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Che Fico Owners Bring the Old Country to New California

The Editors | August 23, 2019 | Food & Drink Restaurants Shopping

CheFico.jpgAlimentari guests can shop for products, as well as enjoy dishes such as the rigatoni amatriciana.

Che Fico’s winning formula has been bringing California flavors to Italy. But it seems co-owners and chefs David Nayfeld, Angela Pinkerton and Matt Brewer have decided on a reverse route for the restaurant’s new sibling, Che Fico Alimentari, which brings old Italy to California.

Located downstairs from Che Fico in NoPa, Alimentari (which means “food” in Italian) is more intimate and casual. The noise level is high in the long, narrow space, but it adds to the found-in-a-cobblestoned-Italian alleyway vibe this eatery exudes.

There is no pretension in these rustic dishes. bucatini cacio e pepe, spaghetti ragu alla Napoletana and rigatoni amatriciana are among the classic pasta dishes using Pastificio Gentile, an imported dried pasta from Italy. Secondi selections include braised short ribs with Tierra Vegetables polenta, horseradish, gremolata and nebbiolo jus; maialino al forno (suckling pig with roasted potato and English peas); and swordfish a la Siciliana with tomato, raisins, capers and walnuts.

Before digging in, try the housemade and imported salumi, or mozzarella, which comes with a variety of toppings, such as olive oil-cured anchovy, prosciutto di San Daniele, caviar or truffle. Surprisingly, the scene-stealer of the meal comes in an unassuming dish of fava beans. Prepared only with spare slivers of guanciale and spring onion, the hearty legume is destined to become an ingredient that Alimentari is known for mastering.

In addition to desserts, Pinkerton offers house-baked breads, including focaccia with whipped mascarpone and Ligurian olive oil. Italian wine is beloved here, as evidenced by its extensive bottle list (200 selections) curated by wine director Francesca Maniace. And because this is also a retail space, various housemade local and imported products, as well as wines, are available for purchase.

Forget Italy, we have Alimentari. 834 Divisadero St. (at Mcallister Street), 415.416.6980


Photography by: Che Fico Alimentari