Dispensa Italian Charcoal Kitchen

4.4
133 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Italian
Dispensa: Italian for pantry. A place for savory herb blends, succulent preserves, and fresh produce, straight from the garden.

Our kitchen features an indoor charcoal oven, the first of its kind in the US, that utilizes sustainable, environmentally friendly fuel. Without gas or electricity, we create simple, flavorful dishes using perfectly tender meats and vegetables

Welcome to Dispensa. Real California ingredients with a rustic Italian flair.
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Italian, Contemporary European
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Hours of operation
Dinner
Tue–Sat 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Sunday 4:00 pm -8:00 pm
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Phone number
(415) 896-4021
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Michele Bevilacqua
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Cross street
Golden Gate
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Parking details
There are a few public parking lots close to the restaurant.
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Public transit
Civic Center BART, Powell Street car, Cable Car, MUNI
Additional
Banquet, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Gluten-free Menu, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Wine

Private Dining

DISPENSA: We recreate an cozy and rustic ambience of our country house. We combine this atmosphere with simple and unique flavor of our memory from the childhood in the plate.

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What 133 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.4
service
4.0
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great meal before show. Excellent service so we could relax a make it to the theater

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OT
Dallas
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great staff and food. The organic beet salad was large enough to share and the porkchop was perfectly flavorful.

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S
San Francisco
49 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our third or fourth visit. Things are still great. I had the steak this time. I think I'd pick the pork chop or cornish game hen over the steak next time. They're all excellent, but the chop and hen stand out. Always get the pinsa bread - its worth it. The service continues to be excellent and they got us out in time for theater - despite SHN moving up curtain time by half hour.

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OT
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Our waiter kept forgetting things to bring to the table that we had requested. Otherwise we would’ve given the place five stars because the food really was excellent.

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MA
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a hidden gem in the theater district. Fresh organic dishes and great service. The chef came to our table to explain how the lamb shank is cooked and it is not a medium rare dish. The shank was perfect and you could smell the rosemary. A nice selection of Italian wines, but limited choices.

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NB
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

They were very accommodating with seating request. The food was very good, although my husbands steak and vegetables were cold from sitting and waiting for my Cornish Hen, which was delicious. The salad and side of mushrooms were delicious as well. Super convenient if you're going to the Golden Gate Theatre. Very, very nice owner and staff. We will visit again.

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AS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Great new spot with a friendly staff and good ambiance. Some growing pains to work through as a new spot that's theater adjacent but can't wait to come back when they've settled in and give them five stars

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BD
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 7, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Limited but delicious menu choices. Long wait between being seated and having our orders taken but the owner comped dessert to make up for it.

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HT
1 review
Dined on December 5, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

Our reservation specified a low top table, but it was not held for us and we had to settle for an awkward high top. The chef tables along the kitchen are very uncomfortable- the light is bleak and the view of the dirty back hall is unappealing. The smoke from the open kitchen is also quite unpleasant- it smelled like kerosene the entire meal. The food varied from nondescript to decent, with one high point being the creamy polenta. The prices are far too high for the environment and quantity, however. Its proximity to the theater and the friendly chef are its most redeeming qualities.

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s
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food and service.

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OB
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing place. Met the owner who was awesome and even brought over the pan where he cooked our lamb shank just to pour over a little more sauce for us! Will definitely be coming back.

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M
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 2

Good food, poor service

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RB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

Food was very good & fresh but limited fairly expensive menu. Service disorganized & slow. Got loud as it filled up. Next to Golden Gate Theatre.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great time before going to the theater on a Tuesday night. The food was amazing and I knew after ordering the bread(!) it was going to be a delicious dinner. We ordered the Pork chop and the cauliflower. I would go back often!

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FT
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 3

The food was good but nothing special. We ordered the octopus starter and there was barely any octopus...
The entree portions were generous, but the game hen was slightly dry and the fish special bland and I had a hard time finding the salsa verde, which would have made it a lot more interesting.
The wine was delicious and the staff very nice! But overall, we spent $150 for 2 people, which might have been justified for a better meal.

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r
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 1

Decor is spartan, mismatched and blah. Food is blah at best. The pork chop was large, but lacked flavor. It really needed salt and pepper, but neither was on the table. The squash underneath was burned and only semi eatable. Some of it tasted unpleasantly bitter. It was too noisy to talk at the small table. I will never go back.

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LG
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Super kind and friendly service, excellent wines by the glass. Definitely plan to come back!

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MH
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

A very small restaurant and tables very close together. Food quality was very good. The location is perfect if you are going to the Golden Gate Theater.

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d
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Imaginative and not your typical Italian restaurant - great food and chef/owner was cordial and proud of his very fine establishment and food.

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b
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

Too noisy too busy near show time. Had to ask for bread and aside plate. Size of portions unequel

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SN
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 3ambience 1

Extremely crowded and noisy at 6:15 PM on a Tuesday; could not carry on conversations. Good Italian red wine. Had to pay $3.00 for bread, which never came, had to request again. One of 4 of us enjoyed her meal (the rib eye steak), 2 others ambivilent. My pork chop was undercooked, tough, almost raw, no side dishes except grilled squash and (thankfully) a grilled lemon half. Expensive dishes, we would not return.

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R
San Francisco
63 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great food and wonderful service. Go!!!

