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17 Primo Italian Restaurants in San Francisco

Try these restaurants for Roman pasta, Neapolitan pizza, wood-fired fish, and so much more

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There’s a long and wonderful tradition of Italian food in San Francisco. Immigrants flooded the Bay during the Gold Rush, and while southerners stayed in New York, simmering hearty red sauces, northerners landed in San Francisco, bringing a taste for fresh fish, green olives, and bright citrus. North Beach is the historic neighborhood, and it’s predictably filled with tourist traps, as well as old standbys, many ladling out cioppino, our iconic fisherman’s stew. But these days, Italian restaurants are all over the city, serving Roman classics like cacio e pepe and spicy Amatriciana, bold and modern updates on fresh and filled pastas, Neapolitan-style pizzas out of blistering hot ovens, and garlicky fish and steak kissed by wood-fire grills. Here are 17 of the most seasoned Italian restaurants in San Francisco.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Original Joe's

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601 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 775-4877
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Where else can you get steak with a side of ravioli and creamed spinach? This Italian-American institution is filled with red booths, white tablecloths, and bustling waiters. The restaurant is 80 years old, and while the original location burned in 2007, it now has a prime spot on Washington Square Park in the heart of North Beach. The Westlake location also has its own following among locals.

Original Joe’s, Friday 6pm

2. Norcina

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3251 Pierce St
San Francisco, CA 94123

Norcina popped open in the Marina in late summer 2021, throwing down fresh pasta and pizza, as well as spritz flights and torch-it-yourself s’mores. Chef Kaitlynn Bauman (Cotogna, Presidio Social Club, Greens) previously owned a breakfast and brunch spot under the same name, but the new Norcina is her first full-service, sit-down restaurant, with just the right amount of big pig swagger.

2355 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 771-2216
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Cozy at the end of Chestnut Street since 2004, A16 has earned a reputation for Southern Italian antipasti, salumi, pizza, and meat, intersecting with a deep wine list helmed by award-winning wine expert Shelley Lindgren. The space winds back past the open kitchen and gaping oven to a pretty green patio.

Pasta at A16 A16

4. Baonecci Restaurant

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516 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 989-1806
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Baonecci is hidden away on one of the narrow off-streets in North Beach. Longtime owner Stefania Gambaccini is originally from Lucca in Tuscany, and she’s known for comforting lasagna, bolognese, and crunchy thin-crust pizza.

Baonecci

5. Seven Hills

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1896 Hyde St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 775-1550
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Seven Hills has been a jewel box in Russian Hill for nearly a decade, and the restaurant just jumped a few blocks over into a bigger space in fall 2019, bringing all the fresh pasta along with it. The neighborhood would have revolted if the chef took the freshly extruded maccheroncelli and house ricotta off the menu, but he plans to add a whole-animal program. 

Pasta at Seven Hills Seven Hills

6. Cotogna

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490 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 775-8508
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Just where North Beach starts to dip down into charming Jackson Square, Cotogna has a warm and welcoming open hearth and rustic wooden tables. It’s owned by Michael Tusk, who’s also behind Quince, the fine dining star, but Cotogna is much more relaxed. The raviolo is an experience, a single large filled pasta, which when cut with a fork, breaks into fresh ricotta and golden egg yolk. But you can’t go wrong with any of the fresh pasta, fish from the grill, and meat from the spit.

7. The Italian Homemade Company

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1919 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 655-9325
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Italian Homemade serves up big slabs of lasagna, as well as hearty ravioli and gnocchi, either to go or for delivery. Locations are now around town, with the original in North Beach, as well as outposts in Cow Hollow and Hayes, covering carb needs all across town.

Lasagna from Italian Homemade The Italian Homemade Company

8. Perbacco

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230 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 955-0663
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At the base of the California trolley car, Perbacco has pulled in finance crowds for several decades. It’s known for exceptional salumi, as well as risotto, pappardelle, and wine-braised short ribs. But if the big booths and white table cloths feel a tad stuffy, you can always slide over to the more casual Barbacco next door.

Pasta at Barbacco Barbacco

9. Acquerello

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1722 Sacramento Street NEAR VAN NESS &, Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 567-5432
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More than 30 years in, Acquellero is a fine dining institution still shining bright with two Michelin stars. Suzette Gresham serves luxurious tasting menus, ranging from three courses for $115 to nine courses for $225. Even the floral arrangements are high drama.

Octopus from Acquerello Acquerello

10. SPQR

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1911 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 771-7779
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SPQR took its name from the Roman empire, but the pasta is far from classic. It was originally an offshoot of A16, but wine director Shelley Lindgren officially stepped out in 2019, leaving chef-owner Matt Accarino to run the show, where he twirls squid ink pasta, chicken liver mousse, and wagyu carne cruda.

