This Valentine’s Day, you can have your very own Lady and the Tramp moment at a brand-new place in Cow Hollow. Calabrian restaurateur Francesco Covucci unveiled his newest eatery, Il Casaro Osteria, with just days to spare before the Feast of San Valentino. The restaurant combines the best of the three North Beach establishments that Covucci and his partner, Peter Fazio, operate—Il Casaro Pizzeria, Barbara Pinseria & Cocktail Bar and California Fish Market—that is, pizza, pasta and seafood.
As Covucci told The Standard, he and Fazio decided to expand to Cow Hollow—on Union Street near Webster—after two other Italian restaurants shuttered there.
“We fell in love with the location, the street and the people, and we really believe that we’re going to add value to the neighborhood,” Covucci said.
With a wood-burning oven in tow, Covucci’s Napoli-style pizza will be front and center on the menu, complemented by pasta dishes like a four-hour slow-cooked ziti genovese and spaghetti alla chitarra with peppers and shaved black truffle. He said he imports the majority of his ingredients from his home country.
Above all else, Covucci described his new osteria as approachable, affordable and homey. “We welcome everyone no matter what their budget is,” Covucci said. “It shouldn’t cost more than $20 or $22 for a pasta dish, and I’m here to prove that.”
Il Casaro Osteria
It may be “sketchy” and “tough” to date in San Francisco, and Valentine’s Day reservations are notoriously elusive, but we’ve compiled a list of dreamy new spots that—fingers crossed—aren’t overrun yet.
Plus, Okaeri Japanese Bistro, a brand-new hot pot and omakase place in the Mission, just opened its doors as well. We’ve been amped to try its menu since we met the owners in December.
1. Per Diem
Don’t be fooled by this place’s workday doldrums-sounding name. Per Diem, a farm-to-table stunner that arrived in the Financial District in 2011 and just opened an outpost at the Salesforce Transit Center this week, joins a roster of food and drink options that include Venga Empanadas, Charleys Philly Steaks and Barebottle on the rooftop garden. Per Diem’s second location offers several new dishes. We’re particularly excited about the tuna with tonnato sauce, a creamy dip made with anchovies, olive oil, mayonnaise and lemon juice.
San Francisco is no stranger to Moroccan cooking—from Michelin-starred Mourad to Marrakech Restaurant and Hookah Lounge in the Tenderloin, we know a tagine when we see one. Now, the Marina is the latest destination for couscous and kafta, as L’mida just settled in up the street from Souvla and Delarosa. The cafe, decorated with the traditional trappings of a Moorish dar, combines Moroccan and California cuisine for brunch and dinner—expect bastilla, lamb chops and naturally, piping hot mint tea.
3. Left Bank Brasserie
Jack London Square
📍 55 Webster St., Oakland
Over the past decade, residents of Oakland’s Jack London Square have seen the historic marina transform from a struggling collection of shops to a constellation of buzzy dinner spots and craft breweries. Left Bank Brasserie, a Parisian-style mini-chain with locations in Larkspur, Menlo Park and San Jose, is the latest addition, opening on Feb. 17. That’s a bit late for Valentine’s Day, but niçoise salad and moules-frites are romantic any night of the year—n’est-ce pas?
There’s just something about a rooftop view. Cavaña, a brand-new cocktail lounge atop the Luma Hotel, has a Bay panorama and artful agave-based drinks to match. The Central and South American bar is the brainchild of John Park of Kaiyō, Novela and Whitechapel and Anthony Parks, former beverage director at Mourad. High-end tequila, rum and mezcales anchor the cocktail menu, which showcases Latin American staples like Cuban coffee and pisco elevated with fresh papaya.
Sarah Holtz can be reached at [email protected]