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Jul 23, 2008 12:20 AM

Cannoli and more @ Cavalli Books & Cafe (SF)

Searching for free wi-fi, Danesi coffee, a view from the mezzanine overlooking North Beach, housemade pastries, and peace and quiet (except when there's a soccer game)? Look no further than Cavalli caffe in North Beach.

This historic book store serves up coffee and light snacks. Didn't try 'em, but the panini and salads sound scrumptious.

I did give in to a filled-to-order cannolo and an iced coffee on a hot day and was very happy.

What else have 'hounds tried here? Tell us about the Sicilian cheesecake, tiramisu . . .

Cavalli Books & Cafe
1441 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

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  1. Thanks for the heads up. I have never seen a freshly filled cannolo in San Francisco. Also it seems to have dried fruit inside instead of the ubiquitous (and oh so wrong) chocolate chips. To add a rather un-chowish quibble however, what happened to the books? Says bookstore right on the front. I understand book sales were not what the new owner hoped for, but the fewer you have, the fewer you'll sell.

    7 Replies
    1. re: little big al

      Hi "little big al", I'd love to have your opinion on the cannoli here. I was there 2 months ago, so I can't say for sure that there's no shaved chocolate in the filling. At that time the plan was to increase the types of food offered, so the books may be going by the wayside. I agree it would be a shame, but I guess that's the fate of bookstores everywhere. The selection was down to mostly travel books from my quick skimming of the shelves. The display of espresso paraphernalia took up more space.

      The other place within the City limits where you can get a freshly filled cannolo is Vivande on Fillmore. Outside of the City, 'hounds have found a handful of places around the Bay Area. Shout if you need 'em.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        The cannoli at Pizzeria Delfina are first-rate. I'm not sure they're piped to order but the shells are perfectly crisp.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Thanks for the reminder, I've been wanting to try Delfina's.

        2. re: little big al

          I've yet to stop in to Cavalli's cafe but I walk by there daily and have watched the slow metamorphosis form bookstore to cafe. It certainly has history behind it, as it goes back to 1880 as an Italian goods store, and was originally located at 255 Columbus where Vesuvio's is now.

          No books, but where are the Cigars at Marios?

          1. re: Xiao Yang

            Do you know if there is any historical relation besides the name?

            1. re: sugartoof

              I It has changed locations and owners (so has Tadich), but has been a continuously operating business since 1880. I believe it was primarily a bookstore when it moved from 255 Columbus to the current location of the cafe (which still sells a few book).

        3. I can't think of any cannoli anywhere on earth (and I'm from Brooklyn orginally) that even begins to compare with Romolo's in San Mateo. They make everything from scratch--the shells, the filling, the ice cream (for those with ice cream), the works. They are in the immortal words of Michelin, worth a special journey. 37th ave, san mateo.


          2 Replies
          1. re: Jeannette

            Adding a link (see the link in the Places entry for more enthusiastic reports).

            Romolo's Ice Cream Spumoni and Cannoli Factory
            81 37th Ave, San Mateo, CA

            1. re: Jeannette

              Those 2 blocks of 37th Ave have a lot to recommend them: Romolo's, Lil' Biscuit House and a host of other ethnic establishments. If you are at the San Mateo Fairgrounds, you are almost there. It's barely a mile south along El Camino Real(?).

              After chicken fried steak, fried chicken, cannoli, an affogato I bought a small bottle of a sweet, syrupy rose water soft drink for the road at a Middle Eastern Deli.

            2. I stopped in on a Thursday afternoon and tried the tiramisu. It was very nice, a generous hunk thick with cream, the layers of cake thin and properly soaked through. I had wanted a cannolo, of course, but they were sold out. This was at about 4 pm. My friend had the panna cotta, but I was so absorbed in my tiramisu I forgot to steal a bite. She liked it. Seats aren't very comfortable, if you're planning to hang out a while. I do want to go back for cannoli.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Cicely

                Cicely, many thanks for the tiramisu report. It's something that I rarely order since it's become such a cliche'. But when done well, and it sounds like this version is, you realize why it is such a popular dessert.