One of my favorite things about traveling is, to put it very simply, eating! And not just eating good food, but enjoying it in a good environment with great service, which in my mind means the people who work there are personable and friendly. Sometimes finding places like this while traveling takes being in one area or one town for a number of days, maybe a little longer than usual. Or you practically stumble across them during a quick trip, a short “you’re in and you’re out” visit. Over the past two months I had the fun and adventurous opportunity to visit Venice twice while I kept extending my time in Italy…from three weeks to five, to finally a total of over two months traveling through Italy from North to South. Each visit in Venice turned out to be for at least a week, so by my second visit I had found my favorite cafe that was great for all times of the day. What does this mean for you? Good thing I found the Caffe Brasilia and good thing you found me 🙂
There are few places that can provide great food and wonderful people and service for all times of the day, yet I certainly found it in the Caffe Brasilia. It’s the place I loved going to for everything from breakfast to lunch, snacks and mid-afternoon coffees, and one of the best aperitivos I came to enjoy in Venice. The location is near La Fenice Theater (the famous historic Opera House) and on the corner of two intersecting small pathways in the maze that makes Venice, Venice. It consist of one large open space that is cozy and comfortable with indoor and outdoor seating.
Their coffee is wonderfully fresh and made in a variety of ways for those that prefer American style versus the traditional Italian espresso. I still recommend the Italian espresso for the experience and because there’s nothing more true about experiencing coffee than un espresso. Or enjoy your milk as well and indulge with a classic cappuccino. And now that I think back to it, they do that light dusting of cocoa powder that beautifully highlights the swirly design they expertly create in the foam of their cappuccinos…hmmm…appealing to the eyes and delicious! If you feel like a juice, you can enjoy a centrifuge at any time of the day. This is the word in Italy for fresh squeezed juices that are made from vegetables and fruits, usually done in a juicer. They have a long menu of 8-10 different kinds that you can choose from or you can create your own. My favorite was the apple, carrot, and fresh ginger root, but I came to also love the carrot, grapefruit, and ginger combination that the cafe owner came to know as my “usual”. Several times I enjoyed their fresh salads for lunch, which are served in a large bowl and with the oil and balsamic vinegar set on the table in traditional tall glass bottles for you to add yourself. You can choose from having tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, carrots, tuna, or prosciutto for a healthy filling lunch accompanied by a side of bread or one of the paninis you can choose to have grilled.
One day I stopped in on my way to the Fenice Theater for my first opera, La Boheme (read about that story by clicking here), and I discovered their great aperitivo, which is the Italian tradition of appetizers and drinks in the afternoon. In other words, like happy hour. They had a great rose style of champagne that was amazing – not sweet, but dry, it was so refreshing for a hot afternoon. What made it even better though was the atmosphere and great people working there. During the aperitivo, two young men worked behind the counter and were gentlemen with Italian charm, to say the least. They had great style with the chalkboard they would bring out to display in bright colors the names of all the international cocktail drinks they could make. And they had great music playing a mix of anything from traditional classic Italian songs to current-day hip-hop to American classic rock…it didn’t take long to hear a familiar song to sing or hum along with.
That’s what I love about this place even more than the food and drinks…coming into the cafe and seeing the owner and the people working there smile and say “buongiorno”, “Ciao”…Getting to recognize each other and chuckling together as we conversed with knowing very little of each other’s languages…it really made me feel at home in Venice, no matter what time of day it was. So if you go to Venice, which I obviously highly recommend you do, make sure to not miss out on the Caffe Brasilia. Let me know how you much you end up lov’in it.