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A plate of pasta.
Barberio Osteria opens in the former Ancora space on Valencia on Friday, September 15.
Star Chefs

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The AltoVino Team Is Bringing Piles of Fresh Pasta and an All-Italian Wine List to Valencia

Barberio Osteria, a second restaurant from the team behind Nob Hill’s AltoVino, opens on Friday, September 15

Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

Creating a great neighborhood restaurant takes work, but the team behind AltoVino hopes to duplicate that magic with a new restaurant in the heart of the Valencia corridor. Debuting Friday, September 15, Barberio Osteria is the new restaurant from chef Nick Kelly, wife and AltoVino wine director Calli Martinez, and business partner Saul Magana, settling into the former Ancora space at 557 Valencia Street, as first reported by Tablehopper. The trio met while working at Barbacco and have been looking to open a new restaurant together for the last two years, so when they were approached to take over the space they jumped at the chance. “It’s our home,” Kelly says. “We want to be here. We love San Francisco. We want to build a restaurant, especially in this neighborhood. So, we’re trying to do it again.”

The restaurant is named after Kelly’s maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Barberio, who’s from the Calabria region of Italy. Stylistically, Kelly says Barberio will share some traits of AltoVino, mainly in how the menu will shift through the Italian regions based on seasons, leaning on southern Italian island food in the summer, for instance, and northern Italian items in the winter, he says. Still, he promises the dishes will be different between the two restaurants on any given day, despite both menus each serving six pasta dishes each.

Kelly is leaning on traditional takes on dishes such as bagna caôda — which, Kelly says, will appear on the menu as its dialect spelling — which is a dipping sauce made with anchovy, olive oil, butter, and garlic and will be served with seasonal raw vegetables. The bagna caôda will be kept warm over a candle and, in another nod to tradition, will also include an egg yolk to be stirred into the dip towards the end to give the dish another dimension. “What we’ve tried to do,” Kelly says, “is cook Italian in a more modern way, but we try and really keep it not French technique, not California technique, just really Italian. A lot of research goes into it.” Also worth noting is the ‘nduja, a spreadable salumi served with bread that Kelly says is a little spicy, smoky, and creamy, unlike other versions.

A plate of fish with vegetables.
Eureka Black Cod baked under salt and herb crust.
Star Chefs

For pastas, the opening menu will feature sacchetti, parcel shaped pasta stuffed with slow roasted Stemple Creek lamb. One AltoVino favorite, the pappardelle with its 10-hour Bolognese, will also appear on the menu as a staple dish. It’s made with a mix of veal, dry-aged beef, pork, and prosciutto soffritto. The meat items are something to pay particular attention to, as Kelly focuses on whole animal butchery. La Fiorentina is a showstopper 30-day, dry-aged grilled porterhouse steak clocking in at 35 ounces, and served with seasonal vegetables, gremolata, and roasted bone marrow. Meanwhile, there will be a trio of grilled, whole fish offered daily, depending on what’s in season and the size of the table. For the opening, Kelly is envisioning sand dabs from Half Moon Bay grilled for two, or a larger option of rockfish that can serve two to four diners, all cooked over oak coals.

For the wine list, Martinez is leading the charge, selecting all Italian wines with the exception of a small selection of Champagne. Martinez is looking to build a menu where everyone who walks in the door can find something they’re excited about — and at a good price point. “I want it to be a little bit of everything,” Martinez says, “but I like finding wines off the beaten path or things that you might not necessarily notice on a list.” Among the wines she’ll bring to Barberio: Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle, an Italian wine that Martinez says has a fresh, citrusy taste alongside a “really salty style of minerality” and a Calabrian red wine with dark fruit and black pepper notes that go with the restaurant's grilled meat or lamb pasta.

A woman holds a plate of pasta.
Spinach sacchetti with roasted lamb shoulder.
Star Chefs

In addition to the wines, Magana is creating a trios of spritzes; low-proof cocktails, such as a low-proof negroni; and non-alcoholic drinks that will change with the seasons. A roster of three beers on tap and bottled beers will also be available, and the selection will also rotate.

The Valencia space got a light makeover from its Ancora days, including a new coat of paint, some updates in the kitchen, and some personal details, such as a rooster statue in the back — a nod to Kelly’s grandmother — as well as a striking portrait of a beloved pet in the sink area of the bathroom. It all goes toward making a cozy neighborhood spot that shirks all the doomsayer stories about the city. “Lots of people talk about how everything’s horrible,” Kelly says. “But we’re trying to be a little more optimistic.”

“It’s nice to feel like a part of our revitalization,” Martinez adds. “I think we view small business as a really important part of the personality of the city, and to be able to put our small stamp on one corner of it is very cool. And I hope that it’s something the neighborhood responds to and feels is valuable.”

Barberio Osteria (557 Valencia Street) debuts on Friday, September 15.

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