Che Fico Alimentari Is Your New Destination For Superb Italian Cuisine

Cacio e pepe

Photo Credit: Albert Law

What happens when the team behind the hottest restaurant in San Francisco decides to open an offshoot of its insanely popular and wildly delicious eatery? Naturally, a grand slam is hit out of the park. Such is the case with Che Fico Alimentari, the recently opened little sister restaurant to Che Fico. From partners, David Nayfeld, Angela Pinkerton, and Matt Brewer, Alimentari, is a fantastic new addition to the city’s dining scene and a must try for any local food lover.

A wall of wine and canned tomatoes

Photo Credit: Ed Anderson

Like at Che Fico, Nayfeld oversees the culinary operations, Pinkerton is in charge of all things pastry, and Brewer runs the front of the house. Although she’s not a partner, wine director Francesca Maniace is an essential part of the team and behind Alimentari’s excellent Italian wine list. While Che Fico serves Cal-Italian cuisine and artisanal cocktails, Alimentari is the quartet’s homage to the wine bars of Rome.

An assortment of salumi and cheese

Photo Credit: Albert Law

They’ve imported the top products from Italy and lined the walls with cans of tomatoes and lesser-known labels of wine. It’s part wine bar, part grocery store, and part salumeria. The front of the restaurant feels like a deli with housemade bread, wallpaper with hanging meat printed on it, and a cold case of imported Italian cheese. The open kitchen is bustling and lively and the counter bar in front of it, which seats 12, is the perfect place for a cozy date.

Chef Nayfeld in the kitchen

Photo Credit: Ed Anderson

Although it’s less formal than Che Fico, there is something about Alimentari. It’s a transportive dining experience. When you walk in, there is a vibe that can only be described as distinctly New York-esque. This is a place to be and to be seen. Rarely do you walk into a restaurant in San Francisco and have everyone turn to look and see who has stepped inside, but such is the case at Alimentari, and it’s a refreshing change of pace that is wildly exciting.

The dining room

Photo Credit: Ed Anderson

Once you sit down to eat, the experience shifts and you’re immediately transported to Italy. It’s all too easy to relax into the banquette and linger over an insanely good Sangiovese. Upstairs at Che Fico, it’s all about hand made fresh pasta, but downstaris at Alimentari, the cuisine is Romain-inspired, and the best Italian dried pasta is on the menu. But I’m getting ahead of myself—this is an Italian meal and first comes the salumi, cheese, and bread.

Fava beans with guanciale and spring onion

Photo Credit: Ed Anderson

The spreadable salami, called ‘nduja, is smoky and scrumptiously porky. Slathered with whipped mascarpone, the housemade focaccia is heavenly. There’s fresh mozzarella with sweet sun-dried tomatoes, fresh fava beans with chewy guanciale, and succulent spot prawn scampi. Everything is downright delicious.

Rigatoni amatriciana

Photo Credit: Ed Anderson

The pasta—rigatoni amatriciana, bucatini cacio e pepe, spaghetti rage alla Napoletana, etc.—is traditional and classic, but executed to perfection. It’s the sort of pasta you would expect to find at one of Rome’s top restaurants. Entrees, which include eggplant parmesan and braised short ribs with polenta, are hearty and satisfying. Do save room for dessert because the tiramisu is one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

Tiramisu

Photo Credit: Albert Law

Che Fico Alimentari is a full package restaurant. It checks all the boxes, from food to scene to wine, and then some. While there’s still a long wait to dine upstairs, Alimentari is just as good as its predecessor. A new SF dining star is born.

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