11. Fiorella Clement

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2339 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 340-3049
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Fiorella was the darling pizza spot of the Outer Richmond, before demands inspired a second location on Russian Hill and a third in Inner Sunset. It’s known for fun wallpaper and pillowy pizza, with toppings that range from creamy burrata to spicy chiles, as well as cacio e pepe and grandpa-style meatballs. 

12. Che Fico

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838 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 416-6959
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Che Fico is a couple years in and yet never lost its cool. It’s got a lot of levels: The full restaurant upstairs, with that pineapple pizza with fermented chiles, as well as the Alimentari downstairs, which has the feel of a casual bottle shop, but still exceptional cacio e pepe. Save room for dessert — award-winning pastry chef Angela Pinkerton has serious tiramisu.

13. Delfina Restaurant

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3621 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 437-6800
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Delfina has been the Cal-Italian neighborhood favorite of Mission Dolores for more than 20 years, serving perfect roast chicken, spaghetti, and polenta. The original Delfina Restaurant and heart of the group was closed temporarily for a good stretch of the pandemic, but these days it is open for outdoor dining on 18th, serving a combined pasta-and-pizza menu with Pizzeria Delfina immediately next door.

14. Flour + Water

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2401 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 826-7000
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Long before Tartine moved in with the Manufactory, Flour + Water made this residential corner of the Mission cool when people started lining up for the pasta tasting menu. Go to the original for the full pasta experience, with seven courses of fresh tortellini, raviolini, and other delights, along with crudo and dessert. Or check out the new pizzeria, if you’re partial to pies.  

Pasta at Flour + Water Flour + Water

15. Itria

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3266 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 874-9821
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Itria backed into its original plan and first opened for pizza delivery in May 2021, but finally opened for indoor dining in August 2021, debuting a totally fresh menu of pasta and crudo. Lots of restaurants throw one crudo on the menu, but chef Daniel Evers (Al’s Place, Cotogna) digs into the category with half a dozen different varieties, as well as handmade pasta, in an array of extruded and filled shapes. 

Pizza slices from Itria Patricia Chang

16. The Gold Mirror Italian Restaurant

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800 Taraval St
San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 564-0401
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Tucked away in Inner Parkside, Gold Mirror is a neighborhood gem. Chef Giuseppe di Grande is originally from Sicily, and he started rolling the cannelloni in 1969. Fifty years later, the sons are in the kitchen, still sending out classics like veal parm to a dining room filled with faux castle walls and medieval decor.

17. La Ciccia

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291 30th St
San Francisco, CA 94131
(415) 550-8114
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At the quiet end of Noe Valley, sitting on 30th Street with a view up Church, La Ciccia is a rare find. It’s possibly the only Sardinian restaurant in San Francisco, serving baby octopus, spaghetti dusted with bottarga, and minerally island wines.

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1. Original Joe's

601 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Original Joe’s, Friday 6pm

Where else can you get steak with a side of ravioli and creamed spinach? This Italian-American institution is filled with red booths, white tablecloths, and bustling waiters. The restaurant is 80 years old, and while the original location burned in 2007, it now has a prime spot on Washington Square Park in the heart of North Beach. The Westlake location also has its own following among locals.

601 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. Norcina

3251 Pierce St, San Francisco, CA 94123

Norcina popped open in the Marina in late summer 2021, throwing down fresh pasta and pizza, as well as spritz flights and torch-it-yourself s’mores. Chef Kaitlynn Bauman (Cotogna, Presidio Social Club, Greens) previously owned a breakfast and brunch spot under the same name, but the new Norcina is her first full-service, sit-down restaurant, with just the right amount of big pig swagger.

3251 Pierce St
San Francisco, CA 94123

3. A16

2355 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123
Pasta at A16 A16

Cozy at the end of Chestnut Street since 2004, A16 has earned a reputation for Southern Italian antipasti, salumi, pizza, and meat, intersecting with a deep wine list helmed by award-winning wine expert Shelley Lindgren. The space winds back past the open kitchen and gaping oven to a pretty green patio.

2355 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94123

4. Baonecci Restaurant

516 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Baonecci

Baonecci is hidden away on one of the narrow off-streets in North Beach. Longtime owner Stefania Gambaccini is originally from Lucca in Tuscany, and she’s known for comforting lasagna, bolognese, and crunchy thin-crust pizza.

516 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94133

5. Seven Hills

1896 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Pasta at Seven Hills Seven Hills

Seven Hills has been a jewel box in Russian Hill for nearly a decade, and the restaurant just jumped a few blocks over into a bigger space in fall 2019, bringing all the fresh pasta along with it. The neighborhood would have revolted if the chef took the freshly extruded maccheroncelli and house ricotta off the menu, but he plans to add a whole-animal program. 

