Montesacro, the buzzy San Francisco Italian restaurant specializing in the light-and-airy, pizza-like flatbread pinsa, opened its first Portland location this week. Owner Gianluca Legrottaglie, a Californian restaurateur with Italian roots, was the first person to bring the ancient Roman staple to the United States, as confirmed by the Italian company that makes its specific flour; now, as shops around the country open their own pinserias, Portland has its own version straight from the source.
Since Legrottaglie opened the first Montesacro in 2015, he’s raked in the acclaim. The restaurant nabbed a good review from the San Francisco Chronicle, and some even claim Montesacro’s Sixth Street location is “turning around” a “blighted” neighborhood. For as long as Legrottaglie has considered expanding, however, the chef and businessman has been captivated by Portland. “Being a little obsessed with where we source ingredients, (and) learning that Portland is packed with really lovely restaurants — I’m shocked and surprised there’s no Michelin stars in this town — I decided to consider it,” Legrottaglie recalls. So when the building owner, Francesco Inguaggiato, called Legrottaglie about taking over the restaurant space that used to hold Nicoletta + Beppe’s and Bellino Trattoria, he decided to kick things into gear and open a second Montesacro in 42 days.
The restaurant is, in certain ways, an exact replica of the San Francisco mainstay, relying on high-quality California and Italian products and producers. Longtime Montesacro team-member and friend Leonardo Lasagni handled the buildout, modeling its stark and fashionable interior off of the original restaurant. Legrottaglie serves his pinsas, made with a combination of soy, rice, and wheat flour, alongside cold appetizers and oil-cured vegetables just like his grandmother used to make. The buffalo mozzarella comes from a one-woman operation in California, Ramini Mozzarella. The sommelier and beverage director, Conor Carroll, is also a California import, spending years at the prestigious French Laundry. As for the rest of the staff, he gathered a lot of Italian talent to get things started: Luca Rossi, his pinsaiolo, comes from a small town outside Rome, and his general manager, Sabrina Bianchini, is originally from Verona.
That translates to an eclectic selection of old-world wines, zucchini salads with mint and ricotta salata, and of course, several pinsas, topped with smoked buffalo mozzarella, guanciale, and beyond. Explore the wine and food menus below:
Correction: This story has been corrected to show that Francesco Inguaggiato contacted Gianluca Legrottaglie about taking over the restaurant space, not Shari and Al Newman.
• Montesacro [Official]
• An Ancestor of Pizza Is Coming to NW Portland [EPDX]
• The Roman Pinsa Is the New Pizza [Eater NY]
• Montesacro’s pinsas: Not quite pizza, but great [San Francisco Chronicle]
• Stefano Casati Brings Roman-Style Pinsas to Chicago [PMQ]
• Montesacro Opens Today Off Sixth Street [Eater SF]
• Life On Sixth Street: Montesacro’s Gianluca Legrottaglie On Turning Around The Blighted Corridor [Hoodline]