Mar 26, 2011

Post Meridiem Cappuccino (screw the etiquette)

Luigi "Gigi" Santoro's cappuccino artistry

I'm a cappuccino person.
And I confess, I do cappuccino after 11 a.m.

It's the American in me, although I don't drink cappuccino at restaurants after a meal of say, fried calamari and puttanesca. Italian coffee fundamentalists insist having cappuccino after 11 a.m. is sacrilege (tsk tsk tsk, "all that milk on a full stomach!" headshake). But if the mood is right, the foam is thick, and the barista is an artist, I will indulge in the occasional afternoon cap.

This pictured above is one of the best cappuccinos I've had in a while. Just don't tell Giovanni, the man who's been pouring my breakfast at the counter and saving me a warm cornetto for the past 12 years.

This here is the work of a gentleman named Luigi Santoro, and his caffeinated expression of creative skill is hard to beat. Flavor, texture, aroma... perfection in 5 sips.

The name of his little hole in the wall cafe says it all.
Luigi "Gigi" Santoro's cappuccino artistry

Locals, tourists and students from nearby John Cabot University flock here in droves to savor Luigi's artistic cappuccino, but also for the kosher/parve breakfast pastries; for the pastrami sanwiches (yes–you read correctly, my American expat friends: pastrami-stuffed pizza bianca), and Roscioli bakery products. Besides superior quality ingredients and coffee beans, exemplary craftsmanship, and cordial service, prices are convenient too–considering the centro storico. In my neighborhood, at least, nobody sells cappuccino for €1.

Before each food walk I lead in the area, I always stop by at Luigi's to coat my upper lip with creamy coffee deliciousity. Regardless of what time it is.

Bar Del Cappuccino
Via Arenula, 50
Tel. +39 06 68806042
Bus 63 – 271 – 630 – 780 – Tram 8
Bar del Cappuccino in Rome


  1. If you lead me here, I will buy you anything you desire.

  2. good for you lola - i've ordered cappuccino in the afternoon while traveling in italy (in which case it's good to be a blissfully ignorant foreigner) - so it's refreshing to know a real italiani like you sneaks one once in a while ;-)


  3. Beautiful! I'm a cappuccino girl, too. Good to know there's a pastrami waiting for me in Rome for my next visit!

  4. I don't know what I like best, the beautiful cappuccino, the price, or the folks sitting outdoors. Come sono belli!

  5. E - the last comment was from me :) not coach G

  6. love that picture outside the bar...
    iv passed by here like 484059 times and never stopped in.. i heard from friends its sweet....

    i guess its one of those million things in rome you never get aaround to

  7. Elenora..I cannot imagine having a beautiful cup of cappuccino like this placed in front of me at ANY time of the day. To destroy that artistic flower of cream seems criminal, but forget that. I bet the taste is to die for. Love this post.

  8. I'm with you on cappuccino philosophy My landlady (straight up Florentine) & I had this discussion over afternoon cappuccini the other day. She also wants her cappuccino when she wants it and doesn't care what time of day it is (again, except after dinner here - big no-no). I tend to agreee that here, espresso & sambuca make a great meal ending. I have favorite bars that I'll frequent in the "after lunch hours" just to observe the older Italian women coming out of the cappuccino closet. It's beautiful. Life is short - enjoy it your way! <3

  9. What a great looking cappuccino, like you I indulge after 11am but only ever before lunch :)

  10. Went looking for the cafe's web site after reading your post -- there's a photo of the pastrami & it looks amazing!

    Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!

  11. That is one gorgeous looking cappuccino. Maybe one day, I can indulge in one at this bar.

  12. It looks a perfect place, and a perfect cappuccino. I don't hold with any of these restrictions people put on food, or indeed on clothes either. Many of my friends now won't drink coffee after noon in case they don't sleep. I prefer to live "dangerously", and for now, it doesn't affect my sleep.
    The price of €1 had my mouth hanging open! I soooo want to do one of your foodie tours!

  13. touch my heart!! On our very first trip to Italy my husband and I went to eat dinner at something like 5 pm (wondered why the restaurant was so empty!) and after eating a delicious, politely-served meal, ordered cappuccini...also politely served to us. I am sure we were the topic of comments in the kitchen! :-)

  14. Jeff~
    Deal. Bring your credit card.

    Many of us do...

    Valerie F.S.~
    Delizioso! Hopefully we can meet too.

    It's all the exquisite elements! All here waiting for you.

    I always do that: comment with my other accounts... ;)

    I know me too! then one day I happens to walk in... and it was love.