1896 Hyde St
San Francisco, CA 94109

6. Cotogna

490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Just where North Beach starts to dip down into charming Jackson Square, Cotogna has a warm and welcoming open hearth and rustic wooden tables. It’s owned by Michael Tusk, who’s also behind Quince, the fine dining star, but Cotogna is much more relaxed. The raviolo is an experience, a single large filled pasta, which when cut with a fork, breaks into fresh ricotta and golden egg yolk. But you can’t go wrong with any of the fresh pasta, fish from the grill, and meat from the spit.

490 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

7. The Italian Homemade Company

1919 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123
Lasagna from Italian Homemade The Italian Homemade Company

Italian Homemade serves up big slabs of lasagna, as well as hearty ravioli and gnocchi, either to go or for delivery. Locations are now around town, with the original in North Beach, as well as outposts in Cow Hollow and Hayes, covering carb needs all across town.

1919 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123

8. Perbacco

230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Pasta at Barbacco Barbacco

At the base of the California trolley car, Perbacco has pulled in finance crowds for several decades. It’s known for exceptional salumi, as well as risotto, pappardelle, and wine-braised short ribs. But if the big booths and white table cloths feel a tad stuffy, you can always slide over to the more casual Barbacco next door.

230 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

9. Acquerello

1722 Sacramento Street NEAR VAN NESS &, Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Octopus from Acquerello Acquerello

More than 30 years in, Acquellero is a fine dining institution still shining bright with two Michelin stars. Suzette Gresham serves luxurious tasting menus, ranging from three courses for $115 to nine courses for $225. Even the floral arrangements are high drama.

1722 Sacramento Street NEAR VAN NESS &, Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

10. SPQR

1911 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

SPQR took its name from the Roman empire, but the pasta is far from classic. It was originally an offshoot of A16, but wine director Shelley Lindgren officially stepped out in 2019, leaving chef-owner Matt Accarino to run the show, where he twirls squid ink pasta, chicken liver mousse, and wagyu carne cruda.

1911 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

11. Fiorella Clement

2339 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

Fiorella was the darling pizza spot of the Outer Richmond, before demands inspired a second location on Russian Hill and a third in Inner Sunset. It’s known for fun wallpaper and pillowy pizza, with toppings that range from creamy burrata to spicy chiles, as well as cacio e pepe and grandpa-style meatballs. 

2339 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121

12. Che Fico

838 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Read Review |

Che Fico is a couple years in and yet never lost its cool. It’s got a lot of levels: The full restaurant upstairs, with that pineapple pizza with fermented chiles, as well as the Alimentari downstairs, which has the feel of a casual bottle shop, but still exceptional cacio e pepe. Save room for dessert — award-winning pastry chef Angela Pinkerton has serious tiramisu.

838 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

13. Delfina Restaurant

3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Delfina has been the Cal-Italian neighborhood favorite of Mission Dolores for more than 20 years, serving perfect roast chicken, spaghetti, and polenta. The original Delfina Restaurant and heart of the group was closed temporarily for a good stretch of the pandemic, but these days it is open for outdoor dining on 18th, serving a combined pasta-and-pizza menu with Pizzeria Delfina immediately next door.

3621 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

14. Flour + Water

2401 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Pasta at Flour + Water Flour + Water

Long before Tartine moved in with the Manufactory, Flour + Water made this residential corner of the Mission cool when people started lining up for the pasta tasting menu. Go to the original for the full pasta experience, with seven courses of fresh tortellini, raviolini, and other delights, along with crudo and dessert. Or check out the new pizzeria, if you’re partial to pies.  

2401 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94110

15. Itria

3266 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Pizza slices from Itria Patricia Chang

Itria backed into its original plan and first opened for pizza delivery in May 2021, but finally opened for indoor dining in August 2021, debuting a totally fresh menu of pasta and crudo. Lots of restaurants throw one crudo on the menu, but chef Daniel Evers (Al’s Place, Cotogna) digs into the category with half a dozen different varieties, as well as handmade pasta, in an array of extruded and filled shapes. 

3266 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

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16. The Gold Mirror Italian Restaurant

800 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116

Tucked away in Inner Parkside, Gold Mirror is a neighborhood gem. Chef Giuseppe di Grande is originally from Sicily, and he started rolling the cannelloni in 1969. Fifty years later, the sons are in the kitchen, still sending out classics like veal parm to a dining room filled with faux castle walls and medieval decor.

800 Taraval St
San Francisco, CA 94116

17. La Ciccia

291 30th St, San Francisco, CA 94131

At the quiet end of Noe Valley, sitting on 30th Street with a view up Church, La Ciccia is a rare find. It’s possibly the only Sardinian restaurant in San Francisco, serving baby octopus, spaghetti dusted with bottarga, and minerally island wines.

291 30th St
San Francisco, CA 94131

Related Maps