Making up for its getting cut from the James Beard shortlist earlier this year, the splashy and on-point debut of North Beach's revamped Tosca Café has made it onto critic Andrew Knowlton's annual top ten Best New Restaurants in Bon Appetit.
Tosca beat out two other Bay Area restaurants that made Knowlton's Top 50, which were Sir & Star and Kin Khao. And Knowlton seems impressed as much with chef-owner April Bloomfield's homey but modern Italian menu as with the careful remodel of the historic bar at the hands of partner Ken Friedman, which was completed last October.
As Knowlton writes:
My earliest memories of Tosca Cafe involve clouds of cigarette smoke, too much Fernet, and the kind of characters Tom Waits writes songs about. When I visited a few months ago, however, it was the gleaming open kitchen, crispy duck-fat potatoes, and packed house that struck me most. So how did a dive bar founded in 1919 become one of the country's best restaurants in 2014? April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman came to town. ... The resulting menu is classic yet modern Italian, minus the red-sauce kitsch. From the snacks (crispy pig tails) to the house-made pastas (the lumaconi with prosciutto is an all-star) to the must-order roast chicken for two, it's a testament to the prowess of Bloomfield's deceptively simple cooking, as realized by executive chef Josh Even. It may be the end of old Tosca, but I think its best days are still ahead of it. And that's saying something.
And I fully agree: Tosca is delicious.
Because it's Bon Appetit, they've also got recipes for that roast chicken, and the amazing guanciale and tomato pasta.
Meanwhile, there are nine other restaurants around the country getting honored, and the Restaurant of the Year prize (previously won by State Bird Provisions in 2012) goes to Washington D.C.'s Rose's Luxury. Observe the communal tables and subway tile...
Look out later this year when Bloomfield and Friedman are expected to unveil their new cocktail bar in a renovated Lusty Lady, just behind Tosca.