Rome in San Francisco
By Mark Holland
Locanda replaced the sagging Ramblas Tapas bar, and thank god it did. The only thing more annoying than tapas are the girls who spent a semester in Spain and then came home to talk about tapas.
Shamefully, as a devout Delfina disciple, it took me a long time to make it to Locanda, though the group’s “new” restaurant is just down the street. San Francisco has a growing number of legit Italian restaurants. Many of these play it safe, with a California twist or fancy pizza. Locanda, not unlike Noe Valley’s Incanto, takes on a bigger challenge. Locanda boasts Roman fare, which includes parts of the animal a sexy pizzeria in the Marina might shuttle out the back door so as not to disturb the straw fedora crowd.
Though we don’t lunge out of bed in the morning to feast on cockscombs and duck jewels, we do like a dining adventure that respects the use of the whole animal, and here we have to tip our hats to Locanda. It weaves these ingredients into the menu in such a way that it all makes sense; nothing is forced.
Locanda isn’t the newest restaurant on the street, though it has played a large part in bringing dining legitimacy to the Valencia corridor. This has always been a lively stretch of the Mission, but the dining options have gotten much better recently, with Locanda and its Delfina pedigree leading the charge.