Barbacco Restaurant San Francisco


Meeting new friends and experiencing exceptionally good food are among my favorite memories. Wherever I am, each fills my heart with tremendous joy. On a recent trip to San Francisco I had the great pleasure meeting LouAnn of Oyster Culture, who writes a fascinating blog focused on the integration of food history and culture, where she researches in-depth the root and evolution of certain foods. How deep? If you want to get an idea read her post on Chorizo You Strain My Brain, where she dissects no less than 30 different styles of chorizo.




On our last visit, Lou Ann suggested we visit Barbacco, an Italian restaurant. Barbacco is the sister restaurant to Perbacco, which was so successful that the founders opened the second restaurant right next door.  Based on the crowd at Barbacco, it wouldn't be a stretch to see another sibling born down the road. While this particular lunch was my first visit to Barbacco, over  subsequent days I returned several other times, once even bringing my boss. If actions speak louder than words, mine reveal that I can't get enough of this place.


Barbacco's success is built on the ability to take high quality ingredients and allow them to shine plainly and simply on the plate. Every component is exceptional from the soft crusty breads to the house-cured meats and farm fresh fruits and vegetables.


In addition to the broad menu selection, Barbacco also demonstrates its forward thinking integration of electronics and restaurant service with such amenities as featuring its wine list on an iPad. With quick brush of your fingers, guests can find out the history of the winery, winemaker's tasting notes as well as information on the regional characteristics. Moreover, searching and sorting through the list by whites vs reds, regions and varietal makes finding the right wine to fit your mood much easier than tracking down a live person for suggestions. I hope that many more restaurants adopt this trend.


There were several not-to-miss dishes on the menu, of particular note are the appetizers which offer an opportunity for the tasters of the world, those who want to experience a wide range of Mediterranean flavors and styles. One of the surprisingly delicious appetizers was the house cured local sardines topped with shredded radish and salsa verde ($3). The tender, delicate and vinegary fillets of sardines were reminiscent of pickled herring, and while I am not fond of herring, I thought this was a standout appetizer among some very good dishes.


Duck liver pate topped with preserved dark cherries and drizzled with a sweet balsamic vinegar is another exceptional dish.($3) The buttery and creamy pronounced duck liver flavors meld together and is gently cut through by the mild acidity of the aged balsamic vinegar.  On two separate occasions I split the appetizer, once with Lou Ann and a second time with my boss, each time thinking that it would be too decadent to handle myself. I can tell you that in the future it's not likely I will be sharing this appetizer again. I'm pretty sure that I can handle this one by myself next time. 


Grilled filone bread with fresh, creamy and buttery burrata cheese ($7), is another appetizer that is not to be missed. The simple, pure and rich cheese is wonderfully paired with blistered sweet cherry tomatoes and fresh tender basil leaves.  If you are not familiar with burrata, it isa fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is composed of solid mozzarella which envelops a combination of mozzarella and cream, providing an intriguing soft texture and pronounced buttery flavor. Simple and delicious.


If there is one reason to visit Barbarcco daily, it is to pick up one of its many satisfying sandwiches on the menu. On the day Lou Ann and I met we picked up the two most popular sandwiches on the menu: the Porchetta ($10) and the Muffeta ($8). The Porchetta is a beastly and prodigious sandwich with the bottom layer of bread soaked through with rich juices of the thick meaty slow roasted pork, which is blanketed with roasted sweet summer peaches, and fresh red onions.  While good in its sweet rustic style, the porchetta sandwich does challenge you to keep the juices from dribbling down your chin and arms, and to devour it before the bottom layer of bread disintegrates.


The Muffeta ($8) is a simple sandwich with the house cured ham neatly layered cheese over a delicious fresh baked soft white bread. In contrast to the Porchetta, the Muffeta is visually absent many of the bells and whistles, but surprisingly this was the sandwich that I preferred. High-quality ingredients presented and enjoyed very simply, which is a trend that I can embrace everyday.

Barbacco is a great place to meet friends for a variety of light appetizers and well-thought comprehensive wine list. Located in the heart of downtown San Francisco on California and Sansome, it makes for a convenient stop over at lunch. They have an excellent take-out menu for those on the run. However if you decide to enjoy a sit-down lunch, come early because the seats go fast.

65 comments:

Pam said...

Another great thing about SF! It all looks delicious! Great scenic view!

♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ said...

