Café Reggio is a hidden gem tucked away amid all the shit on MacDougal and W. 3rd in the West Village. It’s a little run down from the outside, but that’s just because the place hasn’t changed in a hundred years (not hyperbole). Inside, you are greeted by the sights and smells and the unmistakable ambience of Old Europe. The décor is gaudy, dark, cluttered, like walking into the drawing room of an old Italian Lord. From their website:
“A dramatic 16th century painting from the school of Caravaggio and an antique bench which once belonged to the Medici family bearing the Florentine crest of the illustrious Medici family are among the works that impart a feeling of grace and warmth to Caffe Reggio.”
But their real claim to fame is their “magnificent espresso machine”, which they say produced the first cappuccinos in the USA. I don’t know if that’s exactly true, but whether or not they were the first who introduced Amuhricans to their Europe’s fine coffee drinks, they are still providing them to us. The original espresso machine is still there, but it is just a relic now. Some younger, sleeker, faster model has replaced it, and so it goes.
Once you walk inside, the paintings, the classical music, and the unmistakable smell of European coffee bring you back to a simpler time when philosophies were discussed over espresso rather than on comment streams on YouTube. They have a lite fare, very affordable, and perfectly proportioned. These sandwiches, soups, panini et al are a far cry from your normal mammoth-overstuffed-giant portions-reason-we’re-so-fat American fare and are daintily, pleasurably, European. They have some great selections, including the Milano, a panino with asparagus, fontina, and tomatoes; or the Tre, with avocado, swiss, lettuce, and tomatoes. And of course, the coffee is excellent.
By: Ben Britz