Flour + Water
Flour + Water has been around since 2009, but you’ll still be hard pressed to get a table here without a reservation. The pasta at this Italian-inspired restaurant, found in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, is really that good. But Italian isn’t the only influence on Executive Chef Thomas McNaughton; there are tastes of Northern California throughout the accomplished menu as well.
Open for dinner week-round, the fresh pasta here remains the draw. But don’t let the simplicity of the restaurant’s name fool you; McNaughton literally wrote a book on the subject. The man knows his pasta. The menu here changes daily, in accordance with what’s available, seasonal and inspiring. Diners can be treated to anything from juniper rigatoni served with whey-braised pork, fennel and butternut squash to farfalle with hen polpettini, braised kale and Persian lime. For a true taste of the chef’s magical touch with pasta, the pasta tasting menu is the only way to go.
If pizzas are your Italian dish of choice, Flour + Water won’t disappoint. Here, pizzas are Neapolitan-style and prepared in a wood-fired oven with toppings ranging from cauliflower to stracciatella. But they’ve truly mastered the margherita with San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, basil and extra virgin olive oil. It’s a thing of beauty.
For bigger plates (aka “Secondi”), diners can expect dishes like speck-wrapped rabbit with farro, winter squash, sultana and braised rabe, and slow-baked halibut with matsutake mushrooms, bagna cauda and escarole. Whatever your dish of choice, there’s not a dull mouthful to be found at Flour + Water. Balanced, flavourful and creative, no meal here is ever quite like another.