Il Massimo Lounge

Overall Rating: 7.350

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

Address: 5 Embarcadero Center
Cross Street(s): Market St.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94111
Neighborhood: Embarcadero
Phone: 415.399.0222
Hours: M-F 7am-6pm; F 9am-5pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 7.80
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Faema
Coffee Rating: 6.90
Aroma: 6
Body: 6
Brightness: 7
Crema: 7
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 1.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Lavazza
Cup Manufacturer: IPA
Price: $1.55
Last Update: 12/04/2008
First Reviewed: 09/30/2004
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

Newer outlet (opened June 2004) of the greater sister café by the Italian Cultural Institute. Bright, modern interior decorated with colored glass and a few indoor tables. Over a dozen sidewalk tables with Pelligrino umbrellas where sometimes local street opera singers perform arias, selling their CDs (they can be found performing more seriout material on weekends on Maiden Lane). At other times a DJ starts the happy hour. They specialize in panini, gelato, and "dolci" as well as espresso. Slightly disorganized service, but they use a three-group Faema E92 Elite to produce a good espresso. Some of their baristas will ask if you like it short or tall - and will say that's "the way it's supposed to be" if you order the former. They serve espresso straight into the cup with a pale to sometimes medium-brown crema, which can run from a sturdy layer of moderately rich texture to a pale, thin ring if they're busy and leave it unattended. Flavorwise, it can vary from a typical Lavazza sweet pungency to mostly smoky/tarry with a taste of some pungent/herbal flavor, spice, and a little woodiness (pine). But if they brew it too hot, as sometimes happens, it can lack body and structure and taste rather bland. (Strangely, they are rather consistent with these inconsistencies.) We used to suggest to be sure to ask for a short shot, but lately we've had some proper two-sip serving shots without asking. Served in Lavazza logo IPA cups with occasional grinds at the bottom. [CLOSED as of 2014.]