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Some restaurants strive to be the next big thing and are lucky to live up to the buzz, while others without such designs quietly go about gaining reputation and becoming favorite, under-the-radar dining spots. Claiming the latter distinction, Capannina is part of a quiet resurgence of shiny new restaurants on Union Street.
Michele di Ruocco managed North Beach favorites such as Ideale for several years before setting out to open Capannina in 2005. The gem is named nostalgically after his favorite restaurant growing up on the isle of Capri. Like any inviting Italian family, Di Ruocco and staff (some who followed him from back home to San Francisco) welcome guests as if they were long lost cousins. The menu does not feature one particular region. Rather, it focuses on familiar yet fresh takes on dishes found from Tuscany to Naples. -- Gloria Tai