Many of you got a taste of the dishes at Donato Scotti’s CENTO OSTERIA at the tablehopper preview party a couple of weeks ago (thanks for comin!), and now everyone can head over since it’s officially open, right on the Embarcadero. It’s a handsome and spacious room, with enough seats for 110 diners and barflies (if amazing barman Casey Carr is bartending, that’s where you’ll find me!).
The casual but crafted menu spans all the regions of Italy, with dishes from Sicily to the Veneto. You’ll find plenty of antipasti (including unique ones like house-cured beef with Castroville artichoke and Parmigiano), housemade pasta (including raviolo norma with eggplant, almond pesto, garlic, spring onion, ricotta salata), fantastic pizzas from the wood-fired oven, and larger dishes like roast chicken. (Take a look at my Table Talk post on KQED Bay Area Bites for more and some pics too!)
There’s an extensive wine list featuring small-production Italian wineries, plus a house cocktail list (with plenty of amari!). And there’s a nice outdoor patio with room for 30, which is where you’ll want to hang out when Cento Osteria launches predinner apericena, starting this Wednesday May 16th (they’ll open at 3pm). Open daily for dinner Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm, Sun 5pm-9:30pm. Lunch and brunch are coming next. 100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero, 415-543-1000.
Last week, I was lucky to get a preview of the newly open STONEMILL MATCHA on Valencia, and it’s quite the charmer. It’s the flagship from a Japanese founder—Eijiro Tsukada—with a focus on quality matcha, so it’s your chance to try the really good stuff, and not what’s usually ending up in those iced matcha lattes you’re seeing all over town. I was a little sad to think that the iconic Bar Tartine space they moved into was no longer, but what can you do, time marches on. And they created a truly tranquil space, well, except for the crowds of people crushing the place right now. I love how they worked out a partnership with Tartine Manufactory, a classy homage to the DNA of the space, creating amazing treats like a matcha croissant and an everything croissant topped with furikake and cream cheese inside.
Pastry chef Mikiko Yui (State Bird Provisions, Coi) has created a lineup of pastries and desserts that is full-throttle delicious, from one of the best chocolate tarts I’ve ever had with feuilletine and sesame, to inventive cream puffs with two kinds of dough (and you can choose matcha cream or black sesame). Her matcha matcha mochi and the “matcharelli” cookies (inspired by Italian ricciarelli) are both studies in fantastic texture and flavor. The lineup is truly fine—it’s like having a dreamy Cal-Japanese pastry shop inside a café.
There’s a savory menu from chef Keisuke Akabori, with a fantastic rice porridge I am so coming back for soon (it’s the perfect all-day kind of dish), a katsu sandwich, and more. Take a peek at more pics (and details) in my Table Talk post!
The list of matcha beverages is extensive, featuring high-quality, stone-ground matcha from Kyoto (the birthplace of Japanese matcha). There are sparkling matcha drinks with yuzu or mint, a matcha latte with ginger, and you can enjoy hand-whisked matcha from the Slow Bar. They are dealing with a crush of humanity right now, so maybe plan a midweek visit if you can while they ramp up! Open daily 8am-6pm. 561 Valencia St. at 18th St.
The handsome interior of Cento Osteria. Photo: Nadia Andreini.