A16 Startles Me With Its Southern Italian Food & Wine
I was recently in San Francisco over the holidays and had a chance to dine at A16. I was up there with Farina Kingsley. After the lesson, I asked her where she might recommend we go for dinner. She said that A16 was one of her favorite restaurants in the City. They wrote , A16 Food & Wine, which was awarded Cookbook of the Year and First Book/The Julia Child Award at the prestigious 2009 . And Farina also taught one of the owners, Wine Director Shelley Lindgren, at Tante Marie Cooking School where Shelley earned her culinary certificate.
A16 brings Campania and Naples cuisine to SF’s Marina neighborhood. It reminds me very much of one of my absolute favorite restaurants in LA right now, Sotto, whose chefs focus on providing regionally-inspired Southern Italian dishes complete with wood-fired ovens from Naples.
We started off our A16 meal with an obviously very freshly prepared Burrata dish …
Next up, homemade pasta. I adored this squid ink tonnarelli with sea urchin. A16 gets their sea urchin from Mendocino and uses lots of garlic in this delectable treat.
Next up: DeathbedFood! A16 specializes in authentic Neapolitan pizza made in wood-burning ovens from Naples. The “Romana” pizza was definitely DeathbedFood with its tomato, oregano, garlic, anchovies, black olives and Calabrian chilies.
Apparently, I’m not alone in feeling that the Romana is DeathbedFood Pizza. Our server told us that one of their staffers has said they like it so much, that they should “put an egg on it” – an homage to Beyonce’s song saying to “put a ring on it”! I’ve got to love a restaurant who has such food-crazy staff …
Finally, the wine was definitely at the same incredible level as the food. We enjoyed a 2006 Mura from Sardinia which was recommended by one of their very knowledgeable sommeliers. He said that the wines from that region would be a great match with our food, particularly with the Romana Pizza, due to its inkier texture and vine rip tomato acidity. I have to agree – to me, the wine was a seamless yet impactful match to the food. A16 has an extensive, well thought out wine list with over 500 selections mostly from the Southern Italian regions, including Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Sardinia, and Sicily. Since I’m increasingly entranced by Italian wines, I’m a big fan of their list.
All total, I’m smitten with A16 for its Southern Italian food and wine. I can’t wait to get back to the Marina so I can try it again!