Without a doubt, one of the biggest openings last spring was Cal-Italian hot spot Che Fico.
When the Che Fico team expanded last winter, they opened Theorita, a casual diner and pastry shop with some of the best pies in town. Sadly after only a few months of opening, they closed due to issues with operating all day even though they had a devout following. Fast forward 5 months later, they’ve opened up Che Fico Alimentari (in the same spot as Theorita) and I was excited to try their more rustic Italian fare. The vibe of Che Fico Alimentari is cozy and warm and offers a retail store in the front where you can purchase Italian delicacies such as panettone.
Homemade pillowy warm focaccia was served with sweet Mascarpone cheese and fruity olive oil. Simple yet so satisfying and delicious.
Mozzarella di Bufala is traditionally from the Campania region in Italy but this is made nearby up in Petaluma. The balance of sweetness and acidity that buffalo milk has is unlike anything else and was especially delicious when paired with their homemade speck with slightly smoky flavors.
Supplì, a traditional Roman snack, is always a crowd pleaser. Crispy fried rice balls seasoned with tomato and stuffed with melted gooey cheese, what’s not to like? Their version was seasoned with dill which was unconventional yet it worked.
Thinly sliced veils of veal were laid out with a heaping pile of peppery arugula, nutty Parmigiano Reggiano shavings, and a drizzle of garlicky bagna cauda sauce. I would have liked even more bagna cauda as I love the intense punch it gives.
This was the weakest dish of the night as the grilled calamari was on the chewy side, not tender like I had envisioned. However, the flavors of the tomato, green garlic, peas, and fresh herbs were a great combination.
Cacio e pepe is one of my all time favorite Italian pasta dishes and typically it’s served with long thin pasta such as spaghetti or tonnarelli. I’ve never seen it with bucatini, a thicker long pasta with a hole in the middle, and I was a little hesitant if it would still work. However, it was freakin’ scrumptious! The noodles were beautifully coated in the Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper. While this dish may seem simple, it’s hard to master the art of emulsifying the sauce into a creamy concoction.
Meaty, hearty, and incredibly tender. These short ribs were bomb with a nice layer of fresh horseradish, herby gremolata, and a creamy polenta underneath. Definitely a hefty portion for SF standards.
A classic Italian favorite made more elegantly and I liked being able to see all the various layers.
This profiterole was light and had a nice crackling crust on top. Stuffed with silky gelato, lemon crema, and smothered in chocolate sauce, it’s hard not to want more.
I was pleasantly surprised with Che Fico Alimentari! The majority of the dishes I thoroughly enjoyed and it’s a great date night restaurant with approachable Italian dishes that will leave you wanting more. My overall rating is an 8/10.