rows of white globe pendants hang over the dining area of a restaurant
Rows of Troy RLM pendants brighten the stained oak banquettes.

A San Francisco Landmark Returns to its Roots Through a Thoughtful Renovation

In 1998, Craig and Annie Stoll opened a little California-Italian fusion restaurant east of Mission Dolores Park. Delfina became a defining destination spot as that neighborhood boomed and boomed, eventually spawning a sextet of other restaurants around the city. Then the pandemic came, and Delfina shut its doors.

Last October, it finally returned. Roy Hospitality and Fucinaro Architecture oversaw a thorough renovation, including a merging with Delfina Pizzeria next door. In fact, says Roy founder and principal designer Hannah Collins, “the space was three facades and three buildings that had evolved over time, so we had to make sure, in combining all three spaces, we didn’t lose the soul.”

a restaurant with booth seats facing the bar with stools
The original Jarrah wood flooring anchors the restaurant in its history.

And they didn’t. “Flirtation with different eras and elements of Italian design and architecture, including layering of old and new in both space and materials, inspired the design,” adds Sarah Fucinaro, architect and founder of her firm.

Delfina’s past is unmissable in the patina of the original zinc tables and warm wood flooring. The team added Zia Tile glazed bricks to the façade, along with new storefront windows with custom 3form louvres and doors to let in more light; the new private dining room settles under an arched barrel vault as warm as the Italian sun itself. Emeco Su stools in eco concrete and anodized aluminum pull up to the eye-catching bar with its rows of amari; its c.1972 espresso machine is given pride of place on a slab of Carrara. Décor mixes mid-century elegance with a distinctively Bay Area cheekiness: In 2008, James Beard named Craig best chef in the Pacific region; over a booth in the new digs, the Stolls installed a portrait of him gussied up with sleeves of arm tattoos.

“We were hoping to create a space that felt ultimately really connected to Craig and Annie,” Collins says. “They opened Delfina originally when the neighborhood was totally different than it is now, and we were hoping to capture their story and the history of the space, and have it reflect a modern Italian sensibility.” It’s all there, written on the walls, and captured in a single bite of the spaghetti pomodoro that first brought them fame, finally on offer once more.

under modern red pendant lights, an oak bar with stained oak tambour across the front
The bar is custom-stained oak, with inset Carrara slab for the espresso counter, all fronted with stained oak tambour with antique copper details by Campground Inc.
rows of white globe pendants hang over the dining area of a restaurant
Rows of Troy RLM pendants brighten the stained oak banquettes.
red pendant lights hanging above a bar
The bar’s pendants are by &Tradition.
brown vinyl banquette seating wraps around the back of a grey table with a red and wood chair on the other side
Grand Rapids Chair seating mixes with vinyl banquettes and original zinc-topped tables.
dining nooks in this restaurant with portraits of James Beard and Julia Child hanging above
Vinyl booths line a pair of dining nooks, with custom empress green marble tables by Marble City Company and &Tradition pedants; the print portraits of James Beard and Julia Child are by Cheyenne Randall.
a mosaic tile floor under a metal domed ceiling in the dining room of a restaurant
Custom-finished Rich Brilliant Willing sconces hang on the walls, above blackened steel panels; the chairs are by Industry West, and the custom mosaic floor tile by Daltile.
a close up of a restuarant's custom metal ceiling with an antique bronze finish
Fucinaro Architecture designed the new custom metal vaulted ceiling, manufactured by Oldani Art Studio, in McNichols Designer Expanded Metal with an antique bronze painted finish.

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