The Grocery List: Lucca Delicatessen, San Francisco

Lucca is a tiny delicatessen in the heart of the Marina. Very well known for its prepared food counter and sandwiches, I felt a bit displaced as I walked in- a small place with a lot of… “stuff” everywhere! However, just a few minutes of scouring the shelves, and I had found some real treasures to share!

I was looking at the sauces and found Pomi’, what in Italy is considered a cheap tomato sauce in tetra pack, but that here I regard as the grail- it’s perfect on pizza, and it saves me the work to sort through the tomatoes! Beside it, canned De Cecco San Marzano tomatoes are showing off, and even the organic tomato sauce in glass. In the picture below, I have come to realize too late that another rarity was on the shelves at Lucca, Farina 00, the highest standards of Italian flour that makes the Rolls Royce of pasta and gnocchi.

As I am starting to expect from Italian specialty store, they carry As Do Mar tuna, which is great, and I also spot caponata, a delicious Sicilian specialty made of eggplants and capers in extra virgin olive oil. It is great as a side dish by itself, as a filler for a sandwich, or as an appetizers… and the Cuoco brand is as originally Italian as it gets!


In the refrigerated section, I find (finally!) chinotto. A bitter soda with a characteristic taste, chinotto might be as much of an acquired taste as root beer for Americans. I find it delicious and every now and then I get to crave it- and I can rarely ever find it! At Lucca, it’s priced at $1.85 and it’s always in stock- I am not sure I’ll ever pass up the occasion to stock up! The fridge also hosts San Pellegrino Bitter, also knows as Sanbitter- from the same producers of the world-famous water, the aperitivo I prefer!

Chinotto and Sanbitter

Sotto spirito cherries, apricots, chestnuts and strawberries are well dislayed on the central counter. Sotto spirito refers to the particular conservation mode of preserving the whole fruit in a syrup with high alcohol content, as to not let the fruit spoil. You are always on the money if you serve these fruits on top of gelato after dinner- yummiI!

Last, but not least- sweets! I am a chocolate maniac and I go into withdrawal when I don’t get the little chocolate pieces I love so much, It was with great relief that I learned, by looking at the counter, that Lucca’s buyers, just like me, have a passion for Majani chocolate! Majani is an old chocolate producer based in Bologna, where I went to school. The products are delicious although very high in cocoa butter content- but how can you resist the temptation of Gianduiotti, the Piedmont hazelnut specialty exported to all of Italy?? Or the Fiat chocolate, delicious cremini cut in mini-squares, with different flavors for each color of the wrapping? What a treat!

Gianduiotti Majani

Fiat Majani Cremini

Lucca Delicatessen
2120 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 921-7873

6 Responses to “The Grocery List: Lucca Delicatessen, San Francisco”

  1. Have you tried Lucca’s on Valencia? Even better. Check out the homemade ravioli and homemade pesto.

  2. [...] Ferrari carries it, as well as Costco, Draegers, Whole Foods, Lucca, Cosentino, Zanotto, and many of the smaller specialty places. Thankfully it is not as hard as it [...]

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  4. [...] on the other hand, is easier to find- A.G.Ferrari carries it, and so does the Pasta Shop, Lucca, and Draeger’s. It has a thin and long grain very well balanced in the two starches, so it is [...]

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