The Strabbioni Bar Caffè, whose name makes me think of ‘stra-buoni’ or super good in Italian is very nice, quaint, old-styled café. It’s got a tradition of serving coffee a certain way, and from the date on the entrance (see the pic below, ‘1888), it’s been doing its thing in Rome for quite some time! I don’t like to read up on places before going in, as I like the coffee to speak for itself. When I walked in it was packed with folk having their break, and the think I kept on hearing over and over was the question ‘con panna’?
This little café, the Bochetto 47 Caffè is in literally just a door in a wall. Almost anonymous i fit weren’t for the large sign outside. I wasn’t sure it fit was a café or not, but the ‘bar’ part convinced me to peek in. I’m glad I did. It was really nice inside! It has a red and granite and steel with mirrors of course interior. But all new and totally recently redone. It has a low ceiling so you get the feeling you’re walking into a den of some kind, cozy and nice. The barista, a slender and elegant platinum blond woman in her 50s with a smile on her face, was very nice and courteous to everybody that walked in.
Walking away or towards San Giovanni on the Via Merulana, this ancient route of Rome, you’ll have to grapple with the crazy traffic that chokes this avenue. And then you’ll have to pay attention to find this place. It’s called 081 Cafè and makes reference to Naples. It’s literally a hole in the wall, just a door and nothing else. But what might catch your attention, is the little stool outside and then, a big piece of wood with a La Pavoni little home lever machine at the entrance.
This is a really nice locale. It’s on a busy corner, hugged by another 4-5 cafes within a 10 feet radius, and yet it shines very nicely. It’s got lots of light. The interior is modern, with a French-American bistrot feeling, that is, lots of light colored wood, blight blues, chrome, and nothing heavy nor gaudy. The staff is nice and well, it works. It’s a nice change from the ‘old school’ heavy-set cafes nearby, and it was packed with government folk. One who wouldn’t quit hitting on the barista.
It is interesting how many cafes there are here in in Rome. Literally on every corner. That’s the thing here, I walked out of one café, and had a few minutes to spare before having to rush where I was going, and I had only had one coffee, so I could stomach another one. I walk out of the Cerulli Caffè in the Sallustiano neighborhood and literally less than 30 feet away I see this other place, the Elsa Coffee café. It looks new, it looks modern, it looks international, and it looks inviting.
Still in the Sallustiano neighborhood of Rome, and a bit more than a street away from the Ministry of Economy and Finance you have the Gran Caffè Salandra. It’s an old school place. Lots of chocolates, pastries, and an air of 65 and over type of joint for those who want a touch of not over the top snobbery, but simply dignified clean and some what old-fashioned setting. Either way, it’s staff of all women really had the place rocking. Most cafes here in Rome are run buy angry baristas, all guys depressed with life and angry at their profession. When women tend to run bars, they’re happy, and simply having a good time. How’s that for being sexist? Well… I’m not making this crud up!
Just behind the Ministry of Economy and Finance, you’ll find the Colomba Caffè. It’s pretty much identical to a few other cafes on this street. For a minute I thought I had already come in here, and then realized, after looking up the place in this very blog, that it indeed wasn’t the same. So I continued on with my taste test of their coffee. You walk in and the first thing you encounter is the espresso machine. It’s the center of the locale and the point of reference. I thought this was a good thing, but let’s read on.
Well, if you’re a tourist to Rome and inevitably going to have to pass through the right of initiation with quenching your curiosity and going to Caffè Sant’Eustachio, there’s good news in store for you. I had, like many folk, gone to this legendary café. But always left a little disappointed. After doing my review of this place I realized that I don’t like it at all, and it’s too much hype. But why be happy now? We’ll just across the street from it, there’s a rickety looking place that is quite non descript, except that it looks like any standard mid 2000s hodpodge Roman café and it’s called Caffè e Caffè.