San Francisco, CA
(Pacific Heights/Fillmore District: Between Bush & Pine St.)
SPQR is the Latin acronym for Senatus Populusque Romanus ("The Senate and People of Rome"). The restaurant is tucked in the Fillmore District and occupies a quaint and small space. You can't take reservations, so come early and put your name down. Then, shop at the nearby stores while you wait. (We came around 6pm and had to wait 45 minutes. By 8:00pm, the wait was almost 2 hours).
SPQR features comfort food-style plates, specializing in Roman Italian cuisine. They offer 3 antipasti for $21 or 1 for $8 each. But we ordered 2 antipasti dishes, saving our appetite for the mains. Like their sister restaurant A16, SPQR uses organic and seasonal ingredients. While we were lunching at A16, the waitress informed us that the pasta at SPQR is FRESHLY DRIED PASTA. Yes, I meant what I just typed and it seems as though it is an oxymoron. Every night they make the pasta for the next day, using a process that makes the pasta like play-doh. Hence, the FRESHLY DRIED PASTA. Potatoes with pancetta, fried chiles and pecorino (8)
This is one of the BEST dishes I've ever had. It was just so simple yet amazingly tasty! I just could not get enough of these perfectly roasted potatoes that had a hint of lemon juice, which was the hook that drew me into this dish. The pancetta and pecorino also added flavor to the potatoes. However, the chiles were pretty mild as I couldn't taste any spiciness really. Nonetheless, I continuously commented at how wonderfully delicious this dish was - even til the last bite, even til the end of the meal.
House-made pork sausage with braised fennel (8) In all honesty, for some reason, I can't really remember much about this dish. I do remember it being a good dish but not outstanding. I remembered that I liked it better than the fried meatball dish. I have to start taking notes when I go out to eat...