Classy, old school Italian café that seems to have transported from a quiet Rome corner through some freakish time portal. Now it's run by Latinos playing Spanish radio stations and surrounded by a misfit neighborhood. Small space facing Market St. with marble covering countertops, mini café tables, and other surfaces. Sandwiches, salads, and soups, but its primarily a classic espresso bar. Quiet and almost museum-like, with large bay windows, fine wood detailing, ornamental light fixtures and Venetian glass chandeliers, mirrors, and tall ceilings in an ornamental old building. Well-heeled clientele from the neighboring government offices.
Using a two-group Faema Nostop, they serve espresso with a medium brown, striped crema of once moderate thickness, but today it seems to run more thin and pale. It has also declined from a smooth tobacco flavor with no bitterness and some caramel-like sweetness to a weaker, watered-down smoky flavor. This seems to be caused by a recent tendency for the staff to serve gargantuan pours. Ask for a short shot, and hopefully it will taste less like the scene of an arson investigation. They have been capable of much better espresso in recent years. (Briefly closed in 2011 and since reopened.)