San Francisco has some of America’s top Italian restaurants. Acquarello, Quince, and Incanto have been wowing Bay Area diners with authentic Italian cooking, great wine, and attractive ambience for some time now.

But the competition didn’t keep several new Italian restaurants in San Francisco from opening. Although not exactly filling a void, the newcomers are a welcome addition to the dining scene, and they’ve been warmly received.

Michael Tusk, the owner of Quince, has opened Cotogna in an adjoining space on Jackson Square. The name means quince in Italian. Less formal than its sibling, Cotogna has a three-course, prix fixe for just $24. The brick and beam space features an open kitchen, and it’s a casual, cozy place. Diners can enjoy incredibly succulent meats from the rotisserie, inventive pizzas from the wood-fired oven, or perfect pastas like lamb pappardelle or tagliatelle with duck Bolognese. An innovative, fixed-price wine program offers some lovely selections for $10 a glass or $40 a bottle. If you have any room left, try the milk chocolate and almond budino. At Cotogna, you can get a very good Italian meal without spending a lot.

You’ll find casual, inviting ristobars all over Italy. A cross between a tratorria and a bistro, they offer unpretentious food and good wine in a convivial atmosphere. Gary Rulli’s new Ristobar replicates the successful formula in this new Marina-area Italian Restaurant. One of the best-loved Italian restaurants in Los Angeles, Valentino, lost its chef — Angelo Auriana — to Ristobar. And he’s turned his talent to making incredible pizzas and superb pasta dishes. Start with some fabulous salumi and cheese, much of which is imported from Italy. If you want something more than pizza or pasta, duck confit, osso buco, or pan-roasted quail are terrific options. Rulli’s background as a pastry chef makes dessert a must-have. Try warm hazelnut and walnut budino.

Pizza lovers who have been flocking to Pizzeria Picco in Larkspur can satisfy their cravings in SOMO at Zero Zero. Owner Bruce Hill has brought the thin, perfectly charred crust, the inventive toppings — try home-made salumi — and the Zero Zero Neapolitan flour for which the restaurant is named. But he’s also turning out excellent crudo, starters like fried Brussels Sprouts with Asian pear, gnocchi with pork belly, and skillet-fried chicken thighs. Soft-serve ice cream sundaes with ricotta doughnuts and bacon brittle are a yummy way to end your meal.

With an emphasis on farm-to-table provisions, Seven Hills offers a seasonal menu that makes the most of local ingredients. Chef Alexander Alioto worked in Sicily and in Yountville at The French Laundry. He opened Seven Hills on Nob Hill after leaving the Ritz Carlton, San Francisco. Starters might include seared sweetbread, wild mushrooms, or Niman Ranch pork riblets. A variety of fresh pastas are whipped up each evening. Alioto’s father Nunzio created the amazing wine list.

Find more Italian Restaurants in San Francisco.

Legend:
1) Cotogna
2) Ristobar
3) Zero Zero
4) Seven Hills

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