8/20/2012 12:00:00 PM

Opening Alert: Farina Pizzeria and Cucina Italiana

The drop ceiling of Farina Pizzeria sports images of the popular Italian comic Diabolik
With all the closely guarded info and hype surrounding the opening of Farina Pizzeria, the two-year-in-the-making Neapolitan pizza spinoff from nearby Farina, you’d think we were all waiting for the Pope to arrive. In truth, the hotly anticipated newcomer has been in soft-opening mode for about a week now, breaking in its newly imported pizza oven and filling its white leather stools with curious neighbors eager to take it for a spin. And while the restaurant won’t be unveiling its full menu and service hours right away, the official opening is tonight.

The heart and soul of the operation is Neapolitan pizza cooked in about 35 seconds by a third-generation pizzaiolo from Napoli. The pies are baked in a massive black-tiled oven that was built over layered of Mount Vesuvius sand and Mediterranean sea, but the kitchen under the direction of Farina chef Pablo Laboa will also be plying Missionites with handmade pastas, grilled meats and other midpriced authentic Neapolitan cucina. The sleek 43-seat storefront is outfitted with white-leather stools, marble bar and a drop ceiling lined with tiles imprinted with colorful graphics from Diabolik, a popular 1960s Italia comic strip. (You can see a few Diabolik images at the Farina mothership as well). Eventually, they'll also be heated sidewalk seating for 30 to complete the La Dolce Vita vibe.

The master plan is for Farina Pizzeria to be open continuously for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a separate takeout entrance for picking up a cappuccino and Italian dolci in the morning (courtesy of the restaurant's new pastry chef from Bologna), but to start, the restaurant is only open nightly from 5-10 PM (eventually it'll serve until 2 AM), plus lunch service on Saturday and Sundays while the kitchen gets its footing. Morning coffee and Italian-style breakfast service isn’t expected to kick in until sometime in September. The opening menu keeps shifting (think fried and marinated antipasti, dried pastas, verdura, pizza and eventually farinata, a traditional Genovese unleavened pancake made from chickpea flour), so keep checking back here for the final version. Better yet, just head there yourself - it’s a walk-in only affair.

Farina Pizzeria and Cucina Italiana: 700 Valencia St at 18th St, 415-565-1900


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