Il Massimo del Panino

Overall Rating: 7.200


Address: 441 Washington St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Battery & Sansome Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94111
Neighborhood: Financial District
Phone: 415.834.0290
Hours: M-F 7:30am-3pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 7.50
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 6
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Futurmat
Coffee Rating: 6.90
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 8
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: -1.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Lavazza
Cup Manufacturer: IPA
Price: $1.55
Last Update: 06/14/2010
First Reviewed: 07/21/2003
Notes: Coffee Sales

Review
Next to the Italian Cultural Institute, this cavernous space is in the back of an unassuming entrance. It feels like a former grade school cafeteria, complete with torquoise & white wood walls, mirrors, and small pictures and posters of Italy. Dozens of indoor café tables. Like many Italian cafés, they have a dedicated beverage/espresso bar with a three-group Ariete machine that is separate from the deli area. They even sell Caffè Mauro & Lavazza Super Crema by the bag (the former brands the machine, the latter they use for their espresso). Italian pop music plays on. Their espresso has a very dark brown and moderate crema. The coffee is black, with a smoky flavor and some subtle sweetness. When we first visited years ago, it tended to be tarry. While this has improved, backwards lapses still happen. Morning barista asks if you prefer your shots short or long - and otherwise serves it short. Just the way it should be. Served in Lavazza logo IPA cups. Milk frothing here can be overly sweet and voluminous, but they do take their time and it shows decent microfoam.