Caffè Culture, Rome
Concierge.com's insider take:
Coffee punctuates the Roman day with a regularity that is almost monastic. The first shot—usually in the form of a cappuccino—is generally downed in one's local bar; unless you happen to be doing business over breakfast, it's swallowed rapidly at the counter, a brief blip in the streamlined morning rush. Another dose of caffeine midmorning fuels busy Romans through the energy trough and marks the last opportunity for diluting the beverage with milk. After lunch and dinner (when many Romans resort to decaf so as not to be kept awake), a short, sharp shot of caffè—an espresso—is de rigueur, and a cappuccino is simply unthinkable.
Every Roman has his or her favorite bar, but most agree that the ne plus ultra of coffee is found at Sant'Eustachio, a diminutive place near the Pantheon that has been roasting its own beans since 1938. Its standout is the gran caffè, a double espresso with a creamy foam on top; it comes already sugared, so specify "amaro" (bitter) if you prefer it without (82 Piazza Sant 'Eustachio; 39-06-6880-2048; www.santeustachioilcaffe.it; daily 8:30–1 am). Closely rivaling Sant'Eustachio is the Tazza d'Oro, right by the Pantheon, which also does a superb coffee granita in summer (84 Via degli Orfani; 39-06-678-9792; www.tazzadorocoffeeshop.com).