Dining in San Francisco doesn’t have to bean exercise in trendiness. Despite the tour buses driving up Columbus Avenue blasting “That’s Amore”, North Beach still manages to hold on to its soul. The beatniks are long gone but Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store is still here. This caffeinated corner across from Washington Square Park opened in 1972 and looks it. Well worn and cluttered, it has only 7 tables and a bar. The menu is mostly red sauce Italian, gooey,robust pizzas, panini and forcaccio, and rich, manageably sized mains like  a creamy lasagne. Share the ricotta cheese cake, Of course there’s coffee in all its classic Italian forms, wine and beer, too. This is not a laptop coffee house. Most of the customers actually talk.

mario’s

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