I will be there in September.. I hope I could squeeze a trip to Barbacco and get my hands on that Porchetta. I don't mind being messy, you got me on the rich juices part...YUM!

OysterCulture said...

Ah, that was such a fun day, the food was delicious but what really topped it off was meeting you. What a great time, and its too bad we had to cut short of lunchtime conversations by getting back to work.

I knew you had gone back to Barbacco at least one other time, I had no idea you went back several times. Isn't it great when you unearth a gem of a place.

I am so with you on not sharing the duck liver pate, I could so see myself whiling away a lovely afternoon sampling a wine and nibbling on those tasty treats. Butter is the perfect description, they were incredibly smooth and delicious!

So I see I have my work cut out for me, I have to come up with a place that tops Barbacco for you on your next visit. Hmm, better start my homework!

Lori said...

I just love LouAnn's posts. She teaches me so much and I was fortunate enough to meet her when I was in SF as well.

I'd have to go for that Porchetta sandwich. That looks so good! What a great place.

Kim said...

Sounds like a wonderful restaurant, especially you if you enjoyed it enough to take your boss there. Everything looks delicious so fresh and vibrant!

Julie M. said...

What a delicious restaurant, and based on your pictures, the views are just as delicious as the food! I peaked at your post below and saw David Lebowitz. I have to say I'm a bit jealous you were able to meet him.

You have a great blog here, I'm glad to have found you!

Lisa Stowe said...

Yet another place to add the list! Thanks, Christine!

Angie said...

Ahhh, these sandwiches look so delicious! and thanks for the link to Oyster Food Club; great info!

Belinda @zomppa said...

The sandwich does look great. Great restaurant recommendation.

Belinda @zomppa said...

The sandwich does look great. Great restaurant recommendation.

high low said...

Sounds like you had a great time! I've heard about Ipads used in winery tasting rooms too. It'll be interesting to see where else these gadgets will pop up!

lostpastremembered said...

I think one of my favorite trends is house-curing meats... the level of care that takes says alot about a place. Sounds like you enjoyed yourself mightily and
you gave a good read to boot!

♥peachkins♥ said...

That looks like a really great place!

Joanne said...

Note to self. Go to Barbacco the next time you are in SF.

Second note to self. Do not go there on a first date. No one wants to see you scarf down a porchetta in three seconds flat.

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

Barbacco sounds great! I'm putting it on my "list" (the restaurants I want to visit once the toddler gets a bit older and can be left with a babysitter for a few hours without too many problems...). :)

Mari said...

You're so lucky to find these places. The food looks awesome, especially the duck liver pate with cherries, very original and sound s interesting.

Have a great week!

Deeba PAB said...

What a well written and fun post, siblings and all. I enjoy the occasional tweet with Oyster Culture, and love the way you write about Lou Ann! This place looks so GOOD!

alison said...

delicious food,again!you found always only amazing places!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Not only does the food look fantastic, but the Ipad idea is SO cool!

Vicky @ eatlivespin said...

Sounds like you are having a great time. Your pictures made me hungry! Enjoy the rest of your trip.

Stella said...

Hey Christine,
Barbacco sounds very nice. I miss having eateries that serve real food that's grown properly as described above. A treat this would be in my present town.
Very nice review-I will remember Barbacco if I'm ever hungry in San Fransisco (smile)...

bunkycooks said...

Another delightful read. San Francisco is such a great fresh food town and it is so scenic. I need to get back out that way soon.

5 Star Foodie said...

Great meal! The Duck liver pate with cherries sounds especially wonderful!

zenchef said...

I really need to get myself to San Francisco. Never been there and i keep hearing about how wonderful the food is. This is a great example. I'm hungry now!

Sara said...

Wine list on an iPad! That's genius. I love it! I hope more restaurants start doing this too.

Pam said...

Always a joy coming to your blog Christine! Such great looking food and views! xo

Angie's Recipes said...

Sounds like a wonderful place to sit back and enjoy a culinary heaven.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Sounds wonderful. I would go there just for the view. How terrific that the food is great too, especially the pate.
Sam

Chubby Chinese Girl said...

wine list on iPad must be the new thing... I saw it at South Gate here in NYC... its pretty neat!...

hope ur enjoying ur trip! cheers to more happy eating! =)

Indie.Tea said...

What a delicious-looking place. I haven't been there, but I should rectify that soon, judging from your pictures.

Little Inbox said...

