Cafe Smeraldo (or, Why Wait for the Morning to Regret?)


Located just opposite Monopoli’s main square, it goes without saying that Cafe Smeraldo is an eternally popular place merely by way of location. Not only in this way does Smeraldo remind one of a cafe at a train station, which is to say it’s the most convenient place to  get something better served up the road. I’m not saying that Smeraldo doesn’t serve up a decent cappuccino, they do, but in Italy decent doesn’t cut it, not when you have cafes like Roma and Napoli mere meters away.

The cornetto too, is nothing more than to be expected… If you’re an out of towner who’s never had a fresh one before though again, decent and absolutely better than the ones you’ll get in the airport, but still lackluster. One can draw an allusion to the cafe itself, a sticky, messy affair that, while satisfying a temporary urge won’t exactly have you recalling it later either.

Another thing that distinguishes the cafe from the rest is that apparently this is where every older man in the vicinity comes to while away the morning. You’d think they’d know better, but if there’s one thing I’ve come to realize while living here it’s that loyalty to a certain cafe, whether because you and the owner go way back or because he bought your macchiato once, trumps quality and taste. It’s a clever ploy on the part of the owners then, when a good recommendation to your granddaughter on where to stage her nuptials is tantamount to making her grandfather a lifetime customer.

The coffee served here is Rosito, one of the more popular in the area, but the baristas behind the counter are just concerned with quickly serving the other customers before returning to chat up the regulars at the bar. Which is great if you’re a regular, but supposing you’re a tourist passing through, or just someone who wants the best coffee around, then read on… And save Smeraldo for a day when you’re in a rush and can’t walk the extra 50 meters to Roma.

Address Corso V. Emanuele n. 74 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 3154 Website  N/A


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