Drowning in Flavor

The affogato gets a makeover

The affogato has become a much-beloved dessert on local menus recently.

Formally named affogato al caffè (meaning swimming or drowning in coffee, depending on how morbid your outlook), the simple treat traditionally consists of a scoop of vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso poured over. Three spots have developed smart twists on the Italian summer favorite.

Hawker Fare At James Syhabout's new Oakland restaurant, featuring brilliant takes on Southeast Asian street food, the kitchen brews a potent Thai coffee (a mix of coffee, chicory and dried corn kernels), then floods a swirl of house-made condensed-milk-flavored soft-serve with it. 2300 Webster St. (at 23rd St.); 510-832-8896 or hawkerfare.com

Ippuku Befitting its Japanese menu, Christian Geideman's Berkeley yakitori and shochu dining bar offers a bowlful of vanilla ice cream swimming in matcha, the bright, brothy Japanese green tea. 2130 Center St. (at Shattuck Ave.); 510-665-1969 or ippukuberkeley.com

Piccino For its affogato, this Dogpatch café offers a choice of two ice creams, both sourced from Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous down the street: chocolate chip or Pink Squirrel. The latter, inspired by the eponymous 1960s cocktail, is lively with Crème de Cacao and Crème de Noyaux. 1001 Minnesota St. (at 22nd St.); 415-824-4224 or piccinocafe.com