I’ve been to SPQR once way back, just over ten years ago. That first meal was a bit unmemorable, which is a large reason why it’s been so long since I’ve returned. Since then, the restaurant has consistently received a Michelin star (since 2012) and has converted to a tasting menu-only setup. While a la carte is no longer available, there are multiple options for almost each course and the $92 price tag (5ish courses) is pretty reasonable for a Michelin-starred spot in San Francisco.
Penny Roma has been one of the more popular new restaurants in San Francisco. Opened in October of 2021, the restaurant is a more casual offshoot of the ever-popular Flour & Water. The restaurant replaces Central Kitchen in the Inner Mission complex that also houses Flour & Water Pasta Shop, Trick Dog, and Sightglass Coffee.
As expected, the menu is pasta-centric but is rounded out by a selection of antipasti and protein-dense main courses. A tasting menu at a reasonable $70 price point is also available but we went a la carte.
To this day, my memory of Flour + Water is that it was one of the most memorable pasta meals in my life. That last meal was almost a dozen years ago and I finally got a chance to return. The restaurant had just undergone an extension renovation and reopened earlier this year, making this a perfect time to go.
During a quick trip to Portland, we had one free evening to try one of the city’s many restaurants. After browsing options, I chose this Italian restaurant in downtown Portland. Reviews were very favorable across all platforms, especially touting the house-made pastas, which was enough to sell me on this spot.
Carnevino has been a steakhouse favorite in Las Vegas since opening over ten years ago. Along with Bazaar Meat, I’ve regarded these two steakhouses as some of the best I’ve been to. This was my third visit to the restaurant, and second for my parents.
Subsequent to this meal, it was announced that Carnevino (and Batali & Bastianich’s two other restaurants in Las Vegas) would be closing at the end of July. While the restaurant tried to distance itself from Mario Batali, it couldn’t escape the fact that he was one its primary co-creators/co-owners. As such, this ended up likely being my last meal here.
Masso Osteria is the latest in a string of restaurants Scott Conant has been opening across the country. Famous for his Food Network appearances and Scarpetta restaurants, Conant opened this restaurant in February of this year at the Red Rock Casino.
The food at Masso Osteria has a lot of Conant’s signature dishes made famous at Scarpetta including his spaghetti, polenta, and tuna crudo. Our party of three ordered the spaghetti along with a few other dishes.
Felix has been one of the most popular restaurants in the city since opening almost a year ago. Here, Evan Funke (Rustic Canyon, Bucato) is getting a lot of attention for his pasta program which is regarded as one of the best in the city. The pasta making room is showcased with a direct view from the dining room, where diners can see the exacting precision and attention to detail that goes into each and every bite.
Cosa Buona is one of the most talked about restaurants openings in LA this summer. The restaurant is from Zach Pollack, who first opened Sotto with co-chef Steve Samson then opened Alimento. Cosa Buona is the most casual and simple of his restaurants so far, meant to be a neighborhood pizza joint. In fact, the restaurant replaces a similarly-named pizza joint (Pizza Buona) which had been at this location for over 50 years.