Best Cafe - 2005
San Francisco, CA 94109
If a cafe is a place where people from the neighborhood catch up and read the paper and watch the world stroll by over the sweet and savory snacks that go with a good cup of coffee, Cafe Hurghada is the genuine article. When you walk in, you become part of a loving, wisecracking extended family in which everyone knows one another -- and how much he despises his landlord and what she was supposed to have done last night. The setting encourages the general bonhomie: It's tiny (fewer than a half-dozen tables), with Persian rugs, potted plants, a rococo chandelier, and a variety of fascinating doodads here and there. The lattes and cappuccinos are delicious, but the salads and sandwiches that emerge from Hurghada's cupboard-size kitchen are remarkable. The house-made falafel, for instance, is served with braised spinach and tomatoes, a marvelous homemade pomegranate-tahini sauce, and mango and strawberry origami strewn atop, with an umbrella emerging jauntily from its toasted pita. Between the good food, the good drink, and the good vibrations, Cafe Hurghada is a true community resource.