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Restaurants & Bars 2

Cafe Mediterraneo -- Good pizza in downtown SF

nja | Nov 12, 200306:22 PM

With this one I'll be all caught up and will stop posting...

I think this place has been mentioned here before, but it's worth repeating. Cafe Mediterraneo in the financial district serves some might good pizza and salad.

The restaurant is very small, with just a couple of tables and counter seats, and is really more of a to go place. They serve individual sized pizzas in 7" and 10". Prices are approximately $5 and $7, respectively, depending on the pie you order. Again, there are no large pies here: just the 7" or 10".

The crust is fairly thin, moderately crisp, and coated in olive oil when it arrives from the conveyor belt oven. I once saw them prebaking the dough disks on low to let them proof and then putting them back in the fridge. This results in an interesting crust: a crispy bottom and softer top layer and a pita-pocket-like separation between the two. They use lots of good stringy, tasty, whole milk mozarella, and the other cheeses on some pies are good too (ricotto, goat).

A wide variety of toppings are available in preset combinations, many of which would fall into the "California Gourment Pizza" category. My favorites of the ones I've tried are:
- luganega (with half moons of excellent luganega sausage, carmelized red onions, and fontina)
- sausage (again with half moons of sausage, not sure of origin, but not the common crumbled stuff)
- pepperoni
- rustica (goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic)

I don't recommend the pesto, which is a blend of parsley and basil and doesn't have enough parm or pine nuts.

The salad here are also very good, the "mista" comes with fresh mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, mountain gorgonzola, and walnuts. The mustardy balsamic vinegar is very impressive in that it is permanently emulsified: little bins of it sit on the counter all day and remain a single yellow/green liquid and do not separate. I've heard the greek and chicken salads are also good.

Each day features a special pizza, available in either size on their own or as a combination: a 7" pizza, mista salad, and drink for $6.85. Though it's not advertised anywhere, you can get the combination with any pizza from the menu for $7.35.

If you order your pizza to go, they'll put it in a non-ventillated box with a slice of foil under the crust. It'll be fairly soggy by the time you eat it. Ask for them to leave the foil out, poke holes in the top of the box, and be careful that the grease doesn't stain your pants.

Good stuff, give it a try.

Cafe Mediterraneo
357 Kearny (at Pine)
Mon-Fri, 10am to 9pm
Visa, MC accepted

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