Second Coming

Locanda, out from the shadow of Delfina

That the house-made pastas at Locanda are very good will come as no surprise to anyone who has eaten at Locanda's big sister, Delfina. But this new Roman-style restaurant is not trying to be a knockoff.

And though the bucatini all'Amatriciana ($15) may inspire the same loyalty as Delfina's spaghetti with plum tomatoes, Locanda has its own identity.

That identity is best expressed at the bar, where Michael Sager, an alum of Milk & Honey London, presides over a polite list of cocktails, including the Nonna del Diavolo, a mix of rye, Strega, ginger, lime and seltzer ($10).

You can order the full menu here, including fried lamb's brains and artichokes ($12/$21) and grilled halibut collar ($19). But we especially love the panoply of bar snacks–salt-and-pepper shrimp ($11); hulking, braised oxtails alla vaccinara ($21); peppery taralli crackers ($5) and, best of all, the coppiette, or pork jerky ($1.75 per piece). The meat is marinated in Campari, Peroni and lime juice, then dusted with fennel pollen and chili flakes and smoked over oak wood.

This is gutsy food meant for eating with gusto, which the Italians are very good at. And when in Rome–or a Roman restaurant in San Francisco–you know what to do.

Locanda, 557 Valencia St.; 415-863-6800 or locandasf.com