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Arts & Entertainment

5 new spots to eat and drink in SF: Delfina reopens, Al Pastor Papi gets permanent parking & more

Delfina has finally returned with a new space in the Mission District. | Courtesy Delfina/Albert Law

After a two-and-half-year Covid closure, Cal-Italian trattoria Delfina is back in the Mission District with a whole new look and menu, combining full-service dinner with a retail space and to-go pizzeria. Residents of Nob Hill have something else to brag about with the arrival of Ciccino Northern Italian brunchery and Back to Back Pizzeria.

Next week, Miguel Escobedo parks his celebrated taco truck, Al Pastor Papi, in a permanent spot at Spark Social in Dogpatch. And the minds behind Four Barrel Coffee join up with a former Tartine pastry chef to bring Jewish diasporic and Levantine sweets to Hayes Valley with the opening of Loquat.

Cal-Italian Favorite Returns

3621 18th St.
(415) 437-6800

At the beginning of the pandemic, after two decades of operation, Annie and Craig Stoll decided to temporarily shut their doors and regroup. Now Delfina is back in an expanded new location on 18th and Guerrero. Their reimagining includes a to-go pizzeria, a retail space, a parklet and a private room with high, vaulted ceilings. Delfina’s all-new cocktail list emphasizes amari and other Italian spirits. The dinner menu rotates regularly, but the Roman pizza bianca-inspired sourdough focaccia is a staple. Look for elevated dishes like the paccheri and petrale sole with fresh San Marzano tomatoes. The spaghetti pomodoro is also back by popular demand.

Natty Wine & Classic Vinyl

Back to Back
1257 Taylor St.
(415) 371-9704

Vinyl bars may be catching on in SF, if Back to Back’s soft opening in Nob Hill this past week is any indication. This wood-fired pizzeria spinning hi-fi records is a sibling project from Monica and Randall Hom in collaboration with chef Stephen Chan, previously of Noe Valley’s neighborhood eatery Hamlet. The wine list totals 57 bottles, centering natural purveyors like Iruai and Dog Fight.

Ay, Papi

Al Pastor Papi at Spark Social SF
601 Mission Bay Blvd. N.
(415) 800-8777

Miguel Escobedo has logged thousands of miles in his taco truck, boomeranging around the Bay between beer gardens, high school football tailgates and catering everything from weddings to the Giants. Four year later, he’s landed a permanent parking spot at Spark Social, a food truck park in Dogpatch. Though slow-roasted pork remains central to Al Pastor Papi, vegetarians can try the plant-based pork, nopales tacos and chile relleno torta.

Levantine Treats

198 Gough St.
(415) 994-6594

In September, a gold-painted sign in Germanic script signaled the imminent arrival of Loquat, a highly anticipated Jewish diasporic bakery from Four Barrel Coffee’s Tal Mor and Jodi Geren and Tartine alum Kristina Costa. They’re serving up buttery cinnamon date sugar babka, lavender shortbread and savory noshes like ricotta sage bourekas. We can expect holiday treats like sufganiyot, or jelly donuts, later in the winter and hamantaschen in the spring.

Spaghetti + Caviar

1400 California St.
(415) 260-4810

From the executive chef at local chain Italian Homemade Company comes a new brunch and lunch spot in Nob Hill. Marcia Gagliardi of Tablehopper has the intel on Ciccino, an eatery that honors the rich gastronomy of Chef GianMarco Cosmi’s native northern Italy. Lunch ranges from lighter fare, like the halibut carpaccio, to generous entrées like fried pork tenderloin, spaghetti with caviar and ravioli carbonara. Ciccino serves brunch and lunch only until Cosmi can secure a beer and wine permit—with any luck, next month.