Classics in San Francisco

Photo courtesy of YELP

Classic restaurants in San Francisco are hard to find these days. The City is still a great foodie place, but chefs seem to do-over restaurant places instead of retaining what is good and familiar to those of us who remember the classics. One place that has been reborn and retains the good stuff is Tosca Café on Columbus.

Here is a clip that tells of the rebirth:


One of the classics at Tosca is the House Cappucino. The story goes that three Italian guys returning from World War 1 wanted to open a bar like those they were familiar with in Italy. They opened Tosca on November 19, 1919. Prohibition was implemented on January 16, 1920. And they had imported Espresso machines from Italy.


So after sending one of the partners to Sonoma County to make brandy, the original owners created a recipe for their cappucino of chocolate, steamed milk and brandy. No coffee was ever included. One of the original machines is still steaming milk for customers to enjoy a Tosca cappucino today.


And in the late 1960s, Carol Doda used to drink her favorite White Nuns – steamed milk, brandy and kahlua – at Tosca. Carol would sip a White Nun during her breaks from dancing topless at the nearby Condor Club.


Here is another San Francisco character, Warren Hinckle, journalist and editor, being interviewed for an oral history, talking about editing some article from writer Hunter S. Thompson at Tosca and the bar in the 1960s.



Hinckle died in August at the age of 77. In 1967, Hinckle signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, refusing to pay the 10% Vietnam War tax proposed by President Johnson.


Best wishes,