San Francisco is brimming with excellent pasta, from pristine versions in the California-Italian canon to red sauce Italian and beyond. Almost every restaurant in town has at least one pasta dish on the menu, meshing Northern California ingredients like Dungeness crab, uni, and more. Generally, the high quality of these pastas speak for themselves; without further delay, these are some of the best places to find pasta in San Francisco from North to South.Read More
15 of SF’s Best Pasta Destinations
Head to one of these restaurants for a euphoric carb feast
1. The Italian Homemade Company
Available to eat in or take home, Italian Homemade Company is exactly what it sounds like: hearty, well-made pastas with sauces (and flatbreads and salads). Pick a pasta, like fettucine or pappardelle, and then choose a sauce, from pesto to bolognese to butter and sage.
2. Trattoria Contadina
This 35-year-old North beach staple has been in the Correnti family during its entirety. Now the third generation has taken over, continuing to serve dishes like ll Diavolo, penne with ‘nduja, burrata, and spicy tomato sauce. Pavaroti, a dish with fusilli with chicken, prosciutto, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and cream, is a perfect example of the comforts of this corner restaurant in a changing neighborhood.
3. Tosca Cafe
It’s a North Beach institution, where movie stars and locals have mingled for years. Now its menu is a little more modern, though the pastas remain a favorite. Pro move: Grab a spot at the bar where pastas and cocktails are an excellent backdrop for conversation with your neighbors.
The casual restaurant from the Quince team doesn’t disappoint, particularly in the pasta department.
Don’t miss the rich and perfectly shaped agnolotti del plin are filled with rabbit, veal, vegetables, and Grana Padano. But really, really don’t miss the raviolo di ricotta with farm egg and brown butter, one of the most stunning pasta dishes in the city.
Influenced by the Italian regions of Piemonte and Liguria, this FiDi restaurant is awash in silky pasta. Choose from classics like agnolotti dal plin, pappardelle with short rib ragu, and tajarin with pork and porcini sugo, or try garganelli neri with squid ink and octopush and shellfish ragu. Half portions are available, which is an excellent way to try one of each.
Sorrel isn’t strictly a pasta restaurant, but it’s deeply rooted in the California-Mediterranean genre. The daily changing menu includes beautiful pasta specimens like tagliatelle with beef ragu and rutabaga, cappellacci with kabocha squash, black garlic, and hazelnuts, and rigatoni alla carbonara, served in a hip environment.
Chef Matt Accarrino has been perfecting his techniques at his cozy Lower Pac Heights restaurant for over ten years. His impressive variety of pastas includes parsnip scarpinocc, meyer lemon linquine with abalone, squid ink spaghetti, and ricotta lasagnette with charred trip ragu and mint pesto. (A notable wine list from Shelley Lindgren is also a star here.)
8. Che Fico
Here, rustic Italian is served in a very bustling dining room overlooking Divisadero street. Chef David Nayfeld’s obsession with handmade pasta has yielded excellent results, from Guittard cocoa garganelle with raised shank and rib topped with black truffles to pillowy potato gnocchi. (Make sure to also order the in-house salumi, which hangs in a glass case in the dining room.)
9. a Mano
Hayes Valley’s pasta hotspot has a long list of ever-changing pastas, like campanelle with broccoli di cicco pesto, lemon and pine nuts, and tagliatelle with hedgehog mushrooms and cipollini onion. Shore up that carb-feast with excellent small plates like duck liver mousse, or a margherita pizza (and definitely an Aperol spritz), and watch the foot traffic go by.
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10. Rich Table
Rich Table’s creative interpretation of Northern California cuisine includes some very good pasta, like aged beef agnolotti with crispy brussels sprouts and borscht, and tonnarelli with sea urchin cacio e peppe and idiazabal cheese. Grab a seat at the busy bar if you can’t get reservations, and slurp up your noodles with an excellent cocktail.
Locanda is Delfina’s younger sibling, and brings a different, more experimental vibe to the pasta scene. Linguine and clams is paired withi green garlic, pickled chili and chervil, while agnolotti is stuffed with wild nettle and castelmagno cheese.
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Delfina has been going strong for 20 years, serving simple, and excellent, pasta from the very beginning. Diners can’t go wrong with the classic spaghetti with plum tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and pepperoncini, or linguine with double clam sauce.
13. Flour + Water
Since it opened in 2012, this Mission dough destination has been a staple in the SF pasta scene. From gorgeous stuffed pasta to toothsome noodles bathed in silky sauces, there’s no bad choice when it’s coming from the pasta room. For the full experience, choose the pasta tasting menu which changes often but might include dishes like buckwheat and beef short rib cannelloni with sunchoke puree, roasted gold beets and hazelnuts. (A vegetarian option is also available.)
14. Emmy's Spaghetti Shack
This boisterous Mission restaurant specializes in — you guessed it — spaghetti, with or without meatballs. Orecchiette, pappardelle, zoodles, and more also make appearances with varying ingredients and sauces. (There are also mains like eggplant parmesan and flat iron steak, despite shack’s reputation as a pasta destination.)
15. La Ciccia
For seafood-focused Sardinian food, Noe Valley’s La Ciccia is the answer. It’s cute, cozy, filled with excellent pasta, and owned by a charming Italian couple who will welcome you with open arms. Pasta veers away from the more standard noodles found throughout town, with malloreddus (a semolina gnocchetti specific to Sardinia) with pork sugo, and Sardinian maccaroni with sea urchin, tomato, and grated tuna heart.