UPDATE: Opening Wednesday January 27th for dinner!
Earlier this year we wrote about FIORELLA, the neighborhood Italian restaurant, pizzeria, and enoteca coming to the Outer Richmond. To recap, Boris Nemchenok (of Lower Haight’s Uva Enoteca) is partnering with chef-partner Brandon Gillis (formerly Franny’s in Brooklyn and Bark Hot Dogs in Brooklyn and Manhattan). Fun fact: Nemchenok actually grew up in the Richmond just a few blocks away.
The opening menu includes antipasti like vegetables with hard-boiled egg and anchovy dressing, and pan-fried caciocavallo cheese with salsa verde, plus supplì al telefono, a variety of bruschette (chicken liver alla Toscana, and house-cured anchovies with mozzarella di bufala and butter), and Venetian polpette (meatballs) with lemon, vino bianco, and parsley. Pastas include linguine con vongole (clams) and pasta al ceppo with meat ragù (pasta al ceppo is a rolled pasta that looks like a cinnamon stick). Some secondi will also be featured, TBD for now.
As for the pizza, it’s a hybrid Bay Area style. Since their wood-fired Toscana brick oven (by Forni Valoriani) cooks pizzas in 2-1/2 to 3 minutes (instead of the usual 90 seconds for most Neapolitan pizzas), it’s going to have a crisper crust (Oakland’s Pizzaiolo and Boot & Shoe have the same oven). The menu includes a white pie (with ricotta, fior di latte, red onion, and oregano), of course a margherita, a New Haven pie (tomato, Parmigiano, olio nuovo), sausage and onion, clams and chiles, a spicy salami pie with caciocavallo, and The Alamo, with tomato, mushroom, rosemary, cream, garlic, and provolone picante (this pie was inspired by ingredients grown in the Alamo Elementary student garden—the kids will vote on their favorite, and if you order it, 10 percent of proceeds will go to the arts program).
Nemchenok knows his way around a wine list—look for Italian producers, along with domestic producers growing Italian varieties, plus an all-SF beer list.
The 40-seat restaurant has 8 seats at the bar and a communal table in the front window with room for 10. The interior has some fun details (by designer Melinda Turner), including white hex tile, dark woods, chic spherical lighting, and wait until you get a look at the Bay Area icons wallpaper, featuring Alice Waters, Angela Davis, E-40, Joe Montana, and Dennis Richmond of KTVU Channel 2 (LOL); it’s by Bay Area artist Matt Ritchie (via Flavor Paper)
Coming down the road will be weekend brunch, espresso drinks to go, and there’s a back garden that will have outdoor seating when the weather warms up. And they take reservations! It will be open nightly 5pm-10pm.
Fiorella’s Toscana oven by Forni Valoriani, built in Reggello, Italy. Photo by Jen Siska.