The Perfect Italian Afternoon in San Francisco’s North Beach

Author: , October 28th, 2019

Acquolina - North Beach

We’ve been to North beach in San Francisco a number of times, but I always complain about how it’s only restaurants and coffee shops – no other real parts of Italian culture seem to be represented.

Well, that’s changed, and for the better. If you’re an Italianofile like Mark and I, there’s now an Italian bookstore in the heart of North beach, chock-full of Italian language books.

So we thought we’d share some tips for a perfect Italian afternoon in North Beach.

Start at Libreria Pino

In Italian, libreria means bookstore, while biblioteca means library. I know, confusing, right? This little bookstore on Greenwich Street, just a block east of Washington Square Park, is worth seeing. It’s only Italian language titles, making it perfect for both native speakers and those of us who are studying the Italian language.

Stop in about noon and browse the titles – there are so many to choose form, including a comprehensive children’s section at the back, and the owner, Joseph Carboni, is friendly and can help you zero in on the perfect book.

Libreria Pino - North Beach

Lunch at Acquolina

This cute little Italian restaurant faces Washington Square Park at Greenwich and Stockton, which most times is a big plus, but which was sadly more of a negative since there’s currently a big fence all around the park while it undergoes a renovation/rehabilitation. Still, it’s a cute little place.

The food here is fantastic – we had a salad with green apples and balsamic and a simple pepperoni pizza, and they were amazing, which makes sense, since acquolina means “mouth-watering.”

But the best part was our waiter, Marco, a recent transplant from Italy – I called him a twenty-five-year-old with a forty-five-year-old’s mustache (see the first photo above). He’s a cute, friendly guy who was more than willing to speak Italian with us, and he made the meal.

Pizza - Acquolina - North Beach

Pizza - Acquolina - North Beach

Dessert at Lush Gelato

Top off your perfect Italian Afternoon just a block down Stockton at Lush Gelato – I had a cinnamon chocolate scoop of gelato there that was devine. Eat there, or take your gelato trean – an afternoon snack in Italy is called a merenda – and stroll through North Beach on a passeggiata (casual stroll) like a real Italian.

Lush Gelato - North Beach

Find lodging in and around North beach here.

Strolling in New York’s Little Italy

Author: , February 4th, 2015

Little Italy in New York

Visiting New York? Don’t miss the city’s Little Italy. Though the Italians have long gone and moved to different neighbourhoods, it’s still vibrant and alive with everything Italian. Going for a stroll around the area will reward you with something nice, quaint and lovely.

Little Italy isn’t just historic but you’ll also find familiar buildings, shops and streets you’ve seen in movies. So, before you go, research some of the landmarks that make the neighbourhood famous.

Hungry? Get a slice of pizza at Grimaldi’s, America’s first pizzeria. Not really the best pizza I had but certainly one of. 😀 You really have to line up here.

By Alain – Full Story at the Sojourner | New York City Gay Travel Resources

Gay San Diego: Little Italy

Author: , December 22nd, 2014

Little Italy Mural

Little ItalySandwiched between downtown and the airport, you’ll find San Diego’s Little Italy. Though small, this district makes up for its diminutive size with a lot of charm.

This is a great place to just park and stroll around a bit. Murals abound, including the ones shown here, and new construction is bringing more residents into this corner of downtown – there were new residential buildings popping up on all sides this trip.

Little Italy CondosWe even found a group of Italian men hanging out in front of one of the district’s convenience stores – it was fun talking with them for a few minutes in la bella linga.

There are a number of cute little Italian bistros and restaurants here, easily identified by their red, white and green awnings.

Architectural SalvageOn the edge of Little Italy, you’ll find Architectural Salvage – it’s like Restoration Hardware on acid – with salvaged gems (door knobs, whole doors, windows, and all sorts of other things) on display from around the world, you can find that perfect piece here to give your house a little needed funkiness. It’s fun just to wander through the store and gape at all the bric-a-brac.

Little Italy MuralThere’s also a cute little store called Vitreum here – a cool, funky little store with a serious asian influence on the edge of Little Italy – Japanese incense, decorations, mugs and lots of other cool, gifty stuff.

Little Italy is a fun place to spend the morning or afternoon, and grab a cup of coffee, some gelato, or a quick lunch on the way!

San Diego Gay Travel Resources

Little Italy Mural Little Italy Mosaic

Little Italy Sign Little Italy Sign

Welcoming Montreal – La Petite Italie

Author: , June 12th, 2013

La Petite Italie - Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Cafe Ellefsen - MontrealMontreal also has a good-sized Little Italy, just past the Mile End… we didn’t have anything to eat up here, but there’s a huge farmer’s market here with a number of cafes and other food stands and shops here.

rest-cafe-ellefsen-02We did have dinner here on our first night – Gabe and Erica took us to Ellefsen (Rue St. Zotoque and St. Denis).

While we were there, we tried a Montreal specialty – the Poutine. It’s really gross – basically french fries, gravy and cheese curds – but strangely compelling as well. Most Montrealers eat them as a meal.

St. Hubert St. - MontrealOver on St. Hubert, there’s a covered shopping district that spans three blocks, and is filled with wedding dress boutiques, if you’re looking – we counted at least ten.

Church CondosWe mentioned the Quiet Revolution earlier, where the province of Quebec became more secular after the government took over education and health services from the Catjolic Church in the sixties.

As a result, the Church has sold off some of its assets, including a church in Little Italy that has now been converted to condos. It’s a gorgeous building – and IMHO a fantastic use of a former church. it’s at the corner of Rue Saint Zotique and St. Laurent.

Click here for gay travel resources in Quebec.

Thank you so much to Tanya Churchmuch and Tourisme Montreal for all the information and museum passes – check out their gay section here.