The mission of Palio d'Asti is to honor Italy’s glorious cultural and culinary traditions; utilizing traditional techniques and authentic ingredients in a way that connects yesterday and today. We strive to offer authenticity, value and a gracious, old world approach to fine dining.
Owner, General Manager & Host - Martino DiGrande
The scion of a Sicilian restaurant family, Martino learned the ropes early. After winning a Golden Gate Restaurant Association college scholarship, obtaining a hospitality degree, and completing an internship at the venerable La Planeta in Sicily; he was hired by Palio right out of school in 2006; initially worked under Palio’s wine director before taking over both the wine program and the bar when he became General Manager in 2008. In 2011 he became part- owner, and in August 2012 he took over the reins of Palio as a single owner. He's been responsible for modernizing the restaurant’s cocktail program, instituting new events, and has built up the restaurant’s popular “$1 pizza” happy hour that draws fans from throughout San Francisco’s downtown financial district.
Il Palio - The Story
Il Palio is a bareback horse race dating back to medieval times. Today the race is celebrated annually on the third Sunday of September. Participants parade the streets in a colorful display of life in Medieval Asti - including the revered flag throwers who we honor with colorful banners hung in our main dining room. 20 race entries represent Asti's neighborhoods and outlying villages. The triangular Piazza Alfieri always proves a particularly difficult test, even for the most talented jockeys. Leading up to the running of Il Palio, a week of “Sagre” food festivals are held drawing up to 250,000 people. 48 nearby villages set up stands to serve a spectacular feast of local specialties while a parade of floats depicting ancient crafts and guilds illustrate the region’s traditions.
Chefs – The Martinez Brothers
Brothers Jose Alberto Martinez and Mauricio Martinez have been part of Palio d’Asti since it opened in 1990. Natives of Mexico City they spent the 1980s progressively moving up from prep cooks to sous chefs and chefs de cuisine at such illustrious San Francisco restaurants as Stars, Etrusca, and neighborhood favorite Antica Trattoria where they learned the importance of a Slow Foods approach to cooking using local, seasonal and sustainable farm fare.