On my second night in San Francisco, I tucked into Tosca Cafe for a solo dinner. Even though the bar area was packed with Thursday night revelers, I fortunately landed a table in the main dining room without a wait. The dining gods must’ve been looking after me after the insane wait at Flour + Water the night before. I was seriously grateful.
I wasn’t familiar with Tosca Cafe prior to Chef April Bloomfield (New York’s Spotted Pig, John Dory Oyster Bar, and Breslin) and her business partner Ken Friedman’s gastronomic takeover late last year. But from what I gather from scouring the ‘net, Tosca was a 95-year-old dive bar with killer cocktails and quite the following in its heyday.
Today, the kitchen is as essential as the bar. Chef Bloomfield’s modern Italian-American menu has re-energized the place, bringing in a whole new foodie set but still resonating with regulars.
I had to have the meatballs ($12) to start. Made from a blend of pork, beef, and guanciale, the meatballs had a wonderfully delicate texture with appealing pink centers. The accompanying tomato sauce was chunky and bright.
The foccacia ($4) was another must-have. Served warm and crispy-edged, the bread was brushed with olive oil and rosemary and sprinkled with coarse salt. Simply delectable.
For my main course, I proudly polished off the bucatini ($17). The house-made strands were perfectly al dente, lovingly coated in a beautiful tomato sauce with a touch of chilies and smoky bits of guanciale.
The kitchen sent out a complimentary order of the crispy potatoes ($7), which were fried in pork fat to a shattering crisp and seasoned with plenty of garlic and rosemary. If you love potatoes, these spuds are an absolute must.
So yes, I totally adored my time at Tosca Cafe. The food, vibe, and service hit all the right notes, leaving me stuffed and giddy at the end of the night.
242 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco CA 94133
Why you gotta be so delicious, San Francisco?
- Craftsman and Wolves – San Francisco
- Dynamo Donuts and Coffee – San Francisco
- Dynamo Holiday in The Bay
- Ferry Building Marketplace – San Francisco
- Flour + Water – San Francisco
- Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream – San Francisco
- Magnolia Pub and Brewery – San Francisco
- Outstanding in the Field – San Francisco
- Pizzeria Delfina – San Francisco
- Tartine Bakery & Cafe – San Francisco
- Taylor’s Automatic Refresher – San Francisco
- Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen – San Francisco