Caffe Reggio

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86 Very Good

Greenwich Village’s oldest cafe has served up espresso and Italian pastries since 1927.

119 MacDougal St., New York, NY, 10012


Known For

The lowdown

There is no better relic of Greenwich Village’s café society than this lovely lair, filled with tiny marble-topped tables, iron-backed chairs, ornately carved wooden benches, gorgeous school of Caravaggio paintings, and other art pieces dating back to Renaissance Italy. Featured as a backdrop in classic New York movies like The Godfather and Serpico, the Village’s oldest coffeehouse (since 1927) has harbored bohemians for decades, most notably Beat Generation poets like Kerouac and Corso. The spot is also storied to have introduced cappuccino to New York when the original owner spent a then-ungodly $1,000 to import an espresso machine (the chrome-and-bronze beauty still on display) from Italy. While strong coffee drinks from macchiatos to hazelnut cappuccinos are what crowd the tables most, the café also serves satisfying crepes and omelettes, unremarkable pastas like penne in pesto, and serviceable sandwiches like warmed-over panini stuffed with good-quality mozzarella, pesto, and sweet red peppers. But the young bookworms, lovers, and nostalgic regulars prefer Italian pastries to go along with their joe, like the flaky sfogliatella, overstuffed with a mellow, creamy ricotta, the crispy cannolis dotted with chocolate chips, or fountain treats like banana splits generously topped with fresh whipped cream. Still, the careful coffeemaking and cursory menu items are beside the point: it’s the café’s lush, antique surroundings that draw devotees most.

What you need to know

Recommended DishesSfogliatella; cannoli; panini with pesto, mozzarella, and red pepper.

DrinksNo Alcohol

Noise LevelCivilized