This café opened in September 2005, replacing the barely noteworthy Cool Beans — one grungy café among many in a series of ownership changes at this location. The new proprietor, Antonio, brings a clear Italian flair to this location (he even answers the phone, “Pronto!”).

However, when you approach it, you might mistake it for a Mexican burrito joint. In front are brightly colored Miscela d’Oro parasols over two sidewalk tables. Inside are a few more small café tables and an Italian decorative flair (they cleaned up the place), Internet access, and a flat screen TV airing RAI International. And yes, Antonio airs all the Serie A calcio matches in the café — and he is a fellow juventino (a Juventus fan, like myself). While there, I couldn’t help but get hooked in a conversation about Francesco Totti‘s broken ankle injury over the weekend’s matches.

Patio in front of Caffé del Sole Inside Caffé del Sole

So it wasn’t easy to leave my biases at the door after all this. Despite them all, I can safely say that this café is surprisingly very good for the neighborhood. (It’s not all Italian, as the morning barista when I was there spoke no Italian, a little English, and mostly Spanish — which made me dust off my high school lessons.) From a two-group Elektra machine, they serve espresso properly short, dark, and sweet in handpainted Italian ceramic cups decorated with the Caffé del Sole name on them. (They also use Miscela d’Oro logo cups for their larger format, milk-based espresso drinks.) And while you’d expected imported (an often pre-ground) Miscela D’oro beans to be a bit stale from the overseas transport and storage, the resulting shot is potent, rich, slightly syrupy, and with a pungent base flavor. The crema is a beautiful reddish dark brown.

And in the morning they warm up fresh chocolate and white cream cornetti (essentially Italian for croissant) — so good they reminded me of the bakery I used to visit down the street from an apartment I rented in Ravello a few years ago. This place is absolutely worth a visit.

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Caffé del Sole espresso in a hand-painted cup