Cafe Napoli (or, Microwaves Cause Cancer?!)


Tucked just inside Monopoli’s Old Town, Cafe Napoli has the advantage of being in perhaps the best location in the city. Come out, make a right and you’re in its bustling, modern center or, if you prefer, make a left and you’re in the heart of the old town, just steps from the ancient cathedral, the port, and the castle looking out over the sea. While its nearest competitor, Cafe Smeraldo, is more centrally located, it’s Cafe Napoli that retains that distinguishable Italian feel. Or at least, that’s my thought before going inside.

As always I order a cappuccino and a chocolate cornetto.

“Posso avere un cappuccino e cornetto ciccolatto, per favore?” Literally, “can I have a cappuccino and a chocolate cornetto, please?”

There’s only one chocolate cornetto in the pastry case and the barman takes it out and sticks it into the microwave. Now, perhaps I’m overly sensitive about these things, but nothing ruins my appetite more than the “beep” of the microwave when it’s finished nuking whatever has been put inside. I carefully pull apart my cornetto at the table a few minutes later, wondering whether what my mother told me about microwaves being linked to cancer is true. Some things your parents tell you, no matter how absurd people tell you they are, just can’t be shaken off… And for me this is one.

Regardless of whether it will lead to my developing cancer some years down the road, this cornetto was lacking in taste. The crust was flaky but not in the “Mmm, delicious!” sort of way in which a fresh cornetto is usually delicious, but more like a flakiness that would better describe human skin that’s been in the sun too long. Now, in all fairness, I did arrive at 10:30 in the morning so the pastries likely had been sitting in the case for at least a couple of hours. As it stands now the case is almost empty. It wouldn’t bother me so much except that I know at least two other cafes in the area that serve fresh cornetti throughout the morning.

As for the cappuccino, it was certainly better than the cornetto, with the perfect amount of foam topping what was a pretty full-bodied coffee. The milk seemed fresh, and there were otherwise no complaints. It’s the kind of standard, albeit excellent, cappuccino you can come to expect in most Italian cafes.

In summary, the excellent location next to the city municipality, the extensive patio seating and the authentic Italian feel of this cafe are its attributes, as are it’s solid, no-frills coffee drinks. But for pastries, go elsewhere.

Address Via Giuseppe Garibaldi 2 Public transport N/A: It’s small town in Italy – you can walk.

Opening times As this is Italy, my putting up the hours would be pointless. Opening and closing times are completely up to the whim of the owner. Being closed on Tuesday is something you can take to the bank… though preferably not an Italian one.

Cost € Telephone 080 930 3104 Website  N/A

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