Fodor's Northern California 2014
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If you know your Italian history, you know this acronym roughly translates to the senate and people of Rome. Brought to you by the same team that operates the Marina's wildly popular A16, SPQR is a chic, friendly spot—bare-top tables, open kitchen, old travel posters on the walls—with a dedicated neighborhood following of all ages. Of course, that dedication usually means a long wait for a table, unless you've made reservations or turn up after 9 pm or on a slow Monday. Singles and walk-in couples can opt for a seat at the two counters (one looks into the galley kitchen). The loyalists come here for the nine antipasti and piccolo (the chicken liver is a favorite), eight superlative pastas (many of them are stuffed), and savory mains, like bacon-wrapped rabbit saddle. The appetizing and inventive menu changes constantly with the seasons (and chef Matthew Accarrino's whims), but the pastas are particularly notable—you'll want to try a few at least, so come hungry. The Italian wine list is also full of gems, with wonderful choices by the glass. It's a comfortable brunch destination on the weekends as well, although it's tough to snag one of the few outdoor tables.
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