Liguria Bakery got to be a running joke. Every time I tried to visit George and Michael Soracco’s artisanal 98-year-old bakery, they were inevitably sold out of their prized focaccia. With each failed attempt, my interest level inevitably grew. If a bakery specializes in a single item, and it consistently sells out before noon on weekends, that’s a pretty good signal to keep trying. Thankfully, my most recent visit to Mama’s was early enough to allow for actual focaccia consumption, and there’s no doubt that single slab was worth the wait.
Ambrosio Soracco founded Ligura Bakery at the northeast corner of Washington Square Park in 1911. Now son George and grandson Michael run the bakery. George’s wife, Josephine, and sister Mary run the front of the house.
The white shelves are primarily bare, since the focaccia is kept in back, on racks. Order from a simple menu with letters that match the colors of the Italian flag. Liguria Bakery sells ten varieties of focaccia, that’s it.
Pizza is evidently the most popular flavor, but I opted for rosemary garlic ($4.50). The Soracco women wrapped the focaccia in white butcher paper and secured it with decoratively knotted twine. I planned to save the focaccia for Los Angeles, but since it was still warm from the oven, I couldn’t resist tearing apart the twine. Peeling back the butcher paper resulted in a intoxicating blast of aromatic garlic and rosemary. The focaccia was rich but not greasy, with every crevice filled with rosemary or minced garlic. The bread was browned up top but nice and supple. It’s hard to imagine a better focaccia, and if it exists, it would have to be in Italy.
If you’re interested in more detailed information about Liguria Bakery, visit Grace Ann Walden’s article for Northside San Francisco, titled “Cook’s Chat: Michael Soracco of Liguria Bakery.”