Café Venetia

Overall Rating: 7.800

Address: 419 University Ave.
Cross Street(s): Waverly St.
City, State ZIP: Palo Alto, CA 94301
Phone: 650.323.3600
Hours: M-F 7am-11pm; Sa 8am-12am; Su 8am-11pm
Type of Establishment: Espresso Bar (Chain)
Cafe Rating: 8.00
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Brasilia
Coffee Rating: 7.60
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 8
Crema: 8
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 0.0
Size: M
Primary Taste: Warming
Coffee Beans: Ca'Vè Caffè srl
Cup Manufacturer: ACF
Price: $2.00
Last Update: 11/04/2014
First Reviewed: 06/29/2011
Notes: Coffee Sales; Coffee Accessory Sales; Outdoor Seating

If you thought this looked exactly like the former Caffé del Doge, no one could fault you. This café opened in Dec 2005 as a Caffé del Doge, taking over for the once great Torrefazione Italia at this location. In July 2011 it changed names (but not owners) to the new Café Venetia chain, coinciding with the partner split from Caffé del Doge Italy where they followed the partner who founded the new Ca'Vè Caffè roaster in Mirano, Italy. They changed little besides their logo and their hokey (although Latin) new name (it's neither "Venezia" nor "Venetian"). Though you'd be hard-pressed to notice too much difference in the resulting coffee. Inside there's great counter window seating, a casual place to lounge upstairs, and limited sidewalk seating. They use two- and three-group Brasilia machines with multiple bean dispensers and Mazzer grinders to handle the variety of bean offerings. Maintaining the variety from the previous Caffé del Doge name, they offer espresso bean choices of Rosso, Nero, Blue decaf ($2), premium ($3, and typically a single origin), and gourmet ($4). All served as doppio shots. (The cappuccinos and macchiatos come in similar choices.) The Rosso is more of a straightforward blend, with a healthy medium/dark brown crema and a robusta balance in the ACF cups (they use SchönhuberFranchi cups for their cappuccinos). The flavor doesn't strike us as anything special: more of a toasted, mild spice dimension than some of the bolder flavors as when it first opened as a Caffé del Doge. The body is a bit thinner from what we remember at Caffé del Doge, however. For milk drinks their microfoam - like their latte art - is just OK, something that has been a problem here since the TI ownership change. With the most recent branding change, the cappuccino can run quite milky and more like a caffè latte, and we've noticed the consistency take a hit (runnier shots pulled, etc.). They also offer specialty drinks like the macchiatone and Cappuccino Viennese.