San Francisco is a bustling city that has something for everyone. The food scene, in particular, is world-renowned, with diverse eateries for every palate.
As a food connoisseur visiting the city, I set out to find an Italian restaurant with exceptional wine and, of course, pasta.
The dessert menu was also of high priority! Next time you are in The Golden City, stop by a couple of these Italian restaurants in San Francisco.
NEAR VAN NESS &, 1722 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Acquerello is an upscale, fine-dining restaurant with a sophisticated vibe. In the last 30 years, the restaurant has become renowned in San Francisco and has earned two Michelin stars.
The building is a beautiful former chapel located in Nob Hill a few blocks from Lafayette Park. Acquerello prides themselves on their seasonal cuisine prepared by Chef Suzette Gresham and their large wine selection.
They even offer wine experiences that let you try multiple kinds of high-class wines. Since the food changes each season, the menu varies from a typical restaurant.
We got the Seasonal Tasting menu, which was the chef’s surprise for the evening. There are multiple options on this menu.
But the evening we went Chef Gresham delighted us with Brent Wolfe’s quail, rainbow chard, elderflower, and strawberry vinegar.
838 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Che Fico is right off Alamo Square in San Francisco. We saw historical landmarks such as The Painted Ladies as we were walking to dine at Che Fico.
David Nayfeld is the master behind the casual Italian fare they serve. The vibe in this restaurant is California meets Italy.
The best of both worlds combine to create a fun, urban atmosphere to enjoy great food in with friends. When eating at Che Fico, you can’t pass up the pizza.
I opted for the Margherita pizza dinner, which includes a perfectly wood-fired Margherita pizza, a chopped salad, and a bottle of Lambrusco. They also serve a mean tiramisu that is worth trying.
490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
This rustic-chic Italian eatery is located near Fisherman’s Wharf on the corner of Montgomery Street and Pacific Avenue.
Their unique patio seating and delicious Italian fare made our experience at Cotogna a great one! As a local farm supporter, their menu changes based on what is available locally.
However, their cuisine always features various kinds of pasta made in-house, high-quality meats, and seafood that they roast in a wood-burning oven.
My friend and I started our afternoon with a dish off the antipasti menu. We tried their Asparagus Alla Fiorentina 18 first, then the lamb sausage with wild ramp pesto pizza for our second course.
The third course came from the pasta menu. I tried the raviolo di ricotta and my friend tried tagliatelle with braised and smoked morel mushrooms. We concluded our meal with a mascarpone tart with strawberries. The Dolci was my favorite part!
My girlfriends and I went out to brunch at Fiorella’s Sunset location after a visit to San Francisco Botanical Garden at Golden Gate Park.
The charming Italian restaurant gives off a trendy, yet classic vibe. It is a cute black and white building located off of Lincoln and 9th.
We sat outside on their street seating on the beautiful spring day, which seemed only fitting for brunch in the city.
Fiorella has an excellent brunch menu. Most of the girls shared a Funghi Pie, a pizza topped with oyster and cremini mushrooms, rosemary, garlic, crescenza, and fontina.
I finished my meal with a Sunset Spritz. The tasty cocktail was the best way to finish off a great brunch!
1270 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
BarZotto is a good spot to stop for a casual lunch when you are out and about on Valencia street. It’s a cute cafe on the cross streets of 24th and Valencia.
The interior features booths and high-top tables surrounded by various natural woods and tons of live plants.
The space is informal and inviting for a meal on the go. Their menu features a little bit of everything. Sandwiches, pasta, pizza, and salads are prepared to create modern American-Italian tastes.
I was out running errands when I stopped by BarZotto to grab a quick sandwich. I tried their steak sandwich. Slow-roasted sirloin sliced thin, pimento cheese, and onion straws piled onto two thick slices of bread.
3230 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack is a great place to stop by for some great food and entertainment. It is located near Bernal Heights Park on Mission and Valencia Street.
Emmy’s has a down-to-earth vibe that reminds me of a vintage tattoo parlor. They even have a hand-drawn menu, pinball machines, and a photo booth.
In the early hours, the shack is packed full of kids and families getting their fill of pasta. When the night starts winding down, the music starts getting louder and louder.
I had the classic spaghetti and meatballs on my Tuesday night visit. I came in the early hours of the night, and it was full of families because kids eat free on Tuesday nights!
I’ve vowed to go back and try their popular Mayan Style Prawn Habenero Risotto. The spicy lemon sauce smelled too good to pass up.
2401 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110
My family and I headed across the street to Flour + Water after watching my nephew play soccer at John O’Connell Tech soccer field.
The modern-rustic eatery is located in the Mission District on the corner of Harrison and 20th Street. This popular farm-to-table bistro offers fresh Italian food in a casual setting.
It is always bustling with people trying to get a taste of one of San Francisco’s hottest new restaurants, so reservations are recommended.
We started our dinner with Amberjack Crudo from their starters menu. For my entree, I tried the Chestnut Funghetti from their pasta menu. Chanterelle and trumpet mushrooms, nettles, and black truffle pecorino topped the thick spaghetti.
373 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
After a day out on Fisherman’s Wharf, my boyfriend and I swung by Molinari Delicatessen for a quick bite to eat.
Molinari is a classic Italian deli just off the Northern Waterfront and the Embarcadero. You’ll find it on Columbus Street between Vallejo and Broadway.
They have gourmet sandwich recipes that are to die for. They also allow you to be the chef and design a custom sandwich exactly how you want it!
