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7.7
SF

Piccino

PHOTOS: Remy Galvan-Hale

Piccino is the kind of restaurant that is prevalent in "real" cities.

Not to hate on the SF scene—okay, to hate on it a little bit—but decades of contractionary housing policy have kept this town at a cozy 800,000, with far more demand than supply. Thus, every good restaurant is mobbed, every rent is too high, popular places somehow go out of business, and the cycle of sadness self-perpetuates.

In the eye of this hurricane lies Piccino. By virtue of a fringe location ("deep" in the Dogpatch), it manages to be delicious, with a comfortable, neat atmosphere, and mostly undersubscribed. It's SF's white whale: a beautiful dinner spot that you can easily reserve. And the Uber ride from the center of town is only about $7.

The menu is simple Italian classics, well-executed. Are the pizzas the best in town? The seasonal pastas the most creative or precise? No on both counts. But you will enjoy everything you order, because it tastes good. And the fact that customers aren't fighting each other for space and/or raising their voices to overcome the crowd makes the entire experience worthwhile by itself.

Piccino is a place for those who crave solace in a cruel world. It's a standby, in every sense of the word.

Food Rundown

House Bread

We don’t mind paying for bread, but it’s gotta be crazy crazy good. This is about standard.

Citrus Salad

A nice palate-cleanser if you feel you need one to start off the meal. If you don’t, skip.

Burrata

The texture of the burrata was a little bit off for us, but the accompanying eggplant and and roasted tomatoes more than made up for it.

Funghi Pizza

Funghi is Italian for ‘shrooms, but fair warning to those looking to eat this: there are LOTS of shrooms on this pizza. You’ve got to be willing to dig into the shroomy flavor to truly enjoy it.

Fig Pizza With Pancetta

All the pizzas are crispy thin-crust style, and sometimes the crust got a little too crackly for our liking. The special fig-pancetta combo was a reasonable idea, but if so pressed we’d probably revert to the simpler options.

Gnudi

Little fluffy balls of cheese dumpling. Any restaurant that does gnudi well is doing the world a great service, and Piccino is one of them.

Polpette

These meatballs were a little too willing to devolve into their origins—a pile of ground meat. We like a little bit of springiness in our balls.

Pear Tatin

A nice pastry, and you can get a reasonable version at many of the bakeries around town.

Apple Date Cake

Surprisingly a bit dry, but dessert is often hit-or-miss at such restaurants.

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