caffe bene


After seven warm winters in Southern California and Houston, a November Manhattan day was cold, let alone fatigue from the long hours of walking. A cafe visit is not an option but mandatory during a travel, and my intention was to avoid Starbucks Coffee, which is an easy and familiar stop, even though I am not necessarily against this mega-coffee brand.  Provided the art of travel is experiencing unfamiliarity, I needed some strangeness.

The caffe bene in Manhattan wasn’t in my mind as I Googled two non-franchise cafes, both of which received good reviews. I walked blocks to find the first choice but it did’t have tables! And then the second choice was the same. Yes, it was Manhattan. As I desperately needed some place to sit, I changed my direction to caffe bene (Broadway + 49th, New York) instead.

caffe bene is a Korea-based coffee franchise and with one branch in the US. The cafe was a two-story roomy book cafe, providing a cozy and warm atmosphere and lots of room to suit many cafe activities from relaxing/reading/studying to filling an empty stomach.

Waffle station next to the cashier. She seemed tired.

I ordered a regular brewed coffee and a waffle with blueberry and cream, which came to $8.93 so was okay, but the waffle baking took a while. If I knew, I wouldn’t have ordered it, though. In addition to the baking time, the quality of the waffle wasn’t as good as the cafe’s ambience. The waffle-baker looked tired, which explains the waffle quality. Neither was the coffee.  Maybe I expected too much from this cafe, which already provides good seating space in a comfortable seating in Manhattan.

Upstairs. Roomy and cozy so one can spend hours under a warm lighting.

caffe bene

Downstairs.

Although the foods were so-so, I loved the ambience of the cafe and wished there was one like this nearby. Very comfortable. Maybe too comfortable so that two Starbucks customers took a spot upstairs. See below. Haha.

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