San Francisco restaurant Delfina underwent a major revamp

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the inside of Delfina has remained desolate. Once a crown jewel of the Mission’s dining scene, the Italian-inspired restaurant with California influences is ready to make its return with a brand new interior, a full bar and an updated menu. The acclaimed restaurant is scheduled to reopen Oct. 26 at 5:30 p.m.

After shutting Delfina down nearly three years ago, and closing sister restaurant Locanda permanently, co-owners Annie and Craig Stoll merged the interiors of Delfina and its neighbor Pizzeria Delfina at 3621 18th St. to make the new iteration of Delfina larger and more unique. 

An extensive floor-to-ceiling renovation will make the inside look completely different. A bronze, half-shell roof in one dining room blends with the reddish wood that lines the floor and brown leather in the booths. Orb lamps descend from the ceiling like droplets of rain, glistening from the natural light provided by the small skylight and large windows behind the bar.

Pizzeria Delfina was turned into a second dining room at the revamped Delfina, located at 3621 18th St.

Albert Law

The Stolls are happy they could revamp and stay in the Mission, Annie said.

“Delfina was born in the Mission and belongs in the Mission,” said Annie Stoll in an email to SFGATE.

The Mission restaurant scene wasn’t always a world-renowned dining destination like it is today. When the Stolls were looking to open their first restaurant, in 1998, their friends thought they were crazy to open in the Mission, Annie said. Delfina, with its Northern Italian cuisine that drew inspiration from Craig’s trips to Tuscany, helped put the Mission on the map, and new restaurants and bars began to open in the area at the same time. 

While Delfina has received many accolades over the years, including a James Beard Award, the ethos of the restaurant is to stay simple yet great. 

Among the new features at the restaurant is a bar, helmed by Colin Gallagher, that will serve cocktails, as well as beer and wine. The Late Summer Spritz includes tequila, lemon, cucumber and mint in a glass filled with ice.

Paccheri Al Amalfitana, a new pasta dish at Delfina.

Paccheri Al Amalfitana, a new pasta dish at Delfina.

Albert Law

New menu items include a house-made focaccia, which Annie called pane alla palla in her email, that has been in development for months with the help of bread expert Michael Kalanty, who has published books about the art of baking bread.

The goal of the new Delfina will remain the same, according to Annie. 

“The sum total of our aspirations back in 1998 was to be a neighbor restaurant and a family business,” she said. “To this day, that is still our focus.”

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