A Fillmore Street fixture since opening in 1998, Florio’s bright-red-and-dark-wood exterior, warm bar, and dining room with its classic black-and-white checkerboard floors, is a neighborhood favorite. And now the cafe, which has always featured specialties from France and Italy, is in the skilled hands of new executive chef Colin Dewey, who has crafted an Italian-focused menu. Dewey was most recently executive chef at the city’s Zero Zero before taking a three-month sabbatical in Italy. The new menu, introduced in
February, retains some of Florio’s bistro classics such as steak frites ($32) and pan-roasted Mary’s chicken ($26/$47), while including updated renditions of rustic Italian dishes. All items are made in-house from pasta to sauces to sausage and pastries.
“I’m excited to pay homage to the history of Florio, and this incredible room, by honoring the Florio classics while making the dining experience feel more like an authentic Italian home,” says Dewey.
Dewey’s “Additions to the Menu” are listed near the top, starting with a savory roasted garlic sformato (a souffle-like velvety custard) with caciocavallo fonduta (fondue cheese) and black pepper walnuts ($10), especially delicious with an appetizer of crispy sunchoke chips ($5); strotzzapreti (hand-rolled pasta) with olive oil, poached tuna, spicy puttanesca sauce, and bottarga (salted, cured fish roe) breadcrumbs ($21); and meatballs with tagliolini — a luscious timbale of pasta and melt-in-your-mouth pork-and-veal meatballs with marinara sauce ($14/$19). Another standout dish is the tagliatelle with guanciale (meaty, juicy pork jowl) accented by red onion, black pepper, cream, and pecorino cheese ($20).
Other first-course options include an arugula and frisée salad with Asian pears, shaved fennel, celery, hazelnuts, and a pear vinaigrette ($11) and prosciutto di Parma and burrata with unfiltered virgin olive oil and baguette ($15). Main courses tend toward more bistro-like fare such as Fort Bragg petrale sole ($32); a seafood stew of fish and shellfish with San Marzano tomatoes ($28); and a grass-fed burger served with Gruyère cheese and caramelized onion served with salad or frites ($16). There are several vegetable sides, such as roasted baby carrots ($8) and sautéed broccoli di ciccio with preserved lemon and garlic ($9).
Dewey puts an Italian spin on desserts, too, with an extra-virgin olive oil cake with orange-infused oil from Sicily and buttermilk panna cotta. (Note: menu specialties change weekly or biweekly.)
The cocktail, wine, and beer menu is straightforward, offering several cocktails “de maison,” and an ample sampling of wine and beer from California producers as well as many Italian and French varietals.
Stop in at this Fillmore Street standby, and try a taste of something both old and new — you won’t be disappointed.
Florio: 1915 Fillmore Street (btw. Pine & Bush), 415-775-4330, floriosf.com/, daily 5:30–9:30 p.m.