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750 SW Alder St. Send to Phone

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily

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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Oritalia Restaurant Review

: The d├ęcor is sumptuous: booths with curtains and tasseled rope ties, polished wood, huge well-lit paintings, and elegant chopsticks resting on a disk illustrated with haikus by Basho. This San Francisco outpost is a most opulent purveyor of fusion food (Oriental + Italian), a testimony less to terroir than to the ingenuity of a chef’s imagination. It is mostly a classy Asian restaurant with a few touches of the Mediterranean, but most of the fusion part can be a bit silly: why would you want foccaccia bread just before a platter of delicate raw tuna minced and blended with carrots, Asian pears, and shiso---an herb something like basil---all placed gingerly atop crispy rice cakes? Yet when things come together, as they often do here, the tastes are explosive. Perhaps it’s niggardly to complain; as my dining partner said, When in Tokyo do as the Romans. But not even Marco Polo dreamed Oritalia’s baroque dreams. And yet, sake-steamed bass is loaded with flavor, accompanying portobello mushrooms provide body, and Chinese black bean sauce lends a welcome salty touch to the mild fish. Even more wonderful is the plate of rare ahi slices, grounded in a heady mustard sauce, accompanied by a lotus leaf open like an offering of perfumed jasmine rice. The true test might be how frequently one returns, once the initial excitement fades. For the moment, it strikes us as somewhat as an exercise in culinary multiculturalism, but not a bad one.


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