Friday, December 22, 2006

The Steps of Rome Lead to North Beach

The best late-night dessert place in the city of San Francisco is the Steps of Rome Cafe in North Beach. Even if you're a confused tourist aimlessly wandering the neon-lit streets of North Beach (San Francisco's equivalent of Little Italy), you can't miss the quirky Steps of Rome. You'll hear and see the rowdy, belligerent restaurant crowd over a mile away. The best and most "quirky" part of the restaurant, is that if you come in the restaurant with a bridal veil (even if your not a bachelorette), you'll get star treatment--treatment even better than those commercials promoting Celebrity Cruise Lines. The waiters will eagerly flick the restaurant's light switches on and off, slap their muscled thighs while belting out unintelligible Italian ballads, and increase the deafening volume on the music blaring through their eardrum-piercing speaker system.

The twenty-something, fobby, cocky, and energetic Italian waiters are Italy's equivalent of state university frat guys and they look like European soccer players who are in the midst of a heated, sweaty soccer game, frenetically trying to balance trays of food and drinks in their mottled, grass-stained jerseys. Their heavy accents and inherent Italian flirtatiousness are addictive to anyone with an iota of estrogen pumping through her (or his) bloodstream.

Best of all, the heart stopping desserts are titillating to even the most staid of taste buds.

Their tiramisu is the one of best I've had at any restaurant. The Italian "pick-me-up" is carpeted with a luxurious dusting of cocoa powder, and is made with a soft spongy cake saturated with a rich and pungent-flavored espresso. The "icing on the cake" is literally a milky, creamy, thick, and cloud-like mascarpone cheese and whipped egg mixture.

If you come only for dessert, ask for their "special dessert menu," and wink at the waiter if you want something extra special!


  1. Shoot! MS and I missed this place when we walked the streets of Little Italy! :( The tiramisu is making my stomach growl for sure!!!

  2. omg!!! sooo devilish. and have you tried this bride's veil trick?

  3. My issue with The Steps of Rome is that most of the people there are "pretenders" -- they talk the talk to play the Italian immigrant curiosity in North Beach, but they don't walk the walk. They are far more likely to watch a 49ers game than the Milan-Lazio match, that's for sure (and I've witnessed this firsthand). (And some of the wait staff, love 'em and all, are Lebanese rather than Italian anyway.)

    I know this sounds so incredibly touristy/cheesy, but its not. Café Tiramisu on Belden makes a mean tiramisu as well you should check out.

  4. Wow, that one's for all you pretty ladies.

    The tiramisu does look lush, though.

    - Chubbypanda

  5. Yes please....I'd like a taste of all of them!

  6. Hi PE - THe Missus keeps coming back to look at those photos time after time........hmmm!

    Happy holidays PE!

  7. Hi PE. Happy Holidays! I wish you all the best this Christmas.

    If you have time, please visit my personal food blog :

    i'm still am a member of the jesuit gourmet, but i thought of having another one where i can have more room for the lay-outs and other things.

    j haw

  8. daily gluttony says:

    note to self: i must take isaac here next time we're up there. my hubby is somewhat of a tiramisu freak!

    btw, LOL at the waiter description.

    hope you had a killer holiday PE! a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year to you and your loved ones! =)

    (sorry about the anonymous comment. i hate this new blogger beta thing--i haven't switched over and the damn thing never lets me comment)

  9. oh wait. it just let me comment. WTF??? oh well. =P

  10. PE, that's a FANTASTIC photo of tiramisu!

  11. Bola, I hope there will be more times that you and MS will visit SF, so I can show you some of my favorite places up here, or we can find a delicious tiramisu place that will make the "Best of LA" list for Los Angeles! I send you warm holiday wishes Bola, and hope that you'll have a fantastic 2007!

    Pink Nest, I've never donned a bride's veil for the Steps of Rome, but I promised myself I would do that with a group of rowdy girlfriends when I eventually get engaged!

    Swag, I love the restaurants in Belden Place, but I only frequent Café Bastillé and B44. Your recommendation of Café Tiramisu sounds like a fantastic one! Any place with "tiramisu" in its name has to have some rockin' tiramisu! Also, whoa, I had no idea that those waiters were not the real deal. After checking out your website, I see that you are the main source on detecting anything that is Italian, so I trust you wholeheartedly!

    You're right on their bias in favor of pretty ladies Chubbypanda! They have a notorious prejudice against the not-so-pretty-ladies, unfortunately.

    I wish I would have been able to taste them all too Rachel, but I only had the tiramisu. I'll go back to try the ones I did not personally taste and be sure to write about them!

