Enter this reclaimed auto-body shop along the Divisadero corridor with its large bar, salumi aging room, wood tables and a white-tiled open kitchen, and an Italian might exclaim, che fico! (Italian slang for “so cool”). Refined and rustic marry at this ambitious Cal-Ital tavern, run by Matt Brewer (formerly of L20 and Hogsalt Hospitality in Chicago) and David Nayfeld (of NYC’s Eleven Madison Park). Moving west has clearly inspired the team: Ingredients are uber fresh and seasonal, and Nayfeld’s take on Judeo-Italian cuisine (chicken heart and gizzards salad; chopped grilled duck liver) have full yet delicate flavors. Francesca Maniace’s agile wine list syncs perfectly with the menu and vibe, highlighting personal expressions of indigenous grapes like Montenidoli’s lees-aged Vernaccia Fiore or the Giornata Luna Matta Nebbiolo from Paso Robles.
photo by Douglas Friedman