Montesacro — the San Francisco-based Italian restaurant that bills itself as the first to serve Roman-style pinsa in the United States — may have gotten its start off a gritty sidestreet in the heart of SoMa. But these days the restaurant finds itself in very different environs: On Saturday, November 26, Montesacro expands for the first time to the East Bay, opening its fourth location in the tony suburb of Walnut Creek. The restaurant is located at 1686 Locust Street, just a few blocks from retail destination Broadway Plaza and joins sister locations in San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood and Brooklyn, in addition to the original shop.
According to the company, owner Gianluca Legrottaglie was the first to import pinsa to the states with the opening of Montesacro’s first location back in 2015. The restaurant continues to build its reputation around the oval-shaped pizza-adjacent delicacies, which are made with a blend of soy, rice, and wheat flours the restaurant group sources from Rome. On top of the special flour blend, the dough gets a long 72-hour rise and is shaped by hand, helping give pinsas their signature airy interior and crisp exterior textures.
On the menu, each pinsa takes its name from a Roman neighborhood. The Grottaferrata arrives topped with tomato, wild mushrooms, Calabrian chile, and garlic; the Maranella gets a spicy-creamy combo of fiordilatte, broccolini, spicy pork sausage, and stracciatella di burrata. But there’s more than just pinsa coming out of the kitchen. Entree options also include four pastas — cacio e pepe and rigatoni carbonara both appear — and four heartier plates such as roasted chicken and cast iron lamb chops. There’s also a lengthy selection of smaller plates like a golden beet salad, grilled octopus, and braised tripe to round out any meal.
The wine list includes all organic or biodynamically farmed wines brought in from all over the country; the list also offers a duo of wines, a barbera and a cannonau, that Legrottaglie makes with a wine producer in Sardinia. It’s the cocktail list, however, where you find the most eyebrow-raising offerings. There are a half dozen appertivi including a riff on an Aperol spritz and one on a negroini, plus another half dozen classics — think a gimlet, margarita, and old fashioned. But then there are three “luxury classics” including a Tommy’s margarita made with Tapatio Reserva Exclusiva tequila that will set you back $79 and a VIP Martini that costs $85 but comes with a side of caviar.
Legrottaglie designed the Walnut Creek space himself, so you’ll notice callbacks to the restaurant’s other locations. It’s a blend of midcentury modern design with vintage touches like an Italian chandelier. The restaurant will also serve weekend brunch, with a menu that spans morning-time classics like eggs benedict and a frittata, plus a Montesacro burger that comes with crispy potatoes on a housemade bun.
Montesacro Walnut Creek (1686 Locust Street) opens Saturday, November 26. The restaurant will be open Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.