We Declare These the 6 Best Pasta Dishes in San Francisco

An idiosyncratic guide to the best, least paleo meal on earth

December 18, 2018 9:00 am

OK, so pasta’s not paleo. But you’ve spiralized the zucchini, eaten all the zoodles and traded spaghetti squash for actual spaghetti for what now seems like a lifetime.

Now is the time of year to indulge, and if you’re going to indulge, there’s really no better way to do it than a pasta binge.

Luckily, we have six of the best in the Bay Area. Choose one, or try ’em all.

Mind you, an exhaustive list of the best pasta dishes in the Bay Area would be five times as long. This is a highly curated take on our personal favorites. And note that we tried to privilege picks showing up now on seasonal menus — check all those truffles. Stellar chefs like these change up their menus on the daily, so if you need to improvise, have faith.

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Dish: Passatelli cooked in brodo, chicken liver, sage and shaved white truffles
In brief: Put on a tie (there’s a dress code) for a visit to chef/owner Suzette Gresham’s twice Michelin-starred Italian joint — no red-checked tablecloths here, to be sure. The seasonal truffle menu is a suitably earthy, luxurious affair, and the passatelli might be its finest moment.

Image from Yue J./Yelp

Che Fico
Dish: Pappardelle al ragù
In brief: Our — everybody’s? — favorite new restaurant of 2018. You might prefer the pizzas; we think the classic pappardelle al ragù with 48-month parmigiano reggiano is worth the wait. Runner up: the squash ravioli with gorgonzola dolce, sage, and chestnuts.

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Flour + Water
Dish: The fennel pollen chitarra, with dungeness crab, romanesco, dill and fermented habanero? The robiola tortellini with charred onion broth, turnip, perigord truffle, chili oil and parmigiano?
In brief: Take your pick off the pasta tasting menu, and it’s probably exquisite. If you can’t convince your table to spring for the set menu, nobody’s going to complain about the tajarin piemontese with six grams of Alba white truffles.

Image from Locanda/Facebook

Dish: The orecchiette with cotiche sausage, greens, and capers parmigiano
In brief: Here or Delfina? We could have prepared a list with six standout selections just from these two stars in the Delfina constellation — consider Delfina’s gnocchi with rabbit sugo and pancetta soffritto — but from all the pasta-bilities (LOL) the orecchiette with rich cotiche sausage and greens (we had it with broccoli rabe) is the winner.

Image from Chad Y./Yelp

Dish: Bucatini “straw and hay” with California blue cheese, walnut, kale, and sage brown butter
In brief: That rich California blue cheese is tempered by the kale and walnuts. There’s nothing else to say; it’s basically perfect.

Image from La Ciccia

La Ciccia
Dish: Spaghittusu cun allu ollu e bottariga
In brief: This Noe Valley Sardinian joint offers a different take on Italian cuisine: familiar but different, just like the “allu ollu” tweak on the standard mainland “aglio e olio” sauce. Our favorite dish might be their simplest: this spaghetti in a spicy garlic and oil with cured fish roe.

Main image courtesy of Connor Robertson/SPQR


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