The salty swimmers finally get their due in SF's eateries
311 Divisadero, SF. (415) 255-1133. www.ragazzasf.com
There's locavore, 100-mile radius locavore, and there's ultra-loca, five-mile radius locavore. While most of the city's sardine-serving restaurants get their sardines from Monterey Bay, Nopa gets its from our very own San Francisco Bay. This is great news because our local sardines nearly went extinct in the 1950s. And — sardine cognoscenti consider the Pacific sardine as flavorful as those on the Sardinian coast (take that, overpriced cans from Norway). Speaking of flavorful, Nopa serves the little San Franciscans baked in its wood-fire oven with fingerling potatoes and frisee. The only thing missing is an order of flatbread, a gems salad, wine, and the burnt honey crème brulee.
560 Divisadero, SF. (415) 864-8643. www.nopasf.com
BARBACCO ENO TRATTORIA
You have to give Barbacco credit. Unlike most of the restaurants that have rediscovered the sardine, Barbacco doesn't seem to be operating on the principle that sardines are an after-5 p.m.-only food. Although not exactly in the let's-have-herrings-for-breakfast! camp, Barbacco at least believes that noon is a perfectly reasonable time to start the jonesing. The bustling, suits-heavy Financial District eatery is the creator of what may be the city's only sardine sandwich (if this isn't true, we'd like to know). Barbacco also breaks the don't-get-too-weird-with-sardines taboo, pairing its sardines with a hefty piece of seared calamari. Not most people's first choicem perhaps, but the two get along swimmingly, especially when served on an Acme torpedo roll and slathered with arugula and Barbacco's housemade "roasted tomatoe condimento."
220 California, SF. (415) 955-1919. www.barbaccosf.com