2014-09-17 / Restaurant of the Week

Caffé bene

By Georgina Young-Ellis

Caffé Bene is taking New York by storm with their comfortable, airy stores, delicious coffees, and scrumptious pastries. I stopped by the one on Steinway Street in Astoria the day after its grand opening on September 10 to sample the delicacies the Korea-based café offers, and I was truly impressed. First of all, the space is welcoming and clean: light wood and stone floors and walls, comfy leather and rattan chairs, free wifi…even books you can take off the shelves to peruse while you sip your beverage of choice, dive in to a delectable sandwich or focaccia, or lose yourself in one of their decadent pastries. I ordered a café au lait, coffee with hot milk, and my friend had a café mocha, espresso and mocha with steamed milk. While mine was satisfying and rich, he described his as downright pure chocolaty elegance, leaving no doubt of the quality of the espressos, cappuccinos, macchiatos, hot chocolates, bubble teas, and frappes they also serve. There are plenty of healthy drink options too, such as the pure fruit smoothies, no sugar added, in flavors like strawberrynana and mango and passionfruit, and the Misugaru, a healthy multi- grain

Photo credit: Jonathan Ellis Photo credit: Jonathan Ellis drink that’s rich in vitamins and minerals with detoxification and weight loss benefits.

But back to the sweet stuff: We sampled a multilayer cappuccino cake that just melted in the mouth, one of their signature dipped waffles coated with hazelnut chocolate sinfully wonderful and a variety of beautiful and tasty cookies in flavors like oreo, lemon and peanut butter. They make a gorgeous Gaufre de Liege, a waffle made to order with a scoop of gelato, a fabulous honey bread topped with sweet or savory choices, and a dizzying array of muffins and other pastries. The sandwiches are served on fresh hero rolls with fillings such as Asian shrimp, ham and egg, spicy or teriyaki chicken and portobella mushroom, all stuffed with baby spinach and mozzarella cheese with a variety of other tempting fillings.

C C Everything at Caffébene is made fresh daily by the company’s own kitchen, including the gelato and all their breads. It’s no wonder it is the most popular coffee franchise in Korea, and one that will rival many of the most popular in the U.S. in no time at all. There’s already a Caffébene in Times Square, one on Wall Street and one on Queens Boulevard., besides the shop I visited on Steinway between Broadway and 34th Avenue. John Kahn, the nighttime manager told us one would be debuting on Ditmars soon as well. Open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm every day, Caffébene is on its way to becoming the go-to place for New Yorkers for the quick coffee on the run, or the leisurely lunch or snack. Kahn encourages customers to come, sit, relax, bring their computers, work, read, chat, and make themselves at home. It’s a super comfy spot with so many eating and drinking delights, you’ll be impressed too.

32-14 Steinway Street
Astoria  718.777.1958


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