Tartine, Pizzeria Delfina, Bi-Rite – 8/29/10

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Pizzeria Delfina
3611 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

It’s hard for me to think of another city block that has such a diverse selection of good food than this San Francisco block of 18th Street, between Guerrero and Dolores. On one corner you have Tartine Bakery, one of the best bakeries in the city. A few doors down is Pizzeria Delfina, home to some of the best pizza in the city, and its sister restaurant, Delfina, which is notable for rustic, upscale Italian food. Just a few storefronts down is Bi-Rite Market, a neighborhood market home to fresh, organic produce from its own farms. And across the street from that is Bi-Rite Creamery, a nationally recognized ice cream shop, which happens to be my favorite. I’ve always said you could make a helluva day having breakfast at Tartine, grabbing lunch at Pizzeria Delfina, having dinner at Delfina, and enjoying dessert at Bi-Rite – without leaving the block.

I tested this hypothesis in a nutshell by turning this into a three-stop lunch.

Tartine Bakery

Tartine always seems to be packed, with a line reaching far out the door. I’ve heard people rave about all sorts of pastries at Tartine, from the bread pudding to the croissants to the cakes, but I come for one thing – the morning bun.

I like to describe this pastry as some sort of half-cinnamon roll, half-croissant hybrid. It can be one of the hardest things to get at Tartine, typically selling out long before noon (maybe what’s why they call it a morning bun?). Just my luck, I was able to get one around noon on this Sunday.

Best when fresh out of the oven (what isn’t), it’s flaky on the outside, with a really buttery, moist interior. Caramelized orange rind is dispersed throughout, giving the pastry a little bit of candied chew and fresh orange flavor. Remarkable.

Pizzeria Delfina

Maybe ten feet down is Pizzeria Delfina, where we had the bulk of our lunch. Created by Craig and Anne Stoll of Delfina, this place was set out to be a more casual restaurant serving pizzas and various Italian specialties.

Crazy Melon watermelon, feta cheese, olive oil, chili flake

I thought this was a pretty interesting dish and perfect for the summer. The watermelon was tasty and juicy, though I thought there were too many chili flakes. There was nothing to temper the heat, and it overwhelmed the more mild flavors of the melon.

Oxtails alla Pizzaiolo braised in red wine, crispy potatoes

The oxtail was quite tender and braised well, though I wouldn’t say it was particularly memorable. However, the potatoes were – half french fry, half potato chip, with a nice crispy exterior and just a little bit of a fluffy interior. Excellent.

Margherita Pizza tomato, fior di latte mozzarella, basil

The Margherita is something almost every pizzeria has, making it easy to compare one pizza at a number of places. At Pizzeria Delfina, it’s reliably good with a fantastic, chewy crust. The flavors of the tomato, mozzarella, and basil are individually distinctive, yet work well together.

Bi-Rite Creamery

I’ve been to Bi-Rite numerous times, and I have to say it’s probably my favorite ice cream shop. They have a number of creative, interesting flavors (though not quite as unusual as Humphry Slocombe) such as honey lavender, ginger, roasted banana, and balsamic strawberry. In addition, they have some “comfortable” favorites like vanilla, chocolate, mint chip and cookies & cream.

I opted for my go-to: honey lavender. It’s hard to describe. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet, nor overwhelmingly of lavender..you’ll just have to try it yourself. I had commented that Ludo’s honey lavender butter of LudoBites 4.0 was eerily similar in flavor, so if you’ve had that, you’re on the right track.

If you’re in San Francisco, I definitely recommend checking out some of the places on this block. There’s something for everyone, and I think you’ll be able to find something (or many things) to enjoy!


  1. that block is so blessed. i love it.
    ps: have you ever tried pizzeria delfina’s salssicia pizza? delicious.
    and their purgatorio pizza reminded me of pizzeria ortica’s milanesa pizza.

    1. I know, right? I think I have had their sausage pizza, but not the purgatorio – sounds like something to try next time!

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