Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Café Tiramisu
Reviewed Café Tiramisu: Friday, April 5, 2013
Belden Alley has become a San Francisco Financial District dining tradition. Tiramisu was the very first restaurant to open on the alley twenty-two years ago. At first, there was a lot of opposition to the opening of the restaurant by other eateries and the city. Then, when they saw that Mayor Willie Brown and other city officials were dining there as regulars the opposition from the powers ended. I have been eating there for twenty-two years and am amazed at the consistency of quality and variety of the restaurant. Other restaurants come and go but Tiramisu continues to maintain itself.
The restaurant’s uniqueness is in the authentic Italian menu and traditional dishes served by Italian waiters whose only difficulty is usually English. The only American native waiter is Tony who is possibly the best waiter in all of San Francisco.
The restaurant is situated in an alley in the Financial District and dining is inside and outside. The dining area outside is under a protective canopy with heaters when cold. Outside dining provides the best people watching in San Francisco — especially in sunny weather.
Service is very good; they are courteous, helpful, and quick. I can only think of one occasion over all the years where the service was less than I had expected. The waiters will explain the dishes to the diners and often explain the local origin of the recipes, which usually range from Northern Italy to Sicily. However, the menu changes constantly.
The pasta is made on site. The gnocchi is potato based; it is light and the sauce is to die for. Rarely do you get a light gnocchi with a light pesto sauce accented with a tomato fondue. It is an experience that treats the diner to what is really Italian.
The fish is always fresh and moist and the flavor is never drowned out by the sauce or accompanying flavors. They will never provide the diner with cheese on a dish that is basically fish. That is an Italian rule which they won’t break. (Did you see “The Big Night”?) The lamb chops is a most unusual dish. The combination of ingredients is not expected, but what flavors! The first time I tried it I was shocked. I expected that the flavor of the lamb would be lost with the pesto and herbs (Tuscan Style). But, in fact, the flavor was accentuated by the sauce. In fact, the sauce was its own flavor and did not destroy the flavor of the lamb.
Occupation: Event Planner
Favorite Restaurant: Naschmarkt Restaurant
Reviewed Café Tiramisu: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Tiramisu was so amazing. I love the cute alley where it’s located. The drive for us was a little far, however that did not matter; this was a hit for me. When we arrived for lunch we were greeted by a lovely hostess who promptly gave us a table. We were served homemade bread, which is crunchy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. It was served with an olive tapenade which was a perfect complement to the delicious bread. Our waiter was the owner’s nephew; he was so friendly and attentive. I was with my daughter and we all had a nice conversation about the food, the restaurant and how he came from Italy to work there for a summer and never returned. He was intriguing, timely and professional. He even explained a lot of the dishes on the menu to me.
I started with the artichoke and potato soup with fresh shrimp. It was piping hot and warmed my whole body at the first bite. The shrimp is tender and fresh and the soup is smooth and silky although it doesn’t seem to have much cream; I loved it. I ended up ordering the ravioli with buffalo mozzarella in a roasted tomato sauce with avocado aioli. All I have to say is WOWZA! It is so smooth, fresh, and tasty; I would go back just for that dish. I had a glass of the recommended Chianti, which is nice and light and has a hint of spice.
For a city restaurant, it was a great fit for my daughter; she felt very welcomed. The waiter even offered her homemade spaghetti. I couldn’t resist taking a bite; it is so fresh that it melted in my mouth. Our entire experience was a great one and I can’t wait to go back. The atmosphere is festive; lights are strung across the ally. The tables are comfortably close to one another and the service is incredible. Everyone that worked there stopped by to say hello and made us feel very welcomed. I highly recommend this place!
Occupation: Public Relations Executive
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Wood Tavern
Reviewed Café Tiramisu: Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Café Tiramisu is located on a picturesque ally in San Francisco’s financial district. The ambiance and wait staff will make you think you have been transported to a café in Europe for the evening. Our food experience was hit or miss; several dishes had a wonderful blend of flavors and were cooked to perfection, while a few others left something to be desired. Overall, I did enjoy myself and would recommend Café Tiramisu if you want to escape to Europe for the night.