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Aug 31, 2006 09:06 PM

Best Latte or Cappucino

Hey Hounds,

THere was an espresso thread here recently, but I'm wondering what y'all think of the current standard of latte or cappucino making in the city?

Twofold reason for asking: I was in Sant Ambroeus on W4th St this morning and had a delicious cappucino. It was so good, I followed up with a latte, which was equally good (mind you, the two espressos nearly undid me!) But, one, the coffee was evidently of high quality. As good as it gets in Manhattan? That's the question. And, two, the milk was steamed to perfect temperature. Steamed, not scalded, as is usually the case in New York coffee shops, including Starbucks, where they use milk thermometers, presumably to avoid scalding the milk. The result is always a spoiled coffee, with burnt lips and tongue to add injury to insult.

Where else can an occasional coffee drinker like me go for such a rich, almost sinful, treat?

- Sean

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  1. Via Quadronno - amazing cappucino - probably the only place I've had one in the last three years. I walk down from Carnegie Hill through the park and then head there (73d, between 5th & Madison) for a cappucino before walking home. If they are busy and there's no place to sit, you can get your cappucino in a real cup and drink it outside and then return it. Perfect for those of us with dogs. Tastes better than in the paper cup. I also buy the beans there when I feel like splurging - Antica Tostatura Triestina.


    PS - Found this series of photos - correctly made espresso and incorrectly made espresso - I wish it could be posted city wide. I can tell just by the steam coming off of one that it is going to be bitter and nasty - I guess the "overly extracted" category.


    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Agree 100% on Via Quadronno. They serve the only cappucino in NYC that I've had that compares favorably with the cappucino one finds in Italy. Recently someone told me that the same people who own Via Quadronno also own Sant Ambroeus, so I'm not surprised by your positive report.

      1. re: Desidero

        Interesting - kind of surprises me - or at least, on the website they only show VQ and Bottega del Vino - but certainly could be.

        Sant Ambroeus website doesn't suggest any connection - sounds like it is still in the same family.


    2. Taralucci i Vino - was in the E. Village, now in Union Square. Best Cappucino I've had in the city. Enjoy!

      1. Interesting about the Via Quadronno - Sant Abroeus connection.

        I work on Carnegie Hill, and as much as I like Yura's for soup, I hate their coffee (the guy making the lattes yesterday was almost comically ham-fisted!). I'll check it out.

        - Sean

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sean Dell

          I only buy the black coffee from Yura - and only if I'm feeling really lazy in the morning, and iced with a lot of milk.

        2. One of the best lattes I had in NY is at Porto Rico which is on Bleecker near 6th street. You cannot have your coffee inside, like at Starbuck's, but there are benches outside so you sit down and watch people go by...it is quite pleasant and the coffee is awesome!

          1. In my opinion, the best espresso drinks in Manhattan are made at two places in the village: Joe & 9th St. Espresso. Granted these are coffee shops and are therefore much more casual than a place like St. Ambroeus, but the espresso, macchiato, cappucino, and latte at those two places are outstanding.

            4 Replies
            1. re: billyeats

              I'll second 9th St Espresso. Best macchiato in the city this side of the big pond.

              1. re: billyeats

                I second Joe's. The art of cappucino relies on skilled baristas (Joe's are exceedingly well-trained) and freshly-roasted beans (Joe's gets theirs from Barrington Coffee almost every other day). St. Ambroeus uses Danesi beans, which are vacuum-sealed from Italy, but hardly fresh roasted. It does make a difference.

                1. re: BGRose

                  I can only vouch for Joe (Art of Coffee)'s regular coffee, which is the best I've ever had in the city.

                2. re: billyeats

                  I third Joe's! They serve an amazing latte, and I also love the mocha which is rich and cocoy.