|Customers crowding inside the cafe|
Located right at Piazza Sant' Eustachio, which is sandwiched between the tourist landmarks Pantheon and Piazza Navona, Sant' Eustachio Il Caffe was happily (and serendipitously) located literally two corners away from my hotel! YES!!! ;-D [with matching fist pump]
Started in 1938, they import Arabica beans from such far-flung places as Ethiopia, Guatemala, Galapagos Islands and the like; and the coffee beans are wood-roasted right in their premises.
One of the rare shops that do not take a day off, it is open till quite late (up to 1 AM in certain days of the week). And there is a steady stream of customers at most hours, a mixture of locals/regulars and curious tourists (like moi).
|Photo of menu|
The ordering process is quite simple: Just go to the cashier and inform him of your order and pay. He curtly nods and says "Prego", and gives you a stub, which you then present to the barista. He curtly nods at you. Then you wait. He hands you your drink, and upon hearing you say thanks in your best Italian imitation accent, says "Prego." Yup, no put-on cheerfulness ala Starbucks here! (haha)
What adds to the mystique of this coffee place is that they have a mini-wall or screen which obscures the coffee machines behind the bar. Thus, customers are not able to see how their espresso, etc. are being made. Supposedly this is to guard their "secret" process of making the coffee drinks.
My particular elixir. . .err, caffeine fix of choice was the Gran Caffe' Especial (EURO 2.60), as pictured below.
By default, it is already sweetened before being served (which is contrary to common practice of other coffee shops), so be sure to specify if you want it "bitter" when you order.
I don't know what alchemy goes on behind that screen, but this coffee is seriously pretty good. No, not just good; it was great! Full-bodied. Bold, yet smooth. No bitter taste. Totally lived up to its billing as the "best espresso" in Rome. I could drink 4 cups of this every day!
They have a few outdoor tables. Please be warned, though, that just like other food establishments, the prices for sitting on a table ("waiter service") and drinking while standing at the bar are different. In the case of Sant' Eustachio Il Caffe, they tack on a EURO 2.50 charge per product.
So, dear reader, next time you're in Rome, do as the Romans (and non-Romans) do, and drop by here for your espresso fix!
Sant’Eustachio Il Caffé
Piazza Sant’Eustachio 82
00186, Rome, Italy.