A plate of cured meats, served with bread and perhaps some olives or a relish made from fruit or marinated vegetables, is a fine way to start a meal — or serve as a meal in itself.
1550 Church (at Duncan), 641-4500 www.incanto.biz
You might say Incanto chef Chris Cosentino and co-owner Mark Pastore are trendsetters. Their side project, Boccalone, supplies nearly every place in San Francisco that serves artisanal salumi. At Incanto, they serve an antipasto platter of assorted cured meats with roasted garlic and house-marinated vegetables; it's a delightful preface to Incanto's perfect pastas and superb entrées. If you'd like to pick up some Boccalone to go, Boccalone Salumeria in the Ferry Building Marketplace (433-6500) dispenses 23 different salumi by the ounce or in sandwiches.
568 Haight (at Steiner), 829-2024 www.uvaenoteca.com
This adorable little wine bar in the Lower Haight specializes in assortments of meats and cheeses. Choose from among a list of fine cured meats, including genuine prosciutto di Parma from Italy; speck from Trieste; Boccalone's speck, pepato, lardo, hot coppa, and mortadella; and finocchiona from Napa's Fatted Calf in four platters, ranging from piccolo through medio and grande to molto.
2931 16th St. (at Capp), 701-8466 www.barbambino.com
The artisanal salumi at this Mission restaurant is displayed like art in a glassed-in box. Many imported and local cured meats are sliced to order for small (serves one to two people), medium (three to four), or large (five to seven) plates. Delicate La Quercia Farms prosciutto from acorn-fed pigs is available on its own, served with housemade fruit mostarda.