Overall Rating: 5.600

Address: 1 Mission St.
Cross Street(s): The Embarcadero
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94105
Neighborhood: Embarcadero
Phone: 415.543.6084
Hours: M-W 11:30am-9:30pm; Th-F 11:30am-10:30pm; Sa 5:30pm-10pm; Su 5:30
Type of Establishment: Restaurant
Cafe Rating: 6.00
Barista: 4
Savvy: 4
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Faema
Coffee Rating: 5.20
Aroma: 7
Body: 4
Brightness: 3
Crema: 7
Flavor: 5
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: L
Primary Taste: Warming
Coffee Beans: Illy
Cup Manufacturer: BIA Cordon Bleu
Price: $4.00
Last Update: 01/17/2009
First Reviewed: 09/24/2005
Notes: None

One of SF's favorite restaurants, and it shows: this has always been a fun place with pretty serious food. Elegant without being stuffy. But certainly pricey. It's a long, decorated space filled with bright tilework on the floors, Art Nouveau light fixtures, and a lot of money. They used to serve Illy here in IPA cups, then in recent years (2005-2008) made the switch to Mr. Espresso (good choice for freshness) and small BIA cups (odd choice), but most recently (in 2009) they switched back to Illy again (but only for their espresso) - likely leveraging chef/co-owner Nancy Oakes' relationship with a friend at the roaster. Using a newer two-group Faema at the bar, they pull an espresso shot that isn't filled to the rim as it was in their early Illy days, but it's still a bit high. Now that they're back on Illy, they don't seem to grind-to-order anymore, and the espresso has an OK layer of slightly congealed, medium brown crema. With the smaller pour volumes, the flavor has improved to something that isn't so watery and drowned out: it's now a mellow, even, subdued flavor of mild spices. But when are food professionals going to learn that you don't import your fresh-roasted coffee from Italy for the same reasons you don't import your fresh-baked bread from France?