La Ciccia

Overall Rating: 7.800

Address: 291 30th St.
Cross Street(s): Church St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94131
Neighborhood: Glen Park
Phone: 415.550.8114
Hours: Su-Sa 5:30pm-10pm
Type of Establishment: Restaurant
Cafe Rating: 7.50
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 7
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Pavoni
Coffee Rating: 8.10
Aroma: 7
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 9
Taster's Correction: 0.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Warming
Coffee Beans: Torrefazione Portioli
Cup Manufacturer: Italy Ceramic
Price: $3.50
Last Update: 06/19/2015
First Reviewed: 06/29/2006
Notes: None

In the location of the former Greek pizza place (Verona), this is a tight, popular, and tasty restaurant featuring the wine and cuisine of Sardegna. (The name is a polite term for a little belly fat, and the wine list is a serious Italian one influenced by co-owner Massimiliano Conti's stint as a former Acquerello sommelier. He's also a Juve fan!) One of the holdovers from the pizza place is the two-group La Pavoni, which they use to pull single and double espresso shots depending on the dedicated basket in the group head. They pull a modestly sized shot with a mottled, patterned layer of medium brown crema around the rim of the cup - an improvement over the faint ring they produced when they first used Illy beans. Flavorwise, with the switch from Illy, it's become more interesting - a richer, more robust flavor of spice and some clove pungency. Co-owner Lorella Degan (an AC Milan fan and native of the Veneto) loves her coffee; and while she likes Illy, she prefers Miscela d'Oro. It was a good choice, even if Massimo inspired the switch to Portioli in 2013 for something more chocolatey. (They use Portioli cups.) Either way, when Lorella makes the coffee, and not the other staffers (many of whom are longtimers), it's sublimely one of the 20 best espresso shots in the city: a short shot with a full crema, a rich brown color, and a robust, potent flavor mixed of spices, herbs, and mild tobacco and served in a thoroughly pre-warmed cup. A classic case of where the barista exceeds whatever coffee you use. The staff other than Lorella here produce shots about 80-85% as good: a little taller, less concentrated, but still silky smooth. In 2015 they introduced double naked portafilters for a more temperature-controlled extraction.