photo credit: Remy Galvan-Hale
Planning a special occasion dinner can sometimes take a bit of effort, like making reservations a month ahead. Which is why Piccino is a beloved spot. The Italian-inspired Californian restaurant in the Dogpatch always guarantees a lovely evening filled with good pizza and wine. More importantly, it’s a beautiful place where it’s always easy to grab a reservation.
Piccino is effortlessly cool. The restaurant is situated inside a yellow Victorian, and gives off major Scandanavian cafe energy. Lots of light wood and bold floral arrangements create a neat, inviting space soaked in natural light. And on slow-to-rise mornings, nothing beats a trip to their charming coffee bar next door for espresso drinks and pastries.
Contributing to Piccino’s relaxed mood is the menu. The pizza, pasta, and appetizer sections are short and easy to navigate, and highlight the seasonal ingredients grown on their farm up in Healdsburg. One day you might see a mixed cucumber salad with chanterelle conserva, dollops of porcini espuma, and egg yolk shavings, or a homemade gnocchi with corn, cherry tomatoes, and basil the next. There are also some dishes that are always on the menu, like a surprisingly light pork and beef polpette in a bright crushed tomato sauce, and an earthy funghi pizza with mushroom puree and oyster mushrooms. Everything is well-executed and always makes us feel like we’re at the world’s largest farmer’s market.
Whether you’re here to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in awhile, celebrate a birthday, or grab a nice meal before heading to the Chase Center or Oracle Park for an event, Piccino is always here for you. And if you’re someone who plans a night out last-minute, Piccino is very much the spot you need. It’s a reliable, laid-back standby in every sense of the word.
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Their most popular pizza. The mushroom purée serves as the base. It’s then topped with a ton of roasted oyster mushrooms, a creamy stracchino, and a nice hit of garlic. If simply hearing the word “mushroom” gets your senses on high, this is your pizza.
Our favorite pie on the menu is actually the salsiccia: A layer of mozzarella cheese, a layer of house-made pork sausage, and then a heavy sprinkle of red onions which add a nice crunch - this pie is simplicity at its finest.
Mixed Cucumber Salad
Several types of cucumbers are sliced and garnished with porcini conserva and purslane, and finished with shaved cured egg yolk and small dollops of porcini espuma. The flavors are subtle and summery, but that’s why we love it.
These pork and beef meatballs are extra tender, and the tomato sauce they’re slathered in is light and bright (read: these meatballs will not feel like a heavy rock in your stomach when you’re done). They come in half orders (four meatballs) or full (eight).
Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes & Corn
The standout of this dish is the gnocchi itself, which is nice and pillowy. The version we got was then dressed up in a roasted cherry tomato sauce, white corn, and fresh basil, which, you guessed it, made the complete package taste like a spring fresh garden.