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Tucked behind the Old Mint in a charming bit of downtown urban renewal is this small, stylish Italian restaurant in SOMA. 54 Mint features the lusty, full-flavored cooking of Sicily: bucatini with fresh sardines, fennel, and raisins; baccala (cod fish croquettes); and arancini (deep-fried rice balls flavored with saffron). The silky potato gnocchi served with a hearty meat ragu are irresistible. Desserts include a flourless chocolate cake chunky with almonds, and panna cotta splashed with aged balsamic vinegar. There's a long marble-topped bar where you can sample the almost-all-Italian wine list. The outdoor tables on the plaza are pleasant at lunch.
More surprising than the fact that the address of 54 Mint is actually 16 Mint Plaza is that there's a new Italian restaurant in town that not only doesn't specialize in pizza — it doesn't even offer pizza. It turns out that 54 Mint was the... More »
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