My favorite from their gourmet sandwich menu is the basil turkey special. Turkey, fresh mozzarella, sweet bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil spread are served cold on delicious homemade bread.
3000 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Penny Roma is in the Mission District near John O’Connell Tech High School. Their cross streets are 20th and Harrison, down the street from Flour + Water.
In fact, they’re owned by the same chefs, Ryan Pollnow and Thomas McNaughton. Penny Roma is as hip and bustling as Flour + Water, but it is open only for dinner from 5:30-10:00 pm.
The restaurant features an impressive pasta menu with a quality wine selection. My mother and I went to Penny Roma for a night of wine drinking.
She is a red wine lover, so she tried a glass of their Artemis, Red Blend, and Damaged Goods first. Her first glass was so good that she wanted another of the same!
I like some variety, so I first tried a glass of Los Churchaquis Albarino Chappell, a sparkling wine. I ended with a glass of De Fermo, Montepulciano, and Concrete from their red wine menu.
1896 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109
I got asked out and my date took me to Seven Hills. The restaurant is located in Russian Hill near Lombard Gardens. You’ll find the sophisticated building with red doors on the corner of Green and Hyde Street.
The interior is just as fancy. Grey, silver, and red tones with professional artwork sets the stage for an elegant meal. Chef Anthony Florian (Chef Tony) is well-versed in Italian cuisine and his pasta menu reflects that.
I started my dinner off with a mixed baby lettuce salad that was topped with Nantes carrots Parmigiano and a balsamic vinaigrette.
For my entree, I tried the Stemple Creek Spring Lamb. It came with braised artichoke, Nantes carrot, baby leeks, and bagna cauda verde sauce.
1911 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115
SPQR is an upscale, modern Italian eatery. It is located in the Lower Pacific Heights district of San Francisco, near Alta Plaza Park.
It is also located close to the Painted Ladies and Lafayette Park, making this a great place to grab a meal after a day of sightseeing.
Award-winning chef, Matthew Accarrino curates a menu of dishes that are as beautiful ad authentic as they are delicious.
I was out running errands one Saturday morning and saw SPQR and decided to stop in. Their coffee and donut shop is open only on weekends, so I was lucky! I got a hot latte paired with a strawberry rhubarb rose donut for breakfast.
The Italian Homemade Company has 3 different locations in San Francisco. My family and I stopped by the Franklin Street location after watching my brother complete a piano recital at The Kanbar Performing Arts Center in Hayes Valley.
The Franklin Street location is located inland of Mission Bay on the corner of Franklin and Market Street.
The Italian Homemade Company is as casual as it gets. They have an order and seat yourself set up. The environment is inviting to all and allows you to stay as long as you’d like.
I opted for a flatbread sandwich for dinner. I had the Grassonia Piadina, a flatbread sandwich toasted, folded, and stuffed with homemade sausage, bell peppers, and onions. I was also intrigued by their build-your-own pasta options.
1800 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Trattoria Contadina is a quaint, family-run restaurant that serves traditional and authentic Italian food. It is located in the North Beach neighborhood on the corner of Union and Mason.
It has proximity to Washington Square, the Coit Tower, and the Embarcadero. When I was sitting in the restaurant I felt like I was in the heart of Italy.
A white balcony lines the upper walls and there are family pictures hung around the restaurant, making it feel as if I was surrounded by Italian culture.
I started with their famous bruschetta, which did not disappoint. Then I tried their Risotto Pesto special. It had chicken, spinach, zucchini, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, and a creamy pesto!
Reservations are highly recommended for your dinner at Trattoria Contadina because they get very busy.
2355 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123
My sister and I stopped by A16 for a low-key girl’s pizza night. A 16 is located on Divisadero St. a few blocks from Crissy Field and the Palace of Fine Arts.
With one look at the building, I instantly knew I would love this charming little pizza place. The building is fitting to San Francisco style and has black accents, live plants, and hanging lights both inside and outside.
They had so many good pizza options on their menu, but I have always loved Bianca pizza and convinced my sister that is what we should get.
The toasted flatbread crust was topped with fior di latte, basil, castelvetrano olives, Grana Padano, garlic, and chili.
1358 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94133
This authentic Italian eatery has a cozy elegant feel when you walk inside. The sophisticated decor and vibe make for an intimate setting to share a meal with your loved ones.
The restaurant is on the corner of Mason and Pacific Avenue not too far from Chinatown and the San Francisco Cable Car Museum.
Nick and Kelly, the co-owners, do a fantastic job curating a menu with pastas and wines that pair well together. I wasn’t hungry enough to have the full five-course meal, so I decided to go for the meat dish.
I had Porcini and Farro Stracci – a Rossotti Ranch red wine braised veal short rib and shank ragu, savoy cabbage, roasted winter mushrooms, thyme, sage, rosemary, Parmigiano, and freshly grated horseradish.
This article only scratches the surface of Italian Restaurants in San Francisco. I tried to pick my favorite ones so you could have a good experience eating out while touring the city. On that note, make sure you visit the iconic Painted Ladies while you’re in the area.
Get out and try some of the amazing pasta and wine at local Italian restaurants in San Francisco. Let us know your favorite, whether it’s on this list or not!
- Che Fico
- Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack
- Flour + Water
- Molinari Delicatessen
- Penny Roma
- Seven Hills
- The Italian Homemade Company
- Trattoria Contadina