If you aren't familiar, the chef at Incanto is Chris Cosentino, winner of season four of Bravo TV's "Top Chef Masters." I was starstruck at the idea of eating there.
The night of the dinner the weather was perfect - sunny with a light, bay breeze. Outside, Incanto has a sign above the door with the restaurant's name in elegant script.
Over each window there is a pig head! Perhaps a nod to the chef's obsession with offal and charcuterie.
Right inside the entry way of the restaurant is a display case with meats and cheeses. You can order these items for pick up or to go. Seems like a lovely idea for a summer picnic.
The main dining room gets rays of natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The whole space is very bright from the sunlight and the large, colored pieces of art work hanging on the wall.
I love this piece that is floating above one of the high top tables.
We were seated in the private dining room which is at the rear of the restaurant.
One entire wall is stacked with wine bottles.
The private dining room has such a warm, inviting feeling to it. I would happily host any special occasion celebration back there.
Once all the guests arrived and we were seated, our waiter brought out the most generous antipasto plate I have ever seen. Meat lovers, Incanto is for you!
In a truly thoughtful gesture, I was delivered a vegetarian plate to nosh on while the carnivores dug into the antipasto.
Next, we all shared fresh bread with olive tapenade. The focaccia bread was the group favorite with it's doughy texture and garnish of herbs.
For the salad course, I enjoyed the arugula with strawberries, lemon basil and almonds. Lately I find myself really loving fruit in salad. All of these ingredients worked very harmoniously together.
For the entree round, next to me a friend ordered the cornish game hen with cherry tomatoes, peppers and corn. The yellow and red tomatoes added brilliant color to the dish.
On the other side, another friend went with the goat served with eggplant, chilli, capers and mint. I was impressed by the dramatic presentation!
The vegetarian option was a tomato basil risotto. I took a risotto making class and ever since then I find myself being much more critical. This dish more than passed the test! The rice was perfectly cooked, the tomatoes were juicy and the heat of the dish let you know it came straight out of the pot.
I was overwhelmed by the beauty of Incanto and the superior quality of the food. Several of the dinner guests at this event (most native to San Francisco) said, "I have been trying to get a reservation here for months!" It is clear to see why Incanto is so popular and beloved.
Visit for yourself at 1550 Church Street, San Francisco, CA 94131.