Hmm...simple but very fulfilling sandwiches. Love it too.

Table Talk said...

I sure do miss the beautiful views in San Francisco--Your shot of Coit Tower is just beautiful.
I can feel that chilly SF Bay breeze now~

Chow and Chatter said...

wow the food looks amazing and how cool to use the ipad for the wine list would love to meet her she also has cool tweets

sweetlife said...

oh I am super jealous, I LOVE LOVE Lou Ann her blog is one of my favs, glad you had a chance to spend some time together..I can imagine the conversations....

sweetlife

Diana Bauman said...

Christine, I'll have to check out Barbacco if I'm ever in SF again. The pricing looks great and the meals superb. Also, I'm super excited to check out Oyster Culture's post on chorizo, thanks for sharing that. Have a wonderful week :)

Emily said...

Barbacco sounds like a deliciously creative and innovative restaurant. I wish I lived near San Francisco so I could try it out for myself!

kat said...

The iPad wine list is a great idea & probably much easier for them to update.

TKW said...

Argh! Are you back in San Fran again? Green with envy--especially after seeing that sandwich.

Juliana said...

Oh! San Francisco...haven't been there like forever...the pictures of the food look so good....it is a torture to look at them when lunch time is almost here :-)

tasteofbeirut said...

San Fransisco is a magical city and I have never been to that place but will keep it in mind on my next visit!

nancy at good food matters said...

I am not familiar with Barbacco, so I am happy to learn about it through your eyes. Actually, those sandwiches were as appealing as anything else to me (although, burrata is so luxurious)

the art of a good sandwich is sometimes overlooked, the Muffeta appears to have perfect balance of all the elements.

Cooking Gallery said...

Wow, what a delicious spread you've got there! I especially like picture no.1!

Bridgett said...

One more great thing to love about The City. Your photos are always stellar.

redmenace said...

I grew up in SF, but I've never been there. Looks so amazing. That ham? Oh my!

Claudia said...

Oh be still my heart. I love my appetizers and want to try them all - and the prices make it possible. The sandwiches are substantial and a perfect melding of many flavors. Making me wish I vacationed in San Fran.

Anonymous said...

Yum...makes me want to visit the Bay Area soon!

Samantha @ The Savvy Soybean said...

I've always wanted to visit San Fran. That food looks amazing.. great pictures!!

Magic of Spice said...

The food looks fantastic, and the pricing is quite friendly...Lovely post and wonderful photos. Will check out your friends site too :)

MaryMoh said...

Beautiful place, beautiful scenery and beautiful food! I would love such a place.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Everything looks lovely, but that duck liver pate is really a thing of beauty. I'd love to visit san francisco one day.
*kisses* HH

Mimi said...

As always you make me feel as if I were sitting at the table with you.
Mimi

~Lisa~ said...

I just love your reviews and photos! The food looks amazing and I bet it was a fantastic time.

A Canadian Foodie said...

You really have a great talent when reviewing restaurants, Christine. I love reading your reviews.
:)
Valerie

Fimère said...

ce restaurant à l'air parfait avec de encore un endroit ou trouver son bonheur culinaire
bonne journée

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Looks *SO* good! And I love that electronic menu - so cool. Adding this the the list for next time in SF...

G. said...

all of the years of living in sf and i never made it to barbacco. from this post, now it is a must! thank u!

Erica said...

Sounds great!!!! I would love to visit barbacco.

Megan said...

Looks so fresh, I'll have to remember this place for my next SF trip! Thanks for the recommendation!

Megan said...

Great review! The duck liver pate with cherries sounds phenomenal. And I really love that the restaurant features a wine list on an iPad - definitely very forward-thinking. We're planning a trip to SF next year, so maybe I'll get a chance to stop in here.

Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog said...

iPad in restaurants, this high tech ones - no doubt that you've had wonderful foodie-meetings with Lou!
Need an invitation next time to visit there ;)

All the best,

Gera

Ingrid De Villiers said...

What a lovely post with delicious foods! I love your photography!
Ixx

momgateway said...

Wish I lived close to where all the action and great food are!

theUngourmet said...

What a wonderful place. Those sandwiches look fantastic! I love the bread they are served on too!

Alison said...

These look great and I am glad that I found your site!

The Duo Dishes said...

Beautiful looking food for very low prices. Shocking how affordable it is. You'd think it'd cost more. So on the list for the Nov trip to San Francisco.