Broad Appeal

A neighborhood café goes big-time

We don't believe that bigger is always better. But in the case of Piccino's new Dogpatch digs, size matters.

The pizzeria moved only one block down, but the new restaurant space–a former horse stable–was rebuilt from the ground up. With its rough-hewn wood floors, high ceilings with exposed beams, and oversize windows letting in ample sunlight, the space has a vaguely Scandinavian feel (you know, before "Scandinavian" became synonymous with IKEA).

It may be one of the most attractive spots in town, but the expanded menu ensures that Piccino is more than just a pretty face. Yes, there are pizzas, from the classic salsiccia ($13) to a spring combination of mozzarella, borage pesto and fresh peas ($18).

The dishes that pad the menu are equally compelling: a wedge of ripe Robiola cheese served with artichoke ragout ($8); pork and beef polpette in fresh tomato sauce ($12), and disks of cheesy semolina gnocchi in Parmesan brodo ($13).

Piccino is still a neighborhood café at heart, with all-day hours and an attached coffee shop. But in its new location, it has been charmingly reborn as a grown-up restaurant.

Piccino, 1001 Minnesota St. (at 22nd St.); 415-824-4224 or piccinocafe.com