    Thanks, glad you like it. The taste is beyond words.

    I love the concept of cappuccino closet drinking! After dinner is indeed inconceivable, but now I'm craving caffé corretto alla sambuca.

    Caffeine has no perking up effect on me, to the contrary. So I can have it in the afternoon and not suffer insomnia, ever.

    I didn't know they had a website. I'm gld you enjoyed this. Baci

    Oh, you must! ;)

    What are you waiting for?! All roads lead to Rome... hint hint.

  15. Patricia~
    Well dinner at 5 pm (not even the waiters eat that soon) and after-dinner cappuccino labels clients as Americani, which is a good thing because servers know what that means in terms of tipping.
    Conversely, if you asked for grated parmesan on your seafood–veritable no-no dining clichĂ©–that may have stirred some harsher words in the kitchen...

  16. If only you could get cappuccino in the UK like this, not the over-priced, watered down, over-sized all day stuff they sell here at places like Costa, Nero, Starbucks etc. Looks great! Bill

  17. Bill~
    I agree. But hey, some folks actually like that kind of diluted, portable caffeinated beverage. I personally don't, but I had clients last week tell me that, "What Rome needs is a Starbucks, because the coffee here is terrible." Go figure.

  18. In both pictures, the location of the coffee spoon disturbs me greatly. The spoon belongs on the far side of the saucer with the bowl facing left. That's just where it goes, and anyone who claims otherwise is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!!!

  19. I've noticed the barriers to capuccino in the afternoon are falling, especially in Rome where I've had friends prescirbed it as part of a weight-loss diet. The looks of horror still appear if used as an after-lunch espresso substitute (unless it was a "breakfast-as-lunch"

    Roscioli is a cool place for a small group to have intimate wine and cheese to. Been so ling since I've been there. The pastrami shouldn't be so and near the ghetto are the only places I've found it in Italy

  20. There is one (and only one) place that I have found in my neck of the woods that beckons me for an afternoon coffee treat. No sweetness - just creaminess. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon where winter still reigns.

  21. That looks like a good coffee, and good coffee can be drank anytime! I'll have to try to pop in the next time I'm in Rome!

  22. It is a masterpiece - almost too good to destroy!! I also enjoy a cappuccino at any time of day...

    I have been reading back, and usual enjoy all your posts. was horrified about those micro cars, and their dreadful occupants. Quite shocking!!

  23. Cyberquill~
    Oh, you're right, damn it! Sir.

    I have a penchant for Roscioli, it's my new favorite place, be it grocery shopping or carbonara eating.

    It is a treat, and that's how I justify my afternoon habit with the fundamentalists.

    You should! Here's their website too:

    Grazie! A presto.

    I had one today, and the barista changed the design in the foam, from a tulip to an apple. When I sipped it, the apple became a strawberry :)

  24. I love your blog though I haven't visited in a while. I just copied your recipe for Pastiera - I didn't realise the "wheat" was buckwheat. I may be able to find that here. I have made it before but with rice and wasn't that over the moon about it. My Calabrian cousins rave about it. So armed with your recipe I will try again this Easter. Thank you!
    Cappuccino in my town is drunk morning, noon and night. Though I have to say, I prefer it only in the morning. But that one looks like one to be drunk at any given opportunity. Can't wait to go to Italy!

  25. Il BAR del Cappuccino I always saw it but never entered it. Since I often pass before it, I'll give it a try. You are the expert Eleonora!

    Man of Roma

  26. you've brought back sweet memories of when we lived in Trastevere and walked across Ponte Garibaldi to enjoy a cappuccino at that very bar. Bellissimo.

  27. Marcellina~
    Did you find the product link in my online store?

    Thanks my friend. Do try it, it serves unfailing good cappuccino and always accompanied with a smile. Great pastrami sandwishes too!!!

    I bet you did, if I lived so close to it, I would be crossing that river many times a day just to enjoy their cappuccinos ;)

  28. Sorry we missed this little place when last in Rome. My daughters and I invariably had a last cappucino each night at 10 or 11 o'clock! To heck with tradition, we looked forward to it after days of shopping! Thanks for the tip. Kayti

  29. I moved back to the States almost 4 years ago and I STILL crave the pastrami sanwiches. Hands down, THE BEST I have ever tasted!

  30. Kayti~
    Sorry for the ridiculously delayed reply to your kind comment! When in Rome, don't miss this place :)

    I know, right?!?! I love how they load it in that crips piadina bread, along with all the other fixings... drooling.