Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Apr 11, 2007 04:05 PM

Help? Seriously great espresso... Chelsea/Flatiron

Help? All suggestions pounced on with glee and gratitude.

I've just come back from a holiday that taught me what I didn't know: espresso is GOOD. At least, in Italy it is. At my local Starbucks... not so much. Ok. Not at all. (Which you knew all along, of course. I, of course, wasn't paying attention. Who cares, really, what with all that milk?)

So. Great espresso. The kind that isn't burnt, isn't over-acid, isn't thin. Ideally from kind of coffee bar where a person can wander in for a quick, not too expensive hit... and then get out. And come back again the next day... Chelsea/flatiron, ideally, but great locations in village/Tribeca/UES/Hoboken would also be fantastic.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think the best espresso in the area you're looking for is Cafe Grumpy (20th St b/t 7th & 8th).
    Even better is Ninth Street Espresso (9th & Ave C and their new outlet at 13th St b/t 4th & B'Way), with a close second going to Joe, the Art of Coffee (Waverly & Gay St), and a third to Jack's Stir Brew (W. 10th b/t Greenwich Ave & Waverly).

    5 Replies
    1. re: billyeats

      Brilliant! Thanks B. -- I'll report back this weekend.

      1. re: linengirl

        cool...i look forward to hearing your opinions on those places. only problem is they cost about 3 times that of espresso in italy!!!

        1. re: billyeats

          OK. Wildly caffeinated & miles to go before I... well... let's just say that this could take a few more days. A person can only take so much espresso without being a danger to friends, family, co-workers, yes? But here's the interim update.

          -- Starbucks: not drinkable. Burnt.
          -- One of my favorite local bakeries (whose name I am blanking on, of course: on 23rd at Broadway) -- excellent red velvet cake, NOT excellent espresso. Sigh.
          -- Joe, the Art of Coffee (Waverly and Gay) -- great fun and a truly beautiful cappuccino. But the espresso was... thin? Acid? Not all that. Not for me at least.
          -- 'wichcraft (20th, btween Broadway & 5th) -- better than Joe, in my opinion. It seemed a little thin vs. what I had in Italy, but it had a really beautiful crema and verged on delicious.

          Next up: Ninth Street (looking forward to this very much!), Cafe Grumpy, Jack's. Oh, and La Isla, in Hoboken. Their WONDERFUL cafe con leche gives me great hope...

          Oddly energetic, but a happy hound! Thanks B.


          1. re: linengirl

            You know, I can sort of see how you'd have that reaction to Joe. It happens to appeal to me, but that observation makes sense. I'm curious to hear what you think about 9th St Espresso. I live downtown, so those are my haunts, but other places people swear by (which are uptown) and that are more Italian style than the places I mentioned are:

            Via Quadronno
            Sant Ambroeus

            1. re: billyeats

              Ha! Glee! 9th street espresso: really thick, tongue coating stuff. (How do they do that, I'd like to know?). Not acid. Round. Gorgeous. I'm also enthralled with management rules (bathroom for customers only; be nice or go home; all unattended children will be given an espresso and a free dog...). Not, somehow, the same as what I had 2 weeks ago, but still quite wonderful. I am a happy, happy hound.

              Also tried La Isla, by the way. Or, properly, WENT to La Isla. Meant to order espresso but got sucked in by the cafe con leche, which I love most dearly, instead. So that'll have to be for another day.

              To follow (but perhaps more slowly): the three you've suggested above.

              Thanks B!

    2. I love a nice cappucino from Spoon on 20th between 5th & 6th Aves in the morning. I too find Starbucks undrinkably awful. But Spoon has a nice mellow and yet full bodied espresso coffee, and the food there is pretty darned good as well. It's primarily a little catering joint, and it's in the middle of the block and doesn't get much foot traffic so it feels like it's basically frequented by my office and the other offices on 20th St.