It’s that wonderful time of year when the well-trained dogs of Piedmont stick their noses in the dirt to uncover nature’s diamond: the white truffle. And right now, she's at her peak. Alas, these beauties are not cheap and enjoying them at one of SF's truffle hot spots is even-more-not-cheap (we’re looking at you Aquerello). We dug up (pun intended) several Bay Area locales where you can partake in some fresh-shaved tartufo lovin’ without breaking the bank. (And let's be real: While these options are relatively affordable, they are still not quite blue plate specials.)
BUILD Pizzeria Roma (Berkley) – Truffles and pizza! This gourmet build-your-own pizza joint offers not one but two ways to enjoy this dream combo. Their Quattro Formaggi pizza offers fresh and smoked mozzarella, burrata, pecorino di tartufo, two types of mushrooms, arugula and (wait for it…) freshly shaved white truffles—for under $30. Or, if you really must, you can have truffle shaved onto any pizza for an extra $15. 2286 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, 510-898-1839
Desco (Oakland) – While supplies last, chef Donato Scotti has created classic tartufo bianco dishes, a la carte. Think Raviolo all’Uovo, Tajerin and Risotto—for $60. No need to commit to a pricey, multi-course tasting menu when all you want is that one, sultry truffle-focused dish. 499 9th St. Oakland, 510-663-1000
SPQR (Pacific Heights) – While they offer white truffles every night, the best bang-for-your-buck preparation comes in their pasta tasting menu (offered Tuesday-Thursday). For $54 you get 5 courses of silky, delicious pasta—for an extra $30 you can add an extra course of pasta under a crown of freshly shaved alba truffles. 1911 Fillmore St. San Francisco, 415-771-7779
Poggio (Sausalito) – Variety’s the word here. During truffle season, chef Benjamin Balesteri’s nightly menu has about 15 dishes where one could add, for only $45, five grams of tartufo bianco, shaved tableside. The dishes range from antipasti to primi to pizza and never top $20 on their own. 777 Bridgeway, Sausalito, 415-332-7771
*Prices for truffles are based on current market price and are subject to change.