Tosca Cafe

Perfect For: Action at the Bar Classic Establishment Drunk Hook Ups Eating At The Bar Late Night Eats People Watching Private Dining See And Be Seen
PHOTOS: Remy Galvan-Hale

Add Tosca to your rotation.

Sure, the wait is crazy long. It’s kind of in North Beach. But it’s pretty rare for a restaurant to (re)claim a spot on the SF classic roster.

Long story short: Tosca Cafe was a bar where the “cool people” in SF have hung out for decades. You know—the mayor, Sean Penn, etc. They haven’t served food since the ’50s. Bankruptcy was nigh just a few months ago.

But New York came to the rescue. April Bloomfield, boss chef of Infatuation favorites like the Spotted Pig, the John Dory, and the Breslin, came in to save the bar from its demise. Thank goodness, because this place kicks ass.

Sure, it’s loud, crowded, and dark. But the drinks are delicious and the food is f*cking out of control. Our play is to sidle up the bar and put down about three house negronis while taking in the vibe. If you want to get clever, put in a roast chicken order between the second and the third.

The restaurant recently started taking reservations, so you might not even have to participate in the waiting ritual if you don't want to.

But we always enjoy it. Going out to dinner in San Francisco is rarely so much fun as it is at Tosca.

Food Rundown

Grilled Polenta With Mushrooms

One of the best dishes we've had in a while. The polenta was a perfect combo of salt, umami, and a bunch of other flavors that seasoned cooks could easily identify. We don’t care, the point is that you should order this. Dang we want another one right now.

Roasted Cauliflower

A giant mound of veg prepared as if it were a red-sauce pasta. Tasty but not unmissable.

Crispy potatoes

Mmmm...garlic and hot potato slices. “Pork fat” is literally listed as a key ingredient. You can’t say no to that.


They taste like meat and fat. Use that information to make your own call. See above for us.

Roast Chicken For Two

The menu warns this will take an hour. Budget an extra 20 minutes, but who cares? This is absolutely worth it. It’s a giant platter of moist roast chicken, stuffed with ricotta and nuts, cooked on top of a hefty slice of bread coated with the same ingredients. The marsala sauce has a faint hint of maple, in case you spent the day in Napa and want to give tasting notes.

In all seriousness, this is one of the most delicious entrees we’ve had in a while. It gives the Zuni roast chicken a run for its money. We’re happy to declare SF the roast chicken capital of the U.S. Suck it NoMad, Zuni/Tosca/Fog City are BRINGING THE GAME.


When you were 12 and your mom put a chocolate orange in your lunchbox, did youever wonder what it might be like to have it infused with brandy and cream? Can’t say we did - we weren’t alcoholics until college - but that’s basically this tiramisu. So yeah, it is crazy good.

House Cappuccino

Can’t leave this out because it is not a cappuccino but it is exactly what you need on the rare sub-40 degree San Francisco evening. Hot, boozy, and classic. Tosca Cafe in a glass.

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