From the old-school trattorias of North Beach to the pizzerias with cult followings in the Richmond, there is no shortage of Italian food in San Francisco. In fact, there are so many sensational Italian eateries, it could be argued that it’s the city’s most preferred type of cuisine. Narrowing down all the places we love to just five was difficult, but we did it. Here are our favorite Italian restaurants in SF.
Cotogna is chef Michael Tusk’s rustic wood-fired restaurant. Think of it as Quince’s little sister. The cuisine is seasonal, traditional, and always delicious. Order spit-roasted meats, perfectly cooked pizzas, and delicate pastas. On Sundays, Tusk serves up a four-course family-style meal. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and it’s almost always packed. Our favorite things to order? Oven-roasted clams, prosciutto and asparagus pizza, raviolo with farm egg and browned butter, and gnocchi with braised pork and sage.
490 Pacific Avenue San Francisco, CA 94133
A16 is a restuarant that never disappoints. Whether you’re there late on a weeknight or celebrating an anniversary on a weekend, you can’t go wrong with A16’s fantastic food and wine. Award-winning sommelier Shelley Lindgren has selected the stellar wines that pair wonderfully with everything that the kitchen has to offer. There is roasted calamari with potato, pizza with creamy fior di latte cheese and castelvetrano olives, squid ink tonnarelli, and a half roasted chicken with salsa verde. Delish!
2355 Chestnut Street San Francisco, CA 94123
3 Flour + Water
At Flour + Water in the Mission District, chef Thomas McNaughton makes memorable pasta dishes. His agnolotti dal plin, pillowy tiny ravioli filled with earthy meat, are to die for. The decor is rustic and the environment hip. McNaughton is not only an excellent pasta maker, but he also specializes in charcuterie, so if you’re in the mood for salumi, you came to the proper place. What else to order? Delectable pizza topped with the aforementioned artisanal pork products and contorni—Italian side dishes—such as charred rutabaga and bacon-glazed carrots.
2401 Harrison Street San Francisco, CA 94110
4 La Ciccia
La Ciccia is a gem of a restuarant in Noe Valley. It’s owned by an Italian couple who taken their Sardinian food incredibly seriously. The all-Italian wine list contains over 180 labels and the menu is written in Italian, so dining there is like being transported to Italy. Seafood is the thing to order and you can’t go wrong with baby octopus stew in spicy tomato sauce, fresh linguine with squid ink, or the seared prawns in a rich tomato sugo.
291 30th Street San Francisco, CA 94131
5 Seven Hills
Seven Hills is another neighborhood jewel box of a restaurant—this time in Russian Hill. The Hyde Street eatery is tiny and always filled with hungry diners. And for good reason: the pasta is some of the freshest and most innovative creations around. Think agnolotti made with nettles and tagliatelle infused with kale. Chef Anthony Florian makes even the most humble of Italian dishes, like meatballs in tomato sauce, taste utterly sublime.
1550 Hyde Street San Francisco, CA 94109