In July 2018, during my visit to San Francisco, my friend and I decided to go for dinner at quaint little Italian Café, located in the Financial District. The name of it was ‘Caffé Macaroni’, a cafè that has been in the heart of the City since 1990 and is so small, it can probably seat around 20 people in total.

Even though I was in San Francisco for almost a month, this evening was one of the most special ones and has become a very happy memory for me, a memory that will never fade in my mind. I guess it was because, by this point, I finally started to feel a little more at home in the big city of SF. I say this because to my surprise, after landing in SF and for the first few days, I experienced feelings of excitement (this was my first time outside Europe and the longest vacation ever) but also anxiety as I found myself in a new place with endless things to do and see. I was physically exhausted after my long flight from Larnaca Airport (LCA) to San Francisco Airport (SFO), but I was extremely alert mentally, so much that I didn’t even get jet lagged or noticed a change with my body clock! I guess I realised right from the beginning the importance of making the most of my time there, and so the pressure had enhanced my anxiety.

Although San Francisco looked like everything I had ever seen in movies and books, I still think I went through a mild culture shock, during my first few days there. San Francisco is one of the most depicted places in the media and it has ALOT of exposure. Now every time I see clips of the city on TV or see photographs of the city in the newspaper, I catch myself daydreaming about my amazing trip to California. I will always remember feeling ‘free’ and careless every day (although I’m sure that is just a consequence of being on holiday) and I will never forget how warm, welcoming and hospitable everyone I met was.

An example of the hospitality I experienced, was during or evening at Caffé Macaroni. As soon as we arrived, I was immediately drawn to the atmosphere highlighted by a man who greeted us in Italian, as well as the gorgeous flowers planted in giant tomato cans on the sidewalk. I quickly realised that this had to be a neighborhood gem and I couldn’t wait to see the menu.

After we were seated, the actual owner of the cafè, Mario, came up to us and explained that he specialises in Neapolitan cuisine. The menu consisted of all the classic Italian dishes one would expect; Linguine di mare, Sardine Siciliana, Risotto Pescatore and much more. The food was both delicious and fresh and there was no doubt it was authentically Italian. What stole my heart, was the location of the cafè, which was right on Columbus Avenue (a major street in San Francisco) and it enjoyed the spectacular view of the Transamerica Pyramid ! After we had asked for the bill (or the ‘check’ as the Americans say), I quickly took a photograph of the amazing view that I had all evening.

I think until now, this photograph is still my favourite one from my time in California. It’s not so much because it is a ‘perfect’ photo in terms of lighting and composition, but mainly because this photo tells a story. It tells the story of the magical evening I had on a Summer night, with a good friend in San Francisco. It reminds me of the quality food and conversation we enjoyed. It reminds me that sometimes making scary moves, travelling across the world to experience a new culture or doing something completely out of your comfort zone, can result to a breath-taking moment, a moment totally worth living.

For more photographs from my trip to San Francisco click HERE.

Caffè Macaroni: 

Address: Caffè Macaroni, 59 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94111