I journeyed into the deep south (Cardiff) to check out casual Italian at Pappalecco. Pappalecco is a fast casual, high quality, Tuscan inspired, small, local chain with outposts in Little Italy, Kensington, Hillcrest, and now Cardiff.
They were getting a lot of positive reviews on Yelp, and you know what I say “Yelp is never wrong”. Oh, wait I meant, you know what I say “F%#k Yelp”, yep that was it. I do use Yelp as a tool to find places along with other sources like Eater and Chowhound. Wow, I just realized I despise all my sources. Ok, back on track.
The Cardiff location opened a few weeks ago, so I grabbed a bus and headed down.
Yep, I’m in Cardiff.
Pappalecco Caffe’ ( you can tell it is extra fancy because of the two ffs and the ‘ ). It is located in a small strip mall at 2101 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff by the Sea.
Simple clean interior (thought I was gonna say light and airy didn’t you). Sorry, I’m in a weird mood tonight.
You place your order and then put a number on your table. I will say the staff was very polite and friendly.
Toscano Panini ~ Prosciutto, Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella
Great sandwich, fresh ingredients and a great balance between the flavors. I’m a stickler for good Mozzarella and they used good Mozzarella.
In addition to the Paninis, Pappalecco makes in-house Pastries and Gelato. I imagine these are made centrally by them and distributed to the various locations. They hold their pastries and gelatos to only 5 main natural ingredients. Again, I do not know if that means only five , or five core ingredients. Regardless, its good hand crafted stuff:)
See, told you five main natural ingredients. They have about 20 or so flavors, about four of which are gluten-free and vegan.
I went with the Lemon. It was dense as you would expect from gelato, with a nice vibrant lemon flavor.
If you find yourself in the tail end of North County ( I do not want to hear it Del Mar and Solana Beach) I would check them out if you are looking for good quality quick Italian.
2101 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff by the Sea