Bar Bambino

Overall Rating: 7.900

NOTE: This location is CLOSED (no longer in business).

Address: 2931 16th St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn S. Van Ness Ave. & Mission St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94103
Neighborhood: Mission
Phone: 415.701.8466
Hours: Tu-Th 11am-11pm; F-Sa 11am-12am; Su 10am-9pm
Type of Establishment: Restaurant
Cafe Rating: 7.80
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 8
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 8.00
Aroma: 8
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 7
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 1.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Warming
Coffee Beans: Ecco Caffè
Cup Manufacturer: Nuova Point
Price: $2.50
Last Update: 07/24/2007
First Reviewed: 07/24/2007
Notes: Outdoor Seating

Right off BART's "Plasticuffs Station" (16th St.), this has never been an attractive part of the city - though mostly because of who might accost you on the sidewalk. Thus, this hip and popular Italian-to-the-core wine bar and restaurant seems a bit out of place, but that's gentrification for you. It's almost always overcrowded due to the small size - with a few tables and a crowded bar in front and a large table with some outdoor patio seating in back. Authentic Italian food, salumi, and wine. At the bar is an exposed three-group La Marzocco with missing paneling (are espresso bars getting to be like hot rodders at the drive-in parking lot now?). This is one of only two SF locations that serves Andrew Barnett's Ecco Caffè coffee, and they offer it in both his Northern and Southern Italian Espresso roasts. (A choice of two espresso styles at a restaurant? Yes!) Trying the darker, Southern roast, they produce a short shot with it, with an even, medium brown, somewhat full crema. The cup has some bright notes despite its overall balance and more pepper and cedar-like flavors. The barista grinds to order, but they oddly pre-pour it into metal pitchers instead of directly into their classic brown Nuova Point cups. Still, this is excellent restaurant espresso, and the results here make me wonder why all the aspiring high-end food restaurants that swear by Equator Estate Coffees (and universally underwhelm with it) don't look Ecco's way. [CLOSED: As of 12/31/2012.]