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JR
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 2food 5service 1ambience 3

While the food was great, the service was poor. Yes we were in during the pre theater rush but they around the corner from the theater and should know how to handle the crowd. I arrived before my wife and friends and sat at the table for a good 15 minutes. I was barely seated and given no menus or water. No one ever came by to check with me at all. After the rest of my group showed up it was another 15 minutes before we were able to flag down someone to give us some water and menus. The place is not that big so they are able to see us trying to get their attention. I then had to practically stand in the way in order for someone to take our order. That is 30 minutes in a restaurant with no interaction from the waitstaff which is just ridiculous. The food was excellent and it is around the corner from the theater so we will give it another try but they have a lot to make up for.

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JR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

While the food was good it was expensive and small portions. It was all a la carte including the bread and water. The menu selection is limited and items on the menu were not even available on that day due to “freshness” concerns which made the selection even more limited.

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S
San Francisco
50 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This was our second time eating here. Awesome pre-theater dinner choice if you're going to the Golden Gate theater or others nearby. The pork belly app was astounding. Last time I had the pork chop entree and it was great. This time I tried the game hen and that too delivered. The Pinsa bread was a nice side.

Its not the most romantic place. And the noise level is definitely energetic. But the location is perfect for theater. And the food is really, really good.

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T
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My wife and I enjoyed a pre-theater dinner last week. We shared a salad and appetizer and a main course. All were nicely presented and delicious. The wine list provided a number of Italian alternatives. The two we selected did not disappoint. The wait staff was remarkable with their polite service, always with a smile. Despite being busy, they were always available without being assertive. The chef even helped serve while there was a lull in the kitchen. We enjoyed a brief conversation with him about his charcoal grill. Dispensa Italian Charcoal Kitchen was a nice find for us. We will certainly be back!

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good place to eat before a show at Golden Gate Theater. Been there twice. First meal was great. This time was good. Need to go again to confirm the great rating.

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DB
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Great place to grab dinner before going to the theater at the Golden Gate.

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NS
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We enjoyed our meal and experience at Dispensa very much. It is extremely convenient for a pre-theatre meal. The fish of the day was rock-cod and it was prepared creatively and was delicious. My dinner companion raved about the rib-eye steak and how tender it was and how it was prepared. Both meals were quite large. The wine recommendations by the waiter were spot on- nice selection of Italian wines.
The service was friendly and nicely done. I plan to return.

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EK
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Great food, friendly atmosphere , professional service !!

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AJ
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service was outstanding. The food was delicious - and while we had one issue with something being overcooked, the waiter went over and above to compensate for the problem. The chef also checked in with us twice (once just to introduce and check in with us, and once to check in on the issue). Highly recommend this restaurant for it's perfectly prepared and well-dressed food, unique vegetable options, and again - stellar high touch service.

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TG
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was excellent. Staff was on point. Great place to take your partner for an anniversary or a night on the town.

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NH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous addition to what is otherwise a bit of a restaurant desert in the Civic Center/Market Street area. The food was lovely and delicious but not at all pretentious. Service was attentive and the chef came out to say hello. We will definitely be back!

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OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service. It’s as good as homemade if not better

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b
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

we arrived for 6pm reservation -by that time 2 of the 4 main courses were no longer available. While the food we ordered was very good and the chef came out to apologize and offer a comp for the lack of menu items, we left feeling very disappointed and will not return.

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VI
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

We waited 15 minutes past our reservation time but they graciously compensated our wait with a complimentary glass of wine. Grilled pork chop was thick and moist. My companion's ribeye was also good.

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K
Denver
6 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Not a criticism, but rather advice. Choose your meal time carefully. Our 7:15 reservation had us waiting until almost 8:00 before we sat down. Patrons tend to linger as they await when they are going to the theater. There are a limited number of tables, so those that decided to have casual conversations after their meals until they went to their next destination created the problem. The staff was FANTASTIC. They continued to apologize for the wait (even though it wasn't within their control). And the food was, without a doubt, some of the best I've had on the West Coast. I was disappointed I wasn't able to try the crispy pork belly since they had run out (an indicator that it must be good). Overall, I highly recommend, just be aware that a reservation between 6:30 - 7:30 may get pushed back.

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C
Las Vegas
5 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a great little Italian restaurant . Our food was beautifully presented and beautifully prepared. We are Italian and sometimes hard to please, but not in this case. The food and service was fabulous. The Chef came to the table and asked how it was, he is a fine fine chef. Simple, clean, wonderful tasty Italian food. The bread is off the hook too.

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ED
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

3 of us dined at Dispensa for the first time. It's Italian but doesn't have pasta, which is why we went there. It's a small place but welcoming. The food server was gracious, friendly, humorous and answered all of our questions. The food is excellent! The noise level is very HIGH, but I would recommend Dispensa anyway. The theatre crowd leaves about 7:45 PM and there is a little lull before the next bunch of people come in. Enjoy!

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MB
San Francisco
35 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Don't let the location put you off - once through the door your are transported far away from the Tenderloin. The space is casual, urban and the service top notch, but the real star is the food. We ate here for a pre-theater meal - kicked off the adventure with some prosecco, then split a baby lettuce salad and the slow cooked octopus, for the main we had the Cornish hen and the pork chops with a side of the roasted cauliflower all straight from the charcoal oven. Tender & flavorful, moist and just the right portion size. Seasoned perfectly - we will be back.

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