Now open in the Marina is Roma Antica (3242 Scott Street, 415-896-4002), an authentic and casual Italian restaurant focused on serving Roman pasta (handmade) and pinsa, making it the second location in the city to serve this ancient Roman pizza style. (Montesacro was the first to bring it to the United States.) The partners are Dogukan Solmaz (most recently the general manager at Trattoria da Vittorio) and Roberto Sbaraglia, a Roman whose father has owned a restaurant, Antica, in Rome for the past 30 years (Sbaraglia’s passion is for cocktails, and he worked as a bartender at a beach bar in Fiumicino). The partners met at hospitality school in Rome in 2005 and have been looking for a place in San Francisco for the past three years.
Their chef is Davide Cogliati, who has worked in San Francisco for eight years (Acquerello, Amarena, and some catering), and he visited with Sbaraglia’s father, Marco, in Rome to learn Antica’s recipes. But Cogliati is originally from Milan, so of course risotto is on the menu, oh you know it.
Roma Antica is located in the former Kobani Mediterranean Grill (previously Cedar Hill) and is open all day. They also serve weekend brunch with some American items like pancakes and waffles to go along with breakfast pinsa and frittata (and bottomless mimosas, because you kind of have to in the Marina).
The main menu includes a variety of bruschette, soup of the day, salads like panzanella and octopus (plus a kale Caesar, sure to please the neighborhood), along with calamari (skewered, sautéed, or fried), stuffed olives (ascolane), burrata, and classics like supplì and porchetta.
There is a dough room in the far back, where the handmade pasta is made. Expect classic Roman preparations of carbonara, cacio e pepe, bucatini all’amatriciana, pappardelle alla coda alla vaccinara, gnocchi, lasagna, and some lesser-known shapes like fiocchetti (little bundles), plus rigatoni boscaiola (“woodsman style,” which usually involves mushrooms and truffles), and seafood pasta.
The Mugnaini pizza oven they have is a wood-fired hybrid (with gas) and is primarily used for cooking dishes like porchetta and specials like eggplant parmigiana. There are four kinds of pinsa to start (burrata, pork, sausage, and vegetarian), and the dough is made from soy, rice, and wheat, which is why it’s a lighter style of dough and easier to digest.
The wine list is by Berkeley sommelier Zoti Toprak, who has assembled selections from Italy (of course), France, and California wines. There are 15 reds, 10 whites, and 5 sparkling and rosés, which range from $9–$14 by the glass.
The space looks great, with windows opening onto the street and some outdoor seating. The space features tiled floors from Italy, a Mediterranean blue banquette, and modern light fixtures from Venice. The custom tables are live-edge redwood, and there’s a wall of reclaimed wood. The eight-seat bar in the back is made from Calacatta marble. The entire look is contemporary, welcoming, and warm with all the natural materials and color tones. It works for a casual date or dinner with the family — it’s that kind of place. Monday–Thursday 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Friday–Saturday 11 a.m.–midnight, and Sunday 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
While I’m sad to say farewell to Postcards From La Costiera, the latest concept at The Mina Test Kitchen (2120 Greenwich Street) is Mi Almita. Michael Mina is partnering with Houston’s James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega (Xochi, Hugo’s, Caracol, Backstreet Cafe) on this seventh pop-up. The collaborative menu will take a journey throughout Mexico with dishes like huitlasquites corn soup, with fragrant chicken broth, huitlacoche, and house-made queso fresco; a ceviche trio sourced from the tidal pools of Fort Bragg; pozole verde with littleneck clams, hominy, and pumpkin seeds; pulpo al carbón, or grilled octopus with sweet peppers and caramelized onions, served with chipotle tomatillo salsa and house-made tortillas; and for dessert, a tasting of house-made Mexican chocolate. Dinner is $39 for the five-course menu, with supplemental courses available. Tuesday–Thursday 5:30–9:30, Friday–Saturday 5:30–10 p.m.
Norcina (50 Francisco Street) is now open in Waterfront Plaza. This Italian cafe-deli from Kaitlynn Bauman is all about breakfast and lunch, with a broccoli-rabe-and-potato frittata, sandwiches, salads, coffee from Cibo in Sausalito, gelato, and more. The menu includes tigelle (flatbread-style sandwiches) and an egg-and-cheese tigella for breakfast. Salads include a Tuscan kale version with cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, fennel, and pecorino. There’s also house-made gelato and some outdoor seating. Monday–Friday 7 a.m.–5 p.m.