This is a long review so I'll tell you the net of is the food is excellent, the wine list is excellent and very reasonably priced - especially for San Francisco, the food is also very reasonably priced, and our experience was only marred by a hostess who didn't seem to know what she was doing. We arrived at Fino around 5:40 PM for our 6 PM reservation. There are a few people, all in the same party apparently, waiting and crowding the entryway. A gentleman (not the hostess) walks around them and acknowledges us and we tell him we're early for a 6 PM reservation, he says no problem, someone will be right with us. And we wait, and wait, and wait. The hostess is an absolute nightmare. She doesn't know what she's doing. She still hasn't even seated the party ahead of us (who did not have reservations). She finally seats them, like 10 minutes, I'm not kidding, after we walked in, at a table right by where they were standing in the very front near the bar. Then she stars seating people who'd been waiting at the bar. One party at a time, she pulls them from the bar, seats them, greets them, and picks up all the spare place settings and brings them back to the kitchen area before then seating the next party (from the bar). This goes on for several seatings and I'm getting very irritated, I'm not feeling the least bit patient with this seating process that has gone on far too long. She finally seats us. Tries to seat us in the very front by the bar, near the party without the reservations. I very sternly just say "No. I want to sit in the main dining area, I have a reservation" and she complies. Good thing, because after that ordeal, I was in no mood for anything less satisfactory. So now we're finally seated but this is by no means the end of the waiting. We wait for a server to show up and acknowledge us. This does not bode well, we think. But it doesn’t turn out to be the case.
Our server shows up, he asks us if we have any questions about the menu and we just ordered the wine (reasonably priced, can't remember which particular wine we got now, probably the Dry Creek Fume Blanc for under $30) and waited for him to return. That took kind of a while, but not terribly long. We started out with an arugula, Gorgonzola, pear, and walnut salad. It was absolutely fantastic! Sure, arugula has a little bitterness to it, but it was so fresh, and so earthy and so delicious. And the dressing was great, too. And the Gorgonzola cheese was outstanding. All of these flavors combined well for a delicious salad. Okay, now I'm feeling a little better about this dinner and thinking it might turn out okay now. For our entrees, my wife got the scallops and shrimp with risotto and garlic, and I got not the carbonara, which was excellent last time we ate here, but this time I ordered the Fettuccine with mushrooms, tomatoes, and prosciutto (and garlic, of course). That dish was TERRIFIC! So flavorful! Extremely fresh tasting pasta, terrific fresh tomato flavor, just a hint of spice and salt. My wife even liked my dish, maybe even more than her own (I tried hers and I liked the taste of the basil and garlic but it's a more subtle taste than the explosively fresh tomato flavor of my dish), and she is not generally a fan of red sauces. It was an excellent dinner in terms of the food quality, and the service was even pretty good once things got going. Boy, this restaurant got crowded in a short amount of time, and pretty early for San Francisco. I think we skipped dessert, opting instead for the hotel bar, but from our previous visit I would recommend dessert here as well. This is a great restaurant and a great VALUE.