Despite his local Italian roots, Foodgoat hates Cleveland's Little Italy district. Why? Because it's generally mediocre.
San Francisco's Little Italy district, North Beach, is generally tasty (well, except for that Stinking Rose place, which is gimmicky and prone to gastrointestinal consequences).
It was a North Beach place, Trattoria Pinocchio, that turned out to be the restaurant discovery of the trip. Foodgoat and his brothers stumbled upon after he took them on a vigorous walk up to Coit's Tower. They stopped for drinks and appetizers and ended up staying for dinner, and liked it so much that the word spread and soon, several other visitors ate there and declared it good.
I had a seat in the back, with a view of the stoves, so every once in a while I would see a burst of flames in the background. I don't know what they were making, but it was exciting, and the food was delizioso.
The calamari was especially yummy, being crisp and tender and perfectly cooked, and the pasta dishes also were winners. Even Foodgoat thought so, and where Italian food is concerned, he's not easy to please.