Exclusive: Roma Antica Opening in the Marina, with Housemade Pasta, Pinsa, and More

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Roma Antica, opening in the Marina, has an airy and contemporary look. All photos: © tablehopper.com.

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The marble back bar with seating for eight.

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Looking into the main dining room from the front windows.

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Roma Antica features unique lighting fixtures from Venice, Italy.

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Roma Antica’s business partners, Dogukan Solmaz and Roberto Sbaraglia.

Coming to the Marina is ~ROMA ANTICA~, an authentic and casual Italian restaurant that will be focused on serving Roman pasta (handmade) and pinsa, making it the second location in the city to serve this ancient Roman style of pizza. (Montesacro was the first to bring it to the U.S. There is also a new pinseria in Brooklyn that just opened, PinsaLab.)

The partners are Dogukan Solmaz (most recently the GM at Trattoria da Vittorio) and Roberto Sbaraglia, a Roman whose father has owned a restaurant in Rome, Antica, for the past 30 years (although Roberto’s passion is for cocktails, and he worked as a bartender at a beach bar in Fiumicino). The two met at hospitality school in Rome in 2005 and have been looking for a place in San Francisco for the past three years.

Their chef is Davide Cogliati, who has worked in SF for eight years (at Acquerello, Amarena, and doing some catering), and he visited with Roberto’s father, Marco Sbaraglia, in Rome to learn Antica’s recipes, but Davide is originally from Milan, so there will also be risotto on the menu, oh you know it. Papa will also be making trips out to SF to check on things, as well as a cook from Antica who will come visit when it’s time for the menu to refresh.

They are taking over the former Kobani Mediterranean Grill (previously Cedar Hill) and are going to be open all day. They will even be serving weekend brunch, when they’ll include some American brunch items, like pancakes and waffles, to go along with breakfast pinsa and frittata (and bottomless mimosas, because you kind of have to in the Marina).

The main menu will include a variety of bruschette, soup of the day, salads like panzanella and octopus salad (plus a kale Caesar salad, sure to please the neighborhood), along with calamari (on skewers, sautéed, or fried), stuffed olives (ascolane), burrata, and classics like supplì and porchetta. It also wouldn’t be a Roman menu without stuffed artichokes (when in season)—since they’ll be working with local markets, the menu will reflect what’s in season.

There will be a dough room in the far back, where they will be making handmade pasta. Expect classic Roman preparations of carbonara, cacio e pepe, bucatini all’amatriciana, pappardelle alla coda alla vaccinara, gnocchi, lasagna, and some lesser-known shapes like fiocchetti (little bundles), plus rigatoni boscaiola (“woodsman style,” which usually involves mushrooms and truffles), and seafood pasta. Once the menu is established, look for specials from other regions to appear,

The Mugnaini pizza oven they have is a wood-fired hybrid (with gas) and will be primarily used for cooking dishes like porchetta and specials like eggplant parmigiana. There will be four kinds of pinsa to start (burrata, pork, sausage, and vegetarian), and the dough will be made from soy, rice, and wheat, which is why it’s a lighter style of dough and easier to digest. The crust will be thick and crisp and around an 8-inch size—the price will be $14.

The wine list is being assembled by Berkeley sommelier Zoti Toprak, who will be assembling selections from Italy (of course), France, and some California wines as well. There will be 10 whites, with 5 sparkling and rosés, and 15 reds—wines by the glass will range from $9-$14. Sbaraglia will also be offering some low-ABV cocktails, like spritzes and vermouths.

The space looks great, with windows that open onto the street with some outdoor seating (heat lamps will be coming soon). The space features tiled floors from Italy, a Mediterranean blue banquette, and modern light fixtures from Venice. The custom tables are live edge redwood, and there’s a wall of reclaimed wood. The eight-seat bar in the back is made from Calacatta marble, and the back wall features Italian bricks that are more than 100 years old—they are going to show old Italian movies on it. The entire look is contemporary, welcoming, and has a nice feeling with all the natural materials and color tones. It would work for a casual date or dinner with the family, it’s that kind of place.

They are going to be open all day this Saturday July 29th for a neighborhood welcoming party, serving spuntini and bubbles, and then will be soft opening on August 1st with an abridged menu focused on the Roman classics. Look for an expanded menu on the grand opening on Tuesday August 15th. I’ll keep you posted on the official opening. Hours will be Mon-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am, and Sun 10am-9pm. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut.