Elmira has quickly become my go-to lunch spot. Former Fairmont Hotel chef Marc Passetti serves up an elevated twist on the humble Italian food he grew up with (the restaurant is named for the street where both his parents and grandparents grew up). Passetti buys a whole pig each week, which is spit roasted and used to make, among other things, his signature porchetta sandwich — unctuous loin and belly rolled around herbs with a golden brown, caramelized exterior on a light, airy Acme ciabatta roll topped with a citrusy salsa verde. (If you’re lucky, you’ll be there on a day when he tops it with crunchy chicharrones.)
The menu changes daily, but other favorites include lampredotto, a Florentine peasant dish made from the fourth and final stomach of a cow, which is slow cooked until meltingly tender in a tangy tomato sauce that soaks through the bottom of the roll; a crispy pork salad with grilled nectarines (try it before stone fruit is out of season); tripe salad; roasted red potatoes; and lightly battered and fried fresh calamari replete with the best part — the tentacles. The daily pasta is also a winner, especially the squid ink fettuccine with calamari and clams in tomato sauce. It’s in a rough part of town near City Hall, but once you’re inside, it feels fresh and bright and the counter service is friendly and efficient.
Tip: The weekend brunch includes luscious eggs Benedict and $2 mimosas.
Not to Miss: Porchetta sandwich, lampredotto sandwich, fried calamari, crispy pork and grilled nectarine salad, tripe salad, roasted potatoes, daily pasta (especially squid ink fettucine).
154 McAllister Street
(at Hyde), 415-551-7332