    Wow, the Missus looks at my site! I am honored Kirk! I am lucky enough to have you as a friend, and now I have two wonderful blog friends!

    Great new site J Haw, now Culinary Pilgrim! I'm glad to see you posting, and I'll continue to be a fan of the Jesuit Gourmet but anticipate on becoming a new fan of Aranzuzu Cafe!

    Yes, Daily Gluttony, bringing Isaac would be a great idea, but make sure he wears the bridal veil! Thank you for the wonderful new year wishes, and I extend the same warm wishes to you, your family, and new hubby!

    Thank you, I try to learn from the best food porn photographing pro around TFP, you!

  12. Jone! Happy New Year! Love Cafe Tiramisu -- my father has known the owner (Giuseppe) for years; always a great place to go. SOR's tiramisu is not half bad; not the best I've had, but not horrible. And they give you a lot -- what's not to love? Okay, perhaps the overeager male waiters. And the not-so-stellar pasta.

  13. u got my stomach growling, stretching left-right & all over tt close shot of tiramisu :) great to start off the new year, cheers !:)

  14. Hmmm, I've never thought that much of Steps before (always figured it to be a not-bad Italian place, perhaps a wee bit overpriced). But that's when it comes to the main food. You've probably hit the right vein, since I think that place is known better as a cafe or place to catch a game. The desserts look seriously tasty. Dang....

  15. Hi Shane! Shoot, if you know Giuseppe, I'm going there ASAP! But I'd better bring you along so that I can get Giuseppe's discount!

    Thank you for visiting Melting Wok, and for your generous wishes for the new year! I also wish you a wonderful 2007 and hope to see you around again!

    Yes, overpriced it is Jeff L, but I agree it is a "social" place for the atmosphere and less for the food. Also, I saw the post on the achiote tilapia! Are you going to be a guest blogger on the site soon? Looks great! (Also, I hope you read this, because I can't comment on your site, as I don't have a Xanga account.) :(

  16. I think I'll have to join those commenting on the tiramisu. It looks absolutely amazing! It reminds me of how I haven't eaten (anything good) in the past day or two. Now all I need is the time and money for a trip to SF.

    ~Joel -- aside_the_line

  17. As a dessert connoisseur (sp?) I regret that living in New Zealand means I can't visit this wonderful dessert haven. Glad to know there are so many others out there who love dessert. In fact, has anyone ever found a restaurant where they serve dessert first? I've been to one many years ago where my boyfriend at the time ordered dessert first. The waiter seemed okay with it, if somewhat surprised. After a wonderful main meal out in November my husband and I both regretted not checking out the dessert menu first. We were so satiated by the steaks that dessert was impossible - even though the list of choices was out of this world. We've decided to go back there some time just for dessert. Thanks for your delicious site. I'll be back.

  18. That tiramisu looks sensational ...I can almost taste that creamy mascarpone as I gaze upon its photograph!

    If you have an opportunity ...I invite you to follow your nose to take a dip in my 'ChocolateBlog'.

    'GEOCAT's ChocolateBlog'

  19. All of these look great. I feel fatter just looking at them.

  20. Haha Joel, you won't need to travel all the way to San Francisco to get some amazing tiramisu! We'll have to find a place near you with great Italian desserts and hopefully you be able to break the pattern of these last two days and get an amazing meal in your stomach!

    Thanks for visiting all the way from New Zealand Word Imp! You are adorable to suggest eating dessert FIRST! There is this famed place in San Francisco called Citizen Cake, where you don't even need to the main course, but you just go there to chow down on their gourmet and ultra-extravagant desserts! Hopefully, if you come visit SF you can visit there. I hope also too you'll share some of best places to get desserts in New Zealand with me too!

    Yes Geocat, your blog is a rich chocolate delight! Thank you for sharing it with me, and for your compliments about the tiramisu picture!

    Oops Tom Bailey, the intent was not to make you feel fatter, but to feel hungrier!

  21. God that looks's 3 in the morning and it's making me hungry

  22. You are a wonderful find. I am a rather chaste food lover these days because of waistline and health concerns but occasionally treat myself to a gourmet dessert at a restaurant that serves small but expensive portions (Swoon Kitchenbar, Hudson NY). Last year travelled only as far north as Arroyo Grande in CA, but this year I am aiming at starting South from San Francisco so appreciate your tips. Have a happy and successful new year.

  23. "Hi guys, I really enjoyed this information about , The Steps of Rome Lead to North Beach , is very interesting, I would like get more updates about this"


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