European Cafés in the United States That Make You Feel Like You’re Overseas
There’s something about the calm, orderly buzz of European café, be it in a lively Italian piazza or a quiet French spot somewhere off the beaten paths of Paris. Capturing the different vibes of Europe stateside is no easy feat, but the experience comes in all shapes and sizes—these are some of our all-time favorites from New York to Los Angeles.
Little Dom’s Restaurant (Los Angeles, CA): Little Dom’s in Los Angeles is an adorable Italian grandmother in restaurant form, just waiting to feed you its daily specialties at any hour. Between the restaurant and counter, this place is a go-to, especially the casual self-seating on weekdays from 10:00am to 4:00pm—this is the best time to pop in and grab a coffee and a bite, although technically, any time is a great time to visit. (📷: @saradinkin) Lucien (New York City, NY): Lucien is an unassuming yet charming French spot in NYC’s Lower East Side. This place has been around forever and is beloved by Manhattanites and visitors alike—it’s somewhere between a bistro, brasserie, and café, and you can expect French classics like soupe à l'oignon, cassoulet, and profiteroles. You probably won’t see coffee on the menu, but all you have to do is ask (after dinner, if you want to blend in). (📷: @peachytravels) Konditori (NYC & Philadelphia): Simple and stark in design, Scandi coffee houses focus on the coffee itself while everything else magically falls into place. Konditori has the Swedish café experience down to a science in New York City. Its Philadelphia location is great as well—pull up a chair, connect to the free wifi, and watch the world go by from the sweeping windows. (📷: @dancingwithflyingcolors, @darkmintdaisy) Cafe du Monde (New Orleans, LA): If you’ve ever set foot in New Orleans, you’ve likely experienced the old-world dreamscape that is Café du Monde in the city’s French Market. It’s essentially a rite of passage for any visitor, and whether you sit outside on the covered patio or inside with a view of the bakers at work, you’ll never forget the sugar-dusted beignet and coffee combo for which this bakery is known.
Some more fun info about European cafés:
Truth be told, the term “café” is somewhat loose and often differs depending which European country you find yourself in, and it rarely involves just coffee—for example, in France, you can grab a quick, no-frills allongé from a tabac (a cigarette booth that sells tons of other things, like train tickets and phone cards), or you can sit outside at a bistro or brasserie and knock back a double espresso after lunch while the surrounding tables work their way through steak frites and salades niçoises.
In Italy, you can sit down and have your morning cappuccino (or “cappuccio,” if you’re local) in a bakery or tabacchi and be on your way in five minutes flat.