Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rome (Italy): Antico Caffe Greco

Antico Caffe Greco

If you are in Vienna, you shouldn't give the Sacher Cafe a miss.

If you are Venice, Cafe Florian (established in 1720) is not to be missed for being the oldest cafe in Italy. Moreover, to be able to spend a night in St Mark's Square, sitting under the stars listening to the orchestra play, is a magical moment one would not want to miss.

Now, if you are in Rome, Antico Caffe Greco, located right opposite Gucci, is a must-visit for it is perhaps the best known and oldest bar in Rome. Why so? According to our local guide, Merissa, this cafe is opened by a Greek which is also the inventor for espresso.

Fountain of the Barcaccia

Anyway, for those who are curious where this cafe is, it is near the metro station, Spagna but here is a warning, although the tourist maps and website mention that this mode of transport operates till 11:30pm, Line A actually operates till 9pm everyday except Saturdays. Anyway, upon exiting near the station, one will not miss the Trinità dei Monti with the famous Spanish Steps leading towards a square (Piazza di Spagna) with The Fountain of the Barcaccia in the centre. A quick glance will allow one to spot Gucci along the stretch of big names and Antico Caffe Greco is just round the corner.

Piazza Navona

For those who has watched Angels and Demons, Piazza di Spagna is within walking distance to
  • the Pantheon (the mistaken "Earth place"),
  • Piazza Navona where the Fountain of the Four Rivers is ("Water place") and
  • Piazza del Popolo ("People's Square) where one can locate the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo which houses the Chigi Chapel ("Earth" place)

Antico Caffe Greco Interior

Anyway, we concluded this place to have the best coffee for this trip, decent cakes and a unique ordering system. Although the items served are not cheap, there is no one at the door so one is free to enter the cafe and just pick any seats. A waiter will just take the order for your drinks and one will need to proceed to the counter to order the pastries or cakes. An order chit is given to you and this needs to be passed back to the waiters.

Antico Caffe Greco Display

Italy is the only country in Europe with no Starbucks for they believe coffee is to be served plain, with milk or with cream. Hence, we did what the Romans do and ordered a cup of Caffe Espresso (6 EUR, SGD$10.60) and a cup of Iced Cappuccino (8 EUR, SGD$14.10).

Caffe Espresso & Iced Cappuccino

What can I said, this is the first time I have enjoyed a coffee so much with no additional flavorings nor chocolate. The coffee is not at all overpowering nor heaty and the taste of the coffee is just so fragrance, leaving a nice aftertaste after taking every sip.

Chocolate Tart

No fanciful names, ordered a chocolate cake (10 EUR, SGD$17.65), which is made up of a simple sponge, raspberry jam, chocolate cream with peanut bits. Overall, a light taste and we described it to be simple with a bit of old school touch. Yea, we know, the price tag is alittle steep for such a description but trust us, don't miss out on their coffees.

Fruit Tart

Fruit tart (10 EUR, SGD$17.65), is a typical tart with a soft pastry shell and although there is nothing to shout about, it is the same simplicity shared with the chocolate cake that makes us wipe our plates clean. Get the hang of it?

Antico Caffe Greco
Via Condotti 84,
00187 Rome
Tel: 06 6791700


ice said...

The fruit tart looks absolutely delicious. But the pastries & coffee are all so expensive.

Fen said...

Indeed they are. In fact, Yuan overheard the waiter telling some of the American kids to visit another cafe as this is quite steep and they took his advice.

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