There’s a sweet new Italian restaurant spinning into the Marina Wednesday, August 18, with fresh pasta and pizza, as well as spritz flights and torch-it-yourself s’mores. Chef Kaitlynn Bauman has cooked her way through Cotogna, Presidio Social Club, and Greens, as well as traveled through Italy and Scandinavia. Bauman previously owned Norcina cafe and Parlor 1255, both smaller breakfast and lunch spots. But this latest iteration of Norcina is Bauman’s first full-service, sit-down restaurant, and she’s got just the right amount of big pig swagger.
Norcino means “pig butcher,” so Norcina is a female play on that, and Bauman’s tight with charcuterie master Olivier Cordier. “I always wanted to do a full-service restaurant,” Baumann says. “I love pasta and pizza … And I’m excited to be serving a lively neighborhood. It’s a really fun, young neighborhood.”
The menu focuses on fresh pasta and pizza. Bauman twists caramelle like little candies around sweet Brentwood corn and Jimmy Nardello peppers, while pappardelle is paired with a rich brisket ragu and fried escarole. There’s also a black pepper bucatini that’s aggressively (and wonderfully) peppery, with fresh pepper flecked through the noodle. Fresh pasta aficionados will also recognize the big solo raviolo, an ode to the iconic dish at Cotogna, which, in this case, is stuffed with green garlic ricotta, in addition to the golden egg yolk in the center.
The pizza is Neapolitan in style and sourdough leavened, with a drizzle of olive oil in the dough for that crisp bottom and pillowy crust. Bauman loves white pizza, and the menu swings both ways. In the red: margherita with buffalo mozzarella, porky pepperoni with Olivier’s finest fennel sausage, and a spicy play on amatriciana with pancetta and Calabrian chiles. For the white: mixed mushrooms with arugula pesto, prosciutto with frizzled kale, and never least, the kind of broccoli pizza that SF may be mocked for, but why would we even care when it’s loaded with gooey fontina, roasted garlic, and bright lemon zest.
Yes, you can start with a misto salad starring summer stonefruit and Meyer lemon vinaigrette, and keep rolling into secondi like a grilled octopus with big-ass beans and harissa aioli. To drink, there’s wine and beer, as well as an entire flight of spritzes and a sweet amaro list, which are sure to enchant Marina happy hour revelers. And for dessert, s’mores arrive with a candle at the table, so fans can torch their own housemade marshmallow, before smashing it between graham pizzelli cookies and Valrohna chocolate.
Though the menu has a big personality, Norcina is not a huge restaurant. The new Norcina is at 3251 Pierce Street just off Chestnut, taking over a former poke shop for a total transformation. Bailey June Design redid the 1,400-square-foot space in soft whites and pale neutrals, putting in a blonde wood bar, woven seats and light covers, and sea green tiles. Good luck catching one of 26 seats inside, with nine at the bar with a view into the pizza oven, six at a window counter looking out onto the street, and half a dozen tables. Fortunately, Bauman’s dad also built a parklet, and there are a few sidewalk seats. For Amalfi coast dreamers, there’s lemon wallpaper in the bathroom and a neon sign that nudges, like any good nonna, “manga tutti.”
Norcina opens Wednesday, August 18. Opening hours are Sunday to Thursday, 3 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. to midnight, starting with dinner and drinks, but brunch is coming soon, of course.