Rome Travel Guide

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Finding one's own coffee bar in Rome

The hunt for one's morning coffee bar.... yes, that's our prime goal each year when we return to Rome in a new neighborhood. We're in Monteverde (Nuovo) this year, in a rather working class area (i.e., per me - too much litter on the streets, even for Rome).

Our goal is to find a bar where a) we love the coffee, b) they have a variety of cornetti ("croissant" - but the French would die... more like small NYC pastries) at the various times of day we emerge, c) we can sit without paying table prices, and d) the people are nice and interesting. We rejected "Pink Bar," which charged us extra for cafe' americano - after all, it's just an espresso with hot water.

We've narrowed the hunt to 3, all of which have good coffee:

1) the bright bar with yellow awnings and guys in black shirts with their names on the sleeves right next to the big open market at Piazza San Giovanni di Dio - they seem nice, but "under new management" (nuova gestione) always makes us nervous + it's the prime coffee bar for the market - so very busy with comings and goings, esp. take-out espressos by the dozens. A plus, it's the closest.

2) the bar down the street a piece; seems a tad above the working class clientele - clean, again bright and modern, mid-sized, a couple tables inside and out, but too sterile? uneven response to us - sometimes nice, sometimes cold.

3) what we've taken to calling "Fellini Bar" is really "Old Moon Bar" (photo left), but Fellini to us because the clientele runs the gamut and they sell everything - from tea sets to whipped cream (we saw Mama make it while a customer waited) to their own, supposedly, pastries, to hardback comic books... well, I've only scratched the surface--it's a bit dark and crowded with merchandise and people, and it likes to think it's a cocktail bar in the evening. Likely we can't sit for free (signs saying Euro 2 for a coffee at a table), but today they were open on the holiday - Pasquetta - and gave us some free colombo (the sweet Italian Easter cake shaped like a dove - a colombo)... so maybe we're making an impression... what kind, I can only guess.

Stay tuned for the final results. We need to decide soon, or no one will think we're loyal - and loyalty is big here.

Oh, and an addition to our sidebar on "How to order coffee" in our book - be sure you say hello and goodbye... A "buon giorno" is required as you walk in the door, and an "arrivederci" as you leave (our friend Jerry pointed out we missed that in the book - for the next edition).

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