Cafe de la Presse rocks my socks off

Daylight-drenched French cafe
Sometimes I hesitate to write these restaurant reviews because nothing I say ever does the place or the food justice. So I shall just say, that Cafe de la Presse is fantastic, awesome, and truly rocked my socks off. It’s a complete transformation of the former Cafe de la Presse, which was more of a cafe, with the rack full of magazines and newspapers, and decent offering of espresso, teas, etc. Well now it’s a complete full-on bistro, still with that rack of magazines and newspapers, that offers a decent array of reading material while you’re chowing down on lunch.

This is the way it works: If you want to grab a magazine to read while you dine, go ahead and take one off the rack. You’ll have to pay for it, and you can either choose to pay before lunch, or after (have it added to the bill). Then you can either sit on the upper level with a spot of espresso and some biscotti, or go down a level for some real restaurant dining. I chose the latter, and it was fabu. All the waiters are very French, and they’re quite attentive, never failing to ask you how you are and so forth. The place was nice and airy, plenty of sunlight, beautiful wood-tone furniture.

Duck confit, with mushrooms, potatoes
But back to the food. I decided to forgo the traditional salad/sandwich for lunch, and went straight for the jugular with the duck confit. And boy, was it worth it. Duck confit, with mushrooms, potatoes… absolutely orgasmic. Next was dessert, obviously. I was a little confused with the menu descriptions, but decided to pick this strange-sounding “Il Foundant.” It turned out to be one of the most amazing desserts I’ve ever had. It’s basically a slab of meringue poached egg whites sprinkled with almonds, sitting on top of vanilla sauce. The egg white slab is light and fluffy, which is a nice contrast to the rich sauce. Fantastic.

Il Foundant
So decadent, that I probably won’t recommend this for the typical everyday lunch. But for that occasional treat, this definitely fits the bill. I hear the place also makes a great dinner destination.

PS. Here’s an SF Gate story on the transformation of Cafe dela Presse.

Cafe de la Presse
352 Grant Avenue, SF, CA (near the gates of Chinatown)
7am – 11pm daily

3 Comments so far

  1. daniel (unregistered) on October 24th, 2005 @ 10:17 pm

    almost went there for breakfast saturday, then opted to go to town’s end.. then it was 11 and there was no time anymore booo, nice pix

  2. cedichou (unregistered) on October 25th, 2005 @ 2:35 pm

    dessert looks like an “Ile Flotante,” or maybe “Ile Fondante.” Ile = island in French, as the egg white (not meringue, btw, it is just poached egg whites) are floating on top. Also, the vanilla cream underneath is called “crèe anglaise,” English cream. Your pictures look very yummy. How much does it cost?

  3. Andy (unregistered) on October 26th, 2005 @ 2:45 pm

    La Solea Dance Cafe: check it out! This cozy cafe’ is located in the heart of the Mission District of San Francisco at 3376 19th Street, between Mission and Capp. It serves a wide and diverse clientele. They started serving East Indian food for lunch and brunch and it is really good and reasonably proced. There is also an annexed dance studio offers courses in Salsa, Samba, Afro-cuban, Reggaeton, Tango, Yoga, Bhangra dances and more. The studio has new, wooden floors and is a great facility for a dance class. In addition, the cafe serves organic coffee, as well as smoothies, teas, and a variety of food, such as quiches and salads. La Solea also offers free, wireless internet. It is both a fabulous place to dance and to hang out. You can call La Solea or check out the website for more information.

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