Il Cane Rosso is a shining example of the everyday excellence that makes eating in SF so much fun. This place isn’t going to win Michelin stars, or even Bib Gourmands (the Michelin star for cheapos). It probably won’t garner accolades from the major dead-tree publications around town. At best, it’s the #3 restaurant in the tourist-infested infinite hallway that is the Ferry Building. Hell, if you haven’t lived here, you probably don’t even know it exists.
But good eats aren’t a game. They’re an art form. You master the fundamentals so you can forget ’em, so you can improvise and just concentrate on what really matters: manufacturing deliciousness. And Cane Rosso does this to perfection.
Sure, the food isn’t fancy — mostly simple sandwiches and salads. But every ingredient is on point. Order what you think is a typical beet salad, and you’ll end up with a giant mound of red juicy slices, well-mixed with pop-in-your-mouth farro. A fried egg sandwich incorporates high-grade pancetta and sweet onion butter, because why not break outside classic combinations? Four-dollar toast? F*ck it, we’ll re-raise you to five. And it’ll be worth it for the house jam alone.
Look: this place ain’t much for atmosphere. It’s counter service and there’s a decent chance you’ll have to wait in a giant-ass line to eat within an hour of noontime. But it is pretty amazing that this is a representative example of a casual sandwich joint in our fair city. Nowhere else can compete.
Olive oil, fancy meats, two eggs — if you’re nursing anything resembling a hangover, this hits the spot.
We respect their game for making it $5. At what point do we get in anti-price wars, in which restaurants compete to sell the most expensive toast? Hoping for this summer.
Just a huge bowl of perfect beets with some crispy wheat-rice.
Mmmmmm, look, you’re not going to make a mistake with sandwiches here. Try to scope out which looks juiciest from the people in front of you in line.
A pastrami-sized pile of the lesser-used (but better?) deli meat. If it’s available, grab one.