SFoodie's 50 Favorites: Delfina's Trippa alla Fiorentina

Trippa alla fiorentina is not a pretty dish. There are no elegant curls of handmade pasta to photograph. A tuft of baby greens placed on top would only look like a boutonniere affixed to the chest of an orangutan. But there's a reason Florentine-style tripe has been on Delfina's menu for most of the restaurant's 13 years.

It's one of San Francisco's best offal dishes, modeled on the tripe Craig Stoll ate around Florence and Tuscany before starting Delfina. His cooks slice blanched honeycomb tripe into thin strips and braise them with pancetta, aromatics, and tomatoes until the frilly tripe attains an almost gossamer softness.

Delfina's Florentine-style tripe.
Gil Riego
Delfina's Florentine-style tripe.

As appetizers go, it's not much less rich than seared foie gras. The pine-bough smell of rosemary haunts its aroma, as well as the sweetness and acid of the tomatoes, which disperse the tripe's offal funk, rendering it an earthy undertone. The cooks cover the surface of the dish in breadcrumbs — a punctuating crunch — and reheat the crock in the wood-fired oven for service, leaving it in the heat until the waiters arrive, so they can bring it to the table still bubbling. Trippa alla fiorentina may look humble, but it sounds — and smells — like a star.

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