Come for the cappuccinos and stay for the food in this quaint, historic establishment in Greenwich Village. While the space packs quickly on the weekend, the weekday lunch atmosphere is cool and relaxing, perfect for the funemployed that want to hole up in a cozy corner all day.
Ever wonder where the first cappuccino in America was made? Neither did I until I happened to step into Caffe Reggio, drawn in by its bright green exterior and charming little cafe tables on the street. But so the restaurant claims, the original owner of Caffe Reggio brought his massive bronze espresso machine into Mannahatta and whipped up the first in 1927. With such a colorful history, I had high expectations for the coffee here, and it certainly lives up to its hype. The cappuccino was subtle with chocolatey and woody hints, and I probably could have sipped down three over the course of my lunch, but that's an addiction I'm not yet willing to face. The prices too are some of the most reasonable in the area (well, the large cappuccino won't set you back more than a grande at Starbucks at least).
For lunch, the Torino panini was the perfect complement to my coffee, with brie, avocado, and dill grilled between a fresh, crunchy, and every so slightly oiled Italian bread. The Roma panini is another well priced and portioned choice, with creamy ricotta, roasted eggplant, and peppery arugula that satisfy the craving for a hearty and earthy Italian sandwich around midday. With such a delightful and unpretentious space, I'm definitely coming back for breakfast, particularly since I saw a neighboring table order some eggs benedict that have almost never looked better.