I love the Italian-American culture in San Francisco.  There’s something very real, very proudly Italiano about this city’s Italian faction.  There’s no better place to experience the old-school than at Kuleto’s– a veritable institution to Italian immigrants, homemade salumi and Vino Italiano.

I sat at the bar with a kitchen view and watched the expert frenetic movements of Kuleto’s grill masters, and I highly recommend these seats.  Upon inspection of the wine list, I was super impressed.  Clearly wine director Ron Siragusa has a passion for geeky Italian wine.  He had a lovely, hard-to-find bottle of Chambave Muscat from  La Crotta di Vegneron in Vallée d’ Aoste at under $50/ bottle.  The list is extensive, running the gamut from Piemonte to Sicilia.

Instead of wine, I opted for a classic Italian cocktail- the Negroni.  At Kuleto’s  this cocktail is perfumed by the use of Hendrick’s gin.  I really loved the play between the bitter Campari and the super-aromatic spirit.

We sampled the house-made head cheese, a gelatinous delight dotted with carrots and herbs, and full of delectable pork meat.  Delicious with the accompanied frisée, dressed simply with citrus and sea salt.

Another stellar item was the Little Gem Bibb Lettuce Salad.  This was one of the most visually stunning salads I have ever seen- perfectly crisp garden vegetables layered painstakingly in a rainbow of colors.  A pleasure to admire, and just plain delicious.


In the end Kuleto’s does not disappoint, with it’s charming dark wooden bar, open kitchen and gleeful, perky energy, this is a place to celebrate.  The wine list is exciting and fresh, while the food is solidly comforting: Italian-American in all the best ways.

How better to celebrate the Italian culture in America than with a Negroni and  bit of head cheese?

About The Author

I love all things Italian: the beautiful country of Italia, the Italians themselves, the language, the food… and above all, I love Italian wine. The people I meet in my charmed life are fascinating, the wines are extraordinary. I needed a special place like this to write about them, and to remember them.

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6 Responses

  1. John Bonfiglio

    I just had lunch there last week! I love their flatbread with roasted garlic for an appetizer. Great minds travel the same path!

  2. Come Due Maiali

    That’s a pretty sweet gig you have got there – travelling and eating and drinking up and down the coast all the time! I have several friends in SF, so that might be a better place for us to get together…


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