly.
Carpaccio thinly sliced raw beef capers, red onions, mustard paste, shaved Parmesan cheese, and bruschetta. Very tender and moist, a great dish.
Insalata Caprese, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil. The tomato was ripe and delicious with the accompaniment of the cheese, it is one of my favorites.
Carciofi Con Gamberetti, artichoke bottom, baby shrimp. This item is a little gem, I love artichoke hearts and stuffed with shrimp, what could be better.
Linguine Alle Vongole Veraci fresh clams, garlic, tomato, cream. What I loved about this dish is that it is in a very mild cream sauce, but with lots of garlic, pretty unusual.
Ravioli Di Verdure, artichoke filled ravioli, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and butter, a nice well balanced dish, with just the right amount of seasonings.
Special for the week: Ravioli with seafood and artichoke, creamy tomato sauce, bell peppers, peas, topped with pecorino shavings. It came with a light red sauce and the peas were the highlight for me.
Vitello Marsala, shallots, mushrooms and Marsala wine. Super tender veal with a delightful sauce full of fragrant mushroom, a real winner.
Pesce Del Giorno, fresh salmon with seasonal vegetables. This could be the greatest salmon, with a firm but tender cut, and an amazing crispy layer on the top, can’t say enough about this lovely dish!
Sauvignon Blanc Sempre Vive, this is a great pairing with the artichoke and shrimp salad.
Chardonnay, San Simeon, I would drink this wine with the linguine and clams; it is well balanced and not too buttery to distract from the serious garlic flavors in the clam sauce.
Merlot delle Venezie, Cesari, this wine would work well with the salmon or the veal.
Wine of the night: Bogle, Phantom. I liked this wine with the Carpaccio; a nice jammy texture went great with the beef.
In Ruben’s own words, “I’ve worked in many different Italian restaurants since the early 80’s to make ends meet, and I have always thought constantly of ways that I could improve my life and consequentially my work.
Chef Reuben calls one of the biggest and most important events, was when Mescolanza were featured on Check Please Bay Area.
Their mission is simple: to serve delicious, affordable food that guests will want to return to week after week.
Next time you’re in the mood for honest Italian with no frills and great ingredients try coming to Mescolanza, it will make you happy and realize that in this case less is absolutely more.
3750 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA. 94118
* Note some content was taken off of their website.