Itria, that hot new Italian restaurant in the Mission, is finally opening for indoor dining this Thursday, August 5. The news might not seem like a big deal in an era of reclosing and reopening restaurants with rotating service styles, but it is: First, Itria is bringing in a totally different menu, moving from pandemic-necessitated pizza delivery to crudo and fresh pasta worth sitting down and savoring. And it’s the first time anyone has seen the inside of the former Obispo space since the beginning of the pandemic.
To refresh your memory, Itria opened its doors on May 20, 2021, as a promising partnership between chef Daniel Evers (Al’s Place, Cotogna) and entrepreneur Min Park (Rooster and Rice, Bonchon). Because of the pandemic, Evers and Park decided to back into their business plan and start with pizza delivery; now, they’re opening for indoor dining and finally debuting their full vision. But is now actually a better time to start taking reservations, given the delta surge and mask mandate? “I don’t know if there’s ever a good time,” Evers says. “But … people still seem to want to go out. So I hope it’s a good enough time.”
The new menu highlights raw fish and fresh pasta, and rounds it out with a few starters and a couple of larger share plates. Lots of restaurants throw one crudo on the menu, but Evers digs in with half a dozen, including his current favorite kampachi from Baja California, which he lightly cures, thinly slices, and hits with a juiced cucumber vinaigrette, pickled fresno chiles, and grilled cucumbers and radishes. Handmade pasta comes in a range of extruded and filled styles, such as the pansotti, a pot-bellied bundle with a fluted edge, that stars sweet Brentwood corn, lacy Hen of the Woods mushrooms, and a rich butter sauce.
The still hungry can go big on a whole branzino or 1-pound New York strip steak. And the wine list leans Cal-Italian and the microbrews are local, to encourage sipping and snacking. Evers still has aspirations to do a tasting menu eventually, and does sound relieved to clear the dough out of the fridge and retire takeout pizza, at least for now. (You can read the full menu, below.)
D-Scheme design firm (also behind Alexander’s, One65, and Farmhouse Kitchen) reimagined the space, softening the white-washed former rum bar into warm woods and gray neutrals. Itria is a long and rectangular 2,200 square feet offering about 60 seats total: a couple of high tables at the front flowing into 10 seats at the bar, and winding back to individual tables and a communal table, with a window view into the kitchen. It’s committed to indoor dining only, given the location on 24th Street, with buses often trundling by.
Evers says opening for indoor dining kind of feels like opening an entirely new restaurant, but really the whole experience of trying to open a restaurant amid a pandemic has been a wild ride. “It was almost like starting from scratch,” he says — but then again, they already have gotten the hang of the kitchen equipment and have fish and vegetable vendors set up. Still, it was a bizarre bonding experience for management, when it was just Evers, two sous chefs, and the general manager slinging pizza in the middle of a restaurant remodel.
“We had fun doing pizza, but to-go food, it’s not the same, you don’t have that energy,” Evers says. “It’s the difference between an empty space, half under construction, while we’re doing pizzas to go, and music, lights, candles, a full dining room, and happy people … it’s not even night and day. It feels like a real restaurant.”
Itria opens for indoor dining on Thursday, August 5. Opening hours are Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 10 p.m.