- a_and_w Nov 24, 2007 11:14 AM
Why is Emporio Rulli on Chestnut Street always empty? Last night, we were looking for a quick bite before a movie. My aunt wanted Italian but A16 and E'Angelos were both packed, so we decided to give Emporio Rulli a try. I have to say, I was impressed and left wondering why people seem to shun this place. Pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, salad was fresh and lightly dressed, and the price was reasonable. I'd go to Emporio Rulli over E'Angelos or that pasta chain further up Chestnut (Fuzio?) in a heartbeat.
I've attempted to get cookies/pastries to go at the Chestnut St. location and was also treated extremely rudely. I stopped in to look at the pastries at the Union Square location last week, and they were very unappealing. There is no attempt to make the pastries look nice or to present them in a pleasing fashion in the case. The only thing I ended up buying was a very poorly made latte.
I also stopped in for coffee and dessert a long time ago and was pretty much ignored. I also noticed that it was pretty empty. At least the coffee and dessert were very good.
I must comment on the coffee at the Emporio Rulli in Union Square: it is so bad!! I've had the latte, the capuccino and the mocha, and I never get a coffee drink. It's simply poorly flavored milk, that I dump down the sewer grate two minutes later. Not again.
I haven't gone in there since my 23-year-old daughter was humiliated by a waiter for the way she prepared a cup of tea she had ordered. It was served too full so she spilled little into the saucer and he apparently didn't think that was cool.
When there was just one Emporio Rulli, I used to drive from mid-Peninsula to Larkspur just to enjoy the delicious authenticity of the place. Everything was made with care; everything was delicious. Unfortunately, with the opening of each successive branch, the quality of the patisserie seemed to slip more and more.
I'm glad to hear the food was good, but I'm afraid the things I really used to enjoy are poorly represented in the Emporio Rulli chain.
You have a point that there's A LOT much worse on Chestnut. However, there is also a lot that in terms of the cafe, is better.
I like the Gran Cafe and if I lived in the neighborhood I'd probably be there more often. It just isn't a destination restaurant ... though for me the bakery is.
This time of year they make great pannetone. I like the Paradiso pannetone with chocolate shavings the best.
The budino de rizzo pastries are one of my favorite breakfast pastries in the Bay area. I like so many of the cookies. Here was a report from a few years ago about those and the great lunch I had there.
On St. Joseph's Day (March 19th) they make good sfingi and zeppole
Some years during Lent they make marsala fried dough square called Bugie.
The service at all the Rulli's can be wierd. The first Rulli I visited was in Union Square the the service so put me off I don't even know what made me try another. The cafe servers have been better ... at least for me. Actually the Gran Cafe has the 'warmest' of all the Rulli's I've been to (haven't stopped by the ones in SFO). The year I was interested in the St Joseph's Day donuts it was hell trying to get that info from them. I finally gave up and just showed up on the date.
However I have a high tolerance for nasty people if there's something that is worth putting up with a hassle. The things I mentioned at Rulli's are worth the hassle to me. I just go in prepared for possible wierdness. If there is none ... a bonus. What can I say. Some people and places are just like that.
The only thing I really don't like is the coffee.
A few other Emporio Rulli reports from other posters
Emporio Rulli mini report
Emporio Rulli and Angelo Auriana-01/16 Chowdown?
Emporio Rulli in marina excellent food chestnut and scott
Update on Emporio Rulli Gran Caffe (SF)
Krys Stanley are you out there?? & Emporio Rulli
Emporio Rulli Gran Caffe's Gelato
Emporio Rulli (Larkspur) Gelato
brasiliana cake from emporio rulli
Emporio Rulli special pastry
Emporio Rulli Gran Caffe
2300 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123
We went to the Larkspur location for a wedding cake tasting and were treated royally, both in pre visit phone conversations and the actual day we went. It was well worth the one hour drive. As for Chestnut location, however, I definitely agree about inept, cavalier service, but some of their pastries are just too good to bypass on a walk by. As for Union square, one look one time at the paltry supply of pastries was enough to send me away forever. Now, if you're at SFO airport in the international terminal, Rulli's supply of sandwiches and pastries all of a sudden looks pretty darn good in comparison to the thought of the dreaded airline food.
I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the food. I've posted a few times here asking for feedback especially after Auriana's associaiton, but with little response. Besides the service being weird, the space visible from the street is cafe seating and some might not realize that there's a dinner house in the back.
World Aids Day, December 1 2007
I've had two good meals and one great one at the Chestnut location.
On two of the three visits the service was hilariously amateurish, like the servers had never eaten in a restaurant before, let alone worked in one.