The signature truffle butter crostini with anchovies and cocoa. All photos: © tablehopper.com (except where noted).
Prosciutto and jamón heaven.
White bean and prosciutto soup. Photo courtesy of Ryan Robles PR.
Buttery semolina gnocchi and pecorino.
An off-menu ‘nduja, stracciatella, and garlic confit pizza.
The latest version of the margherita with the new pizzaiolo.
Anyone who has enjoyed the fantastically deep list of Italian wines (crammed onto the legal-sized menu in its minuscule font) over the years at Noe Valley’s ~LA CICCIA~ will be pleased to run around in Massimiliano Conti and Lorella Degan’s second playground: ~LA NEBBIA~. It’s the perfect +1 to La Ciccia, just a half block away, a casual and unpretentious place you can swing by for pizza at the counter (ideal for solo diners) and a few glasses of something delicious, because it’s never just one glass here—which is why its name, “the fog,” makes perfect sense. You can also plan ahead and reserve a table for your posse (or your date)—an enoteca that takes reservations, fantastico.
The best part? You still feel the same cozy sweater-level of warm hospitality you get at La Ciccia. It’s why you will often find restaurant industry folks in here: good hospitality plus good wine have an undeniable pull. Massimo and Lorella are running in between both spots all the time, but you can spend more time with Massimo when he’s behind La Nebbia’s bar (and in the kitchen) on Sundays.
The menu is enoteca-casual, with approachable starters like burrata and grilled radicchio ($11), and sweet wild shrimp from the gulf with Umbrian beans ($13). When the baked eggplant and scamorza napoleon ($10) comes back on, get it. And then there’s the wild card snuck in there: crostini soaked with truffle butter, topped with a fillet of anchovy and shavings of…bitter cocoa ($10). Weird! And that’s where you can see the playfulness here. The flavors harmonize remarkably well together, one of those funky pairings that totally works, like the peanut butter and bacon burger at Yo Mama’s in New Orleans, and you don’t have to be three Sazeracs deep to enjoy it.
I see you, checking out that long list of cured meats on the menu. The selection of hams is bonkers. You can try prosciutto di San Daniele aged 18, 24, or 36 months (the last one’s sweet fat is a wondrous, magical thing), or maybe some glistening paleta de Ibérico Bellota Redondo Iglesias is what you’re in the mood for? You have 12 to choose from, and I say go for a flight ($14-22) so you can try three at a time before you start committing to single selections (which will come later in your prosciutto education and jamón obsession). The Ibérico de Bellota DO Marcos Salamanca is waiting for you, dark and marbled like a hot, buff Spaniard on the beach at Sitges (it’s also the caviar of the menu: $42).
And then there’s the bean and prosciutto soup ($10) they make with the leftover prosciutto bones—it’s cucina povera pulling from the top shelf because, hello, we’re talking about the best ham bones in existence. The lasagna ($14) with béchamel is classic and gorgeous—and it’s Massimo’s aunt’s recipe, so it’s solid gold. Then there’s the bubbling buttery bowl of semolina gnocchi ($11), loaded with pecorino. You will want all these dishes. You should have them.
The pizza recently got an upgrade—it was good before, but the new pizzaiolo (previously at Farina) has stepped things up with the dough (they’re using the same Caputo flour, but now they’re proofing the dough for 24 hours). The margherita ($13) is so bright with tomato, the crust that sexy balance of chewy and crispy you get from a hot deck oven. The version with mozzarella, soppressata, radicchio, and pecorino ($15) is Lorella’s favorite, typical from her family home of Verona. If you like it hawt, ask for some chile oil for that one. The squid ink pizza ($16) is a fun one, balanced with anchovies, uvetta (sweet, golden sultanas), and pine nuts. And then if you ask nicely, and if they have some ‘nduja in the house, you can request the Calabrese connection, an off-menu pie they made for me one night with ‘nduja, stracciatella, and garlic confit. Mamma mia.
The well-priced wine list is a beautiful thing. It’s primarily Italian, and full of small producers, but you’ll also find an alluring selection of Champagne (along with some well-priced sparklers). The number of wines by the glass is pretty dangerous, just over 30 in all, which is why I recommend pulling it on over at the counter and flipping your hazards on so you can have some tastes and find wines that will really speak to you, like the smoky Franciacorta Brut La Montina ($15/glass).
This is an ideal place to put yourself in their hands—there are skilled folks on the floor who will steer you to some killer pairings (the Lambrusco Emilia Rosso Labrusca from Lini Oreste is waiting for you to pick your prosciutto) and great deals like the Giorgio Cecchetto Raboso del Piave, which drinks like much more than its $43 bottle price, ditto the Ettore Germano nebbiolo brut rosé ($48). Sparkling gamay sound intriguing? Cool. Check out the Robert Serol Côte Roannaise Turbullent ($36). And lucky us, there’s always something new on the list to try.
Finish the night with some cheese—they source some good ones, and always have a little something that’s not on the menu. Try the three quenelles of fresh ricottina ($7) drizzled with honey and citrus zest, so simple but of course elevated to something sublime when they pull a final dessert wine from the fridge for you—again, something that’s not on the list. You didn’t think you were going outside in the fog without a final-final, did you?
This review was based on three visits.