OK...it's not a Western neighborhood, but a friend asked me for a good place to eat in North Beach and I was stopped in my tracks like Sonny at the causeway. Most places now days, seem to have lost their charm and flavor.
When I was young, we would eat at the New Tivoli, on Grant, before it became the Savoy Tivoli. After dinner, they would bring a plate of these mouse-shaped petifors with cloves for eyes and a tail, filled with cream rich enough to stop your heart on the spot. The owner, Nick, would come over and have coffee and anisette with my folks and we kids would go in the back where they had two clay bocce ball courts and an ongoing poker game runnning upstairs. We'd toss the balls like shot-putt and listen for the upstairs opera to chime back "va a farti fotore, non mi rompere le palle, non mi scazzare i coglioni" and then we would run back to the table like little Cistine cherbubs, and bite the heads off of the candied mice. Can't figure out why we never got whacked; either by our folks or the old Paisans at the poker table.
So where is a good place to eat in North Beach? And it you say Fior d'Italia; beseme culo, bidonista.