Locanda Osteria and Bar, San Francisco

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Locanda Osteria and Bar, San Francisco is known for two things in California: a passion for all things Roman, and an inventive culinary display of that passion. Locanda’s head chef, Anthony Strong, started as a line cook at Locanda’s sister restaurant Delfina in 2005, eventually moving his way up to running not one but two restaurants. Locanda’s head chef likes to focus on how the traditional roman technique can be modernized and reinterpreted for his own recipes and dishes. Dishes include Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe, dressed simply and exquisitely in pecorino and black pepper; and a muscular Rigatoni alla Carbonara with house-cured guanciale.

Locanda’s bar crafts in-house cocktails with popular Italian elixirs like Aperol and Strega, while also boasting an impressive wine list, which spans not just Italy, but Spain, France, The Canary Islands, and other ancient Roman outposts. Not to be missed, you’ll want to “do as the romans” and check into this San Franciscan hot spot.

Gjelina, Venice Beach

Gjelina, Venice Beach

Gjelina

Leading the pack in innovative cuisine and ingredients is Travis Lett’s Gjelina, nestled in California’s Venice Beach. Like other popular Venice Beach eateries, Lett’s restaurant boasts a trendy, casual yet exclusive vibe. Gjelina, Venice Beach is a hip, no mods, no frills kind of restaurant with impressive culinary results. The menu, at first glance is seemingly simple with signature pizzas being it’s main attraction. However, Lett is in fact known for his impressive thin crust pizzas, even offering one topped with smoked mozzarella, confit tomato, jalapeño, arugula, lemon, and bottarga (a thinly shaved caviar fresh from the Florida Gulf). Ingredients like bottarga, and other fresh, unique flavors are used frequently in Lett’s kitchen. He even has a cold appetizer that consists of coal smoked leeks, burrata, vinaigrette, shaved chives and bottarga that is as enjoyable as it is unique in flavor.

Like all smart restauranteurs, Lett doesn’t forget the most important part of any enjoyable meal, the wine. The Gjelina wine list is a well balanced addition to the menu and the restaurant. Casual yet refined, unique, and cool cuisine is served at Gjelina, and we love the results. And we can’t forget Gjelina sister cafe and bakery Gjusta with their fresh baked breads, pickled items, and extended hours. The Gjelina empire is taking over in Venice Beach and we can’t wait to check out what’s next for Lett and his creative culinary works.