411 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9413337.798862 -122.408354
Sun.-Fri. 6 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat. 6 a.m.-midnight.
Neighborhoods: North Beach, Northeast
Good coffee-house also has good food – You think espresso or cappuccino when you pass by here, but they have good food too (without the hassle of a wait). Their long-time employees provide excellent service, and they don't mind if you get a cup of coffee and stay for a couple of hours. The owner is often sitting at one of the tables.
Unlike their neighbors, Caffe Greco, they roast their own coffee. (I buy their beans regularly.) Their coffees and their Italian sodas are among the best one can find in the US. The walls have a lot of Giacomo Puccini, who's from owner Graziano's hometown (Lucca) in Italy. The outdoor seating is great for people-watching and stealing a smoke. :-)
I have not tried all of their food (their do have a long menu for a coffee-shop), but I would mention the following specially:
pasta with mushroom sauce; eggplant lasagna; crisp foccacia with smoked salmon, mozzarella and capers; all of their specialty sandwiches; affogato (get it with gelato instead of ice-cream), tiramisu, Italian flan,...
The SF Chronicle rated Caffe Puccini's pasta among the top three in San Francisco, in their quest to find the best pasta.
Old-school Italian coffeehouse cures North Beach hunger pangs with hearty sandwiches, pasta and desserts. – In Short
Located on a busy stretch of the Columbus Avenue commercial corridor, this cozy cafe offers patrons its namesake java and a solid dose of neighborhood atmosphere. Pensive, creative types linger over cappuccinos and newspapers by day. During meal times and on weekends, tourists and local workers descend upon the small eatery for specialties like the Mortadella, grilled panini, antipasto salads, cannolis and a mix-and-match menu of pastas and sauces.
Beware...go for the coffee not the food – A friend and I just had a horrible experience at this place. We started smelling burnt smells coming from the kitchen and once her lasagne arrived, we realized it was her pasta. We both work in the restaurant industry and almost always feel embarrassed to say anything about poor food. However, we felt it necessary to notify the counter person, who took the pasta to the chef. The chef came out and became very angry, telling my friend she had to leave, that she didn't know what real italian food was. Obviously our mistake for attempting the food at a coffee joint!
A Great Meal – We chanced upon this place while travelling in San Fran and it was such a treat. My husbands clam linguine was packed with clams and my papardelle bolognese was delicious.
The Secret is the Food – We happened to read about this gem in the Chronicle several months ago. Anyway, we've been there many times since and they have some of the best pasta dishes in North Beach (personally my fave is the papardelle bolognese). The cafe looks like a coffee shop only, but do yourself a favor and try the pasta or soup (my wife loves the split pea) - great value as well!
A great way to soak up North Beach – While on the main drag on Columbus, stepping inside instantly feels like a step back in time. The coffee and desserts are great, the service fast and very friendly.
And you can linger as long as you like, whether its reading the paper, working on your homework. and its open till late in case you need a fix or a place to unwind.
best fruit tarts around – Puccini's is my favorite cafe in the city. The coffee is excellent, and the fruit tarts are sent from god. I have been going there for years and years, yet I can never bring myself to get anything other than a fruit tart when I am there. The strange part is that I don't even like fruit tarts!! That is a testament to how scrumptios they are. I just wish it were a little bit cozier and cuter.
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