Whether or not it is fair, restaurants in shopping malls get a bad rap. It’s almost like real food-lovers won’t even give them a fair chance. But head to the Westfield Centre in San Francisco and there’s a real gem – Cupola Pizzeria.

The restaurant is part of the group of restaurants “Under the Dome” at the shopping center. Cupola offers plenty of great Italian cuisine in a friendly environment. It’s really a restaurant that is family friendly, but also can serve as a nice place to grab a quiet dinner after a long day of shopping.

I was recently invited to take part in a dinner with some other food writers, trying out the restaurant’s “La Festa Di Tutte Le Feste” menu. Translated, that means the feast of all feasts. The meal is $30 per person and a great deal for larger groups looking to try a number of items off the menu. The idea is reminiscent of a Brazilian steakhouse where items are brought out until the table no longer wants food. It’s a great idea for a family-style meal.

When ordering the “La Festa Di Tutte Le Feste,” guests look through the menu and let their server know some of the items that catch their eye. Then, plates start appearing on the table. Usually, it starts with soups, salads and possibly a daily selection of antipasti. Starters such as pulled-to-order mozzarella or black mission figs with a cornmeal batter might appear soon thereafter. Pastas are next, including the fresh shelling bean ravioli and torn pasta “handkerchiefs.” And then, the pizzas, prepared expertly in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven. Pizza choices range from the veggie-oriented margherita extra (buffalo mozzarella, san marzano tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, basil, olive oil) and zucca (squash blossoms, zucchini, almonds, mint, mascarpone) to the meat-filled carne (housemade sausage, sopressata, calabrese salumi, sweet onion). To top that off, there are a variety of desserts that are offered as well.

Those looking for some wine with their meal can also indulge in the “Festa Di Bacchus,” which is $14 per person. It offers diners a journey through Cupola Pizzeria’s assortment of wines on tap.

In many cases, I believe Italian restaurants truly offer the best examples of family-style dining, where it’s not necessarily only about the food, but it’s also about the social experience. Friends and family gathering around the table to eat and talk and even talk about the food they are eating. It’s about sharing dishes, trying a number of different items and enjoying each other’s company. And Cupola Pizzeria’s “La Festa Di Tutte Le Feste” offers exactly that – great food and hopefully great company in a warm and friendly environment.

Cupola Pizzeria is located on the fourth floor of the Westfield Centre Under the Dome. It is open daily from 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.