I frequent Italian restaurants pretty often and nothing makes me happier than visiting the Little Italy neighborhoods throughout the country. San Francisco’s Italian destination, North Beach, is just as great as those found on the East Coast and we decided to go on a foodie walking tour of the area to get an insider’s look into what the locals are conjuring up behind closed doors. Tom Medin of Local Tastes of the City Tours was our culinary guide through authentic espresso, olive oils, Italian bakeries, pizza, chocolate, and pastries. Here are our favorites:
Caffé Roma by far has the best espresso I’ve ever. Ever. And it’s probably because they roast their coffee and espresso beans in-house using traditional values and avoid burning beans like corporate coffee chains. Drop by for a cappuccino and I promise you can taste the difference. Their pastry case is pretty impressive too so go in on an empty stomach.
Italian French Baking Co has been around for well over a century and creates amazing Focaccia and Sourdough along with other favorite Italian carb-filled goodies. Go into the bakery on the morning for a Chocolate Croissant and I promise you’ll just want to drop to your knees. And then go by again in the afternoon for a loaf of bread baked in a 125-year-old brick oven.
Z. Cicoccolato is known for its homemade truffles and rightfully so. There are always about a dozen different types of truffle in the store’s display case and we indulged in all sorts of nibbles ranging from Peanut Butter fudge, Tiger Butter fudge, and the Black Panther fudge. Take my word for it and just try them all.
Cinecitta is a favorite for authentic thin-crust pizza. The Margarita pizza is always a good and simple choice; their tomato sauce is pretty stellar. And go for the sausage and mushroom for a real taste of Italy.