SFReview

photo credit: Hardy Wilson

Sorella image
7.1

Sorella

Italian

Nob HillPolk Gulch

$$$$Perfect For:Eating At The Bar

Sorella attracts the fleece vest-wearing crowd like a moth to an open flame. The Italian restaurant’s neon sign and dark, modern exterior can’t be missed among the storied establishments in Nob Hill. It’s also by the same people behind the longstanding Italian fine-dining place, Acquerello—so when the more laidback sister spot opened, expectations were high. And while there’s nothing aggressively wrong with a meal at Sorella, there’s nothing aggressively exciting about it, either. 

The dinner menu here is mostly made up of seasonally changing, shareable appetizers like veal meatballs and grilled razor clams, housemade pastas, and a few bigger entrees (a rotating fish, pork chops, and lamb osso buco). Some of the dishes really are nicely executed, like the squid ink linguini presented in a bath of spicy brodo, and the warm parmesan budino that’s silky rich and heavy on the truffle. But other pastas, like a short rib agnolotti with fava beans and the slightly too-dry beef timballo, come out bland. 

As it turns out, our favorite way to use Sorella is for a pre-dinner drink and snack at the walk-in-only bar before heading to Fiorella or House of Prime Rib nearby. The cicchetti menu (only available at the bar) is like the dinner menu’s cooler little sibling. Think cacio e pepe-dusted potato chips, meatball-stuffed chicken wings in a gooey chili-honey glaze, and an anchovy toast that deserves a top spot in the Bar Snack Power Rankings, a guide we should probably make a thing. Another perk of sitting at the bar is that you can mix and match with dishes off the dinner menu, in case you want to stay for a full meal and eavesdrop while the couple next to you discusses their labradoodle’s new diet.  

Ultimately, there are other spots in town with similar Italian dishes and better execution—like Che Fico, Penny Roma, or Cotogna—that we’d head to first for a special night out, or whenever the urge to take down a big bowl of pasta hits. Or you’ll find us here at the bar, starting a night off with a quick glass of wine and multiple orders of anchovy toast. 

Food Rundown

Sorella image

photo credit: Julia Chen

Anchovy Toast

Quite possibly the highlight of a meal here. Every bite of the buttery stunner is punctuated with a salty, umami punch that hits like an impeccably timed Onion tweet. It’s only available at the bar, which is all the more reason to swing by for an impromptu cocktail on any given night.
Sorella image

photo credit: Hardy Wilson

Stuffed Chicken Wing

Glazed in a sticky, firetruck-red chili and honey coating and stuffed with a pork meatball, these wings are a bar menu item we wouldn’t mind snacking on all night. It tastes mostly like a meatball (the chicken bit gets kind of lost), but we don’t really mind. Note that it’s one per order ($6 each), so plan accordingly.

Warm Parmesan Budino

Devoted Acquerello fans might recognize this savory budino, which was a mainstay on the sister restaurant’s menu for decades. At Sorella, the jiggly, custard-like appetizer is served on top of a rotating assortment of vegetables, like grilled asparagus and truffle or sunchokes and hazelnut. You can share this one amongst the table—a couple of bites of the rich stuff is plenty.
Sorella image

photo credit: Julia Chen

Porcini & Corn Ravioli

Even though, on paper, this sounds like a lot of things we love rolled into one dish, it’s just not super memorable.

Squid Ink Linguini

One of the better pasta dishes on the menu. The slightly spicy broth that the linguini arrives swimming in is tasty enough to finish off like soup, and the whole thing is piled high with lobster, a pretty foolproof plus in our book.
Sorella image

photo credit: Hardy Wilson

Dry-Aged Beef Timballo

Slightly too dry, even when we dipped each bite into the pool of chunky tomato sauce.

FOOD RUNDOWN

Suggested Reading

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Eating carbohydrates by yourself is a beautiful thing. Here’s where to do it.

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