Palio SF: 30 Years of Italian Food in San Francisco

What’s up, y’all! If you’ve been in San Francisco for an extended period of time, chances are you’ve heard of the awesome Palio SF. They’ve been a straight up institution in the city for 30 years and their food speaks for itself. It’s been family owned and operated since the start and you feel just like part of the family as soon as you step in the front door. Seriously. Their staff is some of the most friendly, helpful, and accommodating people we’ve ever dealt with, and you can tell that the kindness is ingrained in their culture. They actually renovated the restaurant in late 2018 to give it a more modern vibe while still maintaining the class and sophistication that’s been a hallmark of the restaurant since they opened their doors in 1990.

We had the chance to try some of their menu and are here to share a few of our favorite dishes! They even invited us “backstage” so we could watch their expert chefs at work preparing two of them, so check that out below:

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Pizza Capricciosa

One of my new go-to’s from Palio SF is the Pizza Capricciosa! It’s made with San Marzana tomato sauce, proscuitto cotto, artichokes, black olives, and capers, which all compliment each other in the best ways. We’re aware that some people aren’t a fan of olives, and in that case this one might not be for you, but even then, we encourage you to give it a try because the way these flavors all fit together as a whole might just change your outlook on them. My only comment – which would probably make this dish super inauthentic, so to all the traditionalists, I apologize – would be that I wish there was more cheese. Mozzarella is one of the best creations in the world and I can literally never get enough of it!

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Palio SF Capricciosa Pizza

Tonnarelli Carbonara

The Tonnarelli Carbonara at Palio SF was definitely my favorite dish of the night, especially after watching the chef make it! It’s prepared with square-cut spaghetti, guiancale, pecorino romano, black pepper, and a farm fresh egg cracked over the top and mixed in with the noodles. The egg gives a thickness to everything and really ties the whole dish together. If you like carbonara, or if you like pasta and are looking to try something new, this one is definitely worth a try and has become a go-to whenever we visit!

Palio SF Tonnarelli Carbonara


This is one of our favorite Italian desserts in general, and the one from Palio SF definitely does not disappoint! It’s perfectly crispy on the outside with a sweet, creamy filling, and chocolate chips on one end and crushed pistachios on the other. Highly recommend it!

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Palio SF Cannoli

There’s a reason Palio SF has been around for as long as it has in a city with extremely high turnover for restaurants – they combine top quality food with outstanding service that makes you feel like you’re part of the family. The original owner, Martino DiGrande, is quoted on their website as saying, “I throw a dinner party every night, and everyone is invited,” and this culture is echoed among everyone in the business. Check them out and let us know what you think! Till next time, Nomsters!

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