ALL HAIL PIZZERIA DELFINA ... San Francisco's beloved Pizzeria Delfina will be opening its Palo Alto doors this Sunday, April 13, in the former Empire Tap Room space at 651 Emerson St. The first week or so will be lunch only, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu changes daily, but expect to see antipasti like fresh-stretched mozzarella and Belfiore buratta with arugula, crostini and olive oil; Monterrey Bay sardines; veggies like spicy cauliflower with garlic, capers, breadcrumbs and Calabrian chiles; fried spring onions with aioli. The pies are the same as the pizza empire's other three locations (two pizzerias in San Francisco and one in Burlingame) — fans might recognize the panna (tomato sauce, cream, basil and shaved parmigiano) or the salsiccia (housemade fennel sausage, tomato, bell peppers, onions and mozzarella). Other dishes include meatballs, mussels and pastas. Dessert comes in the form of housemade gelato, either by itself, as an affogato, in a cone, sandwiched between brioche buns or in an amarena cherry sundae. The company's head bartender, Alex Phillips, has put together a craft cocktail menu with about seven drinks, mostly variations on Italian standards, such as the Negroni (gin, vermouth and bitters, traditionally Campari). The wine list offers about 25 to 30 options with both Italian and California wines, an expansion from other Delfina locations. Owner Craig Stoll said everything — the food, wine, cocktails — is based on the Delfina vision: recreating Italy through the refractory lens of the Bay Area. Locals might not recognize the revamped Empire Tap Room space — dark wood has been replaced with light, plus one white and one bright blue-tiled wall — but underneath blue seat cushions at some of the indoor tables is hiding wood, re-purposed from the Palo Alto mainstay's bar tops.
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