f you are looking for a true Italian gem, come to L'Osteria del Forno where everything is cooked from the oven. "Osteria" comes from the latin root "Host" and up until the 1930/40's a modest place where you could find a room, wine and food. Later it became a place where men (usually retired or out of work) would gather to play cards and drink wine.

When you want the pleasure of eating everyday Italian, think of L'Osteria del Forno, a North Beach treasure established in 1990 by two Italian women, one from Varese and one from Bologna. It is now a family ownership with the help of a cousin and his wife who was raised in Provence (south of France) just a few hundred kilometers away from his roots.

L'Osteria del Forno makes the best focaccia and focaccia sandwiches in the city. In addition, look for the roast of the day and the pork, which is braised in milk and herbs and served warm with some roasted rosemary potatoes. Pair your food with a glass of Italian wine or an aperitif from the bar (yes, as tiny as it is, there is a full bar at L'Osteria del Forno). There is a nice selection of grappa. Try also the delicious thin-crust pizza slathered with whole milk mozzarella, tomato sauce and Italian sausage. Since L'Osteria del Forno is open continuously from lunch until 10:00 pm on weekdays and 10:30 pm on weekends, it is perfect for off-hour and drop-in dining.

L'Osteria del Forno is perfect for dates, a quick bite or a casual dinner with old friends. Due to restaurant size large parties are hard to accommodate. If your party is larger than 5 it would be a good idea to avoid peak hours.