A new Northern Italian restaurant that was initially only open for lunch this fall has debuted its full dinner menu, and early reviews are coming in.
There's a new spot for pasta and Northern Italian comfort food on Nob Hill, in a space formerly occupied by a Thai restaurant at 1400 California Street (at Hyde), and it's called Ciccino. They don't even have a website yet, but this is their Instagram — and don't confuse them with Piccino, the long-established pizza and Cal-Italian place in Dogpatch.
Tablehopper broke the news of the opening back in October, but the place started out just doing lunch and brunch a few days a week, as they waited for their liquor license to clear. Dinner service has now debuted, with a brief menu of a couple of fried starters (fritti), a couple of pastas, three skewers (spiedini), and several cold dishes like a halibut carpaccio and a lobster salad.
Chef GianMarco Cosmi, who cofounded the Italian Homemade Company in North Beach with his brother a few years ago, and who's been working in the kitchens of Acquerello and Rich Table the last couple years, told Tablehopper that he wanted to offer a menu that reflected the way people really eat where he comes from, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy.
The Chronicle's Soleil Ho saw fit to add Ciccino to a list of the "most exciting new restaurants" around the Bay, and Ho was especially enamored with Cosmi's ravioli carbonara, and passatelli — a traditional, rustic pasta consisting of just breadcrumbs, egg, and parmesan cheese. "The restaurant goes for a rustic vibe with specials stamped onto butcher paper and vintage black-and-white photos on the walls," Ho writes, adding that the homemade pasta "is the move here."
And, as of now, the place boasts a perfect five stars on Yelp based on a dozen reviews, which is kind of unheard of — if you're on Yelp it's like you're almost guaranteed to be tough customer to please.
There's an off-menu truffle pasta now — see the photo above. And there's fancy cold spaghetti served with caviar as well, for $55.
Also, there is homemade focaccia that shouldn't be missed.
As for the restaurant's name, it's a family nickname. Tablehopper explains that Cosmi's grandfather, back in their hometown, was nicknamed "magna ciccia" ("ciccio" is an affectionate term for fat in Italian), because of his love of steak sandwiches. Cosmi's father also became "ciccio," and his two sons GianMarco and Mattia were then called "ciccino" (little ciccio). Mattia is still still runing the Italian Homemade Co.
If you want to make sure you get in, it looks like you may have to call them on the old telephone at 415-260-4810. Otherwise, it's first-come, first-served from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday.