BEST of the BEST 2014 | Leisure | Dining: Tosca Cafe

  • Photo by Sonya Yu
    Tosca Cafe Photo by Sonya Yu

When diners walk into San Francisco’s Tosca Cafe (415.986.9651, www.toscacafesf.com), they still encounter the towering vintage cappuccino machine behind the bar, the rusty red-and-black-checkered floor, and the jukebox that plays opera. Tosca, a 94-year-old fixture on Columbus Avenue in North Beach, was on the verge of disappearing when it was saved by April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, a duo best known for the Spotted Pig in New York City. The partners sank more than $1 million into making the place look the same, and they restored the kitchen that had been shuttered since 1953. Bloomfield now spends most of her time there, turning out a spectacular roast chicken, arranged on a thick slab of toast dipped in the juices and spread with ricotta and pine-nut stuffing. She also makes excellent pasta, such as bucatini with tomatoes, chile, and guanciale, and other soulful combinations. And the cappuccino? Perfect. But it does not contain a drop of coffee: only Armagnac, bourbon, chocolate, and milk.

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