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10 of the Best Places to Eat Pasta in San Francisco

Locanda's bucatini all’amatriciana; photo: © tablehopper.com.

Locanda's bucatini all’amatriciana; photo: © tablehopper.com.

There’s nothing that satisfies like a really beautiful bowl of piping hot pasta. Fortunately many local chefs are obsessed with making incredible pastas by hand, from the simply adorned to stuffed. Here are ten places where you can really get your carbs on.

Acquerello

For some of the most refined and utterly exquisite pastas, you’ll need to come to Acquerello for Chef Suzette Gresham-Tognetti and Mark Pensa’s tasting menu (the trademark ridged pasta with faux foie gras, black truffle, and Marsala is just beyond).

Cotogna/Quince

This duo of restaurants makes some of the most adored pastas in town, like Cotogna’s tender raviolo with an egg inside. At Quince next door, chef Michael Tusk makes even more luxurious pastas on the tasting menu (which you can also order at the bar).

Farina

The mandilli al pesto here is a dish every human being should experience at least once in their life. Chef Paolo Laboa's silken sheets of pasta, the sublime and award-winning pesto—it’s a dish without equal (and somehow it’s almost worth the $26 price tag).

Flour + Water

With a name like Flour + Water, you can tell chef Thomas McNaughton’s focus is on pasta. From tender tagliatelle to stuffed pastas, you’ll find at least seven seasonal and handmade selections that all feature a bit of a California spin (there’s also a pasta tasting menu for $65).

La Ciccia

Chef Massimiliano Conti’s menu at this cozy neighborhood restaurant has about four fantastic Sardinian pasta choices, like the fresh spaghetti with spicy oil and bottarga, and the total flavor bomba of the toasted Sardinian fregola with sea urchin, tomato, and cured tuna heart.

Locanda

If you want to taste the gamut of Roman pastas prepared properly (many are made with their top-of-the-line pasta extruder), here’s your spot. Chef Anthony Strong's bucatini all’amatriciana are a delicious place to start, made the traditional way with guanciale, tomato, pepperoncino, and pecorino.

Perbacco

The pastas by chef Staffan Terje are some of the city’s best, like the trademark agnolotti dal plin: Pasta filled with roasted vitellone and Savoy cabbage, and finished with a drizzle of a sauce made from the roasting juices. Pastas come in two sizes, so you can always double down.

Ristorante Ideale

This simple North Beach restaurant is not on everyone’s radar, but now you know where to go for Roman classics like bucatini all’amatriciana and carbonara, or really satisfying plates of housemade tortelloni, lasagne, gnocchi, and pappardelle in lamb ragù.

SPQR

Chef Matthew Accarrino’s creative menu is continually changing, but his pastas always feature exciting ingredient pairings and flavors, like smoked fettuccini, sea urchin, smoked bacon, and soft quail egg. There’s also a pasta tasting menu available.

Zero Zero

The pastas here are bountiful plates that will take you to your happy place, no matter how lousy your day was. Example: Casareccia with prosciutto, arugula, Grana Padano, Straus butter, and prosciutto breadcrumbs. Yeah, you read that right: Prosciutto breadcrumbs.

 

Marcia Gagliardi is the editor of the weekly tablehopper e-column; subscribe and read more at tablehopper.com. Follow her on Twitter: @tablehopper.