San Francisco's Little Italy, also known as North Beach, is a neighborhood rich in Italian culture and history. It's also home to some of the city's best Italian restaurants, cafes, and bakeries. Join me on a 500-word food tour of this charming district and discover some of the most delicious and authentic Italian cuisine in San Francisco.
First stop, breakfast at Stella Pastry & Cafe. This classic Italian bakery has been serving up fresh pastries, cakes, and coffee since 1940. The aroma of freshly baked goods will draw you in, but it's the cannoli that are a must-try. The crispy shell is filled with a sweet, creamy ricotta filling and dusted with powdered sugar. Enjoy with an espresso or cappuccino, and you'll feel transported to a cafe in Italy.
Next, we move on to lunch at Tony's Pizza Napoletana. This award-winning pizzeria has been recognized as one of the best in the country, and for good reason. The Neapolitan-style pizzas are made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and baked in a wood-fired oven at 900 degrees for just 90 seconds. Try the classic margherita, or opt for one of the more creative toppings like the Cal Italia, which features prosciutto, fig preserves, gorgonzola, and balsamic reduction.
For dinner, we're headed to Il Casaro Pizzeria & Mozzarella Bar. This casual eatery specializes in authentic Neapolitan-style pizza and fresh, house-made mozzarella. Start with the burrata plate, which comes with creamy burrata cheese, roasted tomatoes, and fresh basil. Then, choose from a variety of traditional and creative pizzas, all made with imported Italian flour and San Marzano tomatoes. The pizza bianca, topped with mozzarella, arugula, prosciutto, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a standout.
For dessert, we're stopping at Mara's Italian Pastry. This family-owned bakery has been a neighborhood staple for over 50 years and offers a wide selection of traditional Italian pastries, cakes, and cookies. Try the cannoli or the sfogliatella, a flaky, layered pastry filled with ricotta cheese and candied orange peel. The owner, Mara, is often behind the counter and loves chatting with customers about her family's recipes and traditions.
Finally, we're ending the night at Tosca Cafe. This historic bar and restaurant has been a favorite of artists, writers, and musicians since it opened in 1919. The dimly lit interior is cozy and intimate, with a vintage feel and a touch of Italian flair. Order a classic Negroni or a glass of red wine from the extensive Italian wine list, and savor the atmosphere and the company of fellow patrons.
little italy food tour is a food lover's dream come true. From classic bakeries to award-winning pizzerias, there's no shortage of delicious and authentic Italian cuisine to discover. So, whether you're a local or a visitor, be sure to explore this charming neighborhood and indulge in some of the best Italian food in the city.