Picco 320 Magnolia Ave., (415) 924-0300. D daily; $$$+. Reservations advised.
Inside, this attractive restaurant offers a warren of dining spaces
as well as a bar;
outside, a row of sidewalk-side tables come with lap robes in case there is a chill.
The menu includes a risotto that is made fresh every half hour, burrata with heirloom tomatoes, kennebec fries, wok-roasted broccoli di ciccio, bucatini with prawns, house-made radiatore with beef & pork bolognese, and gnocchi with house-made fennel sausage.
Pizzeria Picco 316 Magnolia Ave./King St., (415) 945-8900. L Sat-Sun, D daily; $$. No reservations.
This tiny sister restaurant to Picco is located adjacent. Seating inside is at a counter overlooking a partial kitchen where you can watch pizzas enter and exit a hot wood-burning oven and see the final touches put on take-out orders aplenty.
A bank of sheltered outdoor tables is also available.
Though the menu does change seasonally, it is limited to salads—organic mixed green,
rocket man (made with arugula), baby lettuce with strawberries and feta, caesar—and exceptional thin-crust Neopolitan pizzas. In spite of the fact that his own NYC restaurants make a very good pizza, celebrity chef Mario Batali has declared it the best pizza in the U.S. I prefer red pizzas so am most fond of the margharita and pepperoni versions. The white yeti mushroom pizza is simple and good, but next time I will add on proscuitto.
Do save room for a dessert of Straus Dairy soft-serve ice cream in vanilla, chocolate, or swirl. You can select from toppings, but I think it would be hard to beat the caramel with a pinch of sea salt atop vanilla. Oh my!
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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers