From Annie and Craig Stoll, the owners of Delfina and Delfina Pizzeria, comes Locanda, an osteria that interprets the culinary style and traditions of Rome. It seems that Roman cooking is the new new, with Marc Vetri’s Amis in Philadelphia and Danny Meyer’s Maialino in New York also paying homage to the eternal city‘s classic cuisine.
The Mission-based Locanda is comfortable and cool, with a glossy black and white décor and whimsical touches including shiny chandeliers shaped like jacks (the children’s toy) and candleholders furnished from Italian anchovy tins.
As stylish as the room is, the real star of the show is Chef Andrew Strong’s celestial cooking. Mr. Strong started as a line cook with Delfina in 2005 and this year was named as one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Rising Star Chefs.
Two excellent starters include the pizza bianca, which isn’t technically pizza but rather a crunchy focaccia topped with cauliflower and capers, and the “Jewish style” artichoke, fried and finished with salt, pepper, mint and Italian herbs.
The main menu features charcoal grilled meat and fish, and pastas. The home made pastas truly shine, particularly the Roman classics like cacio e pepe, amatriciana and carbonara, the latter made with a muscular rigatoni and house-cured guanciale.
For the more adventurous diner, there’s a selection of what Romans refer to as the quinto quarto (an animal’s fifth quarter, aka offal). Our brave friends sampled the fried lamb brains and chilled slices of tongue, pronouncing both exceptional.
Of the desserts, our favorite was the ricotta fritta, draped with a delicate lemon-thyme caramel sauce.
Locanda has a noteworthy cocktail program, emphasizing Italian spirits like campari and aperol. Try the Church, a sprightly concoction of aperol, gin, the elusive cocchi Americano and lemon.
A bonus–the bar is open late (until 1:00 a.m.), attracting hipsters, Mission denizens and chefs winding down after finishing their shifts.
And, even better is the valet parking, truly a luxury in the parking-challenged Mission District.
557 Valencia St 415.863.6800
Daily 5:30 – 12:00 am. Bar until 1:00 am