Cafe Latté can be found on the historic Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota. It’s a family owned restaurant that has many areas of focus including gourmet pizza, a bakery, and a cafeteria-style eatery. This restaurant is the best in the city and one of my all time favorite places to eat.
The sprawling restaurant has many sides. On one side sits the gourmet pizza counter. They have many styles of pizza and will make them while you wait. This definitely isn’t your ordinary pizza parlor. You can order pepperoni if you aren’t feeling very brave, but that isn’t their specialty. Cafe Latté instead focuses on unique gourmet offerings such as Margherita, Pesto, and Barbecue Chicken Potato pizzas.
Next to the pizza counter you’ll find a bakery with a wide array of desserts and breads. Although their cakes, tortes, and tarts can be a bit pricey at more that $25 dollars a pop, you are getting a high quality dessert. You can really taste the difference when you compare their offerings with the likes of Cub Foods. They also carry many different kinds of fresh breads. If you don’t want to spend a lot on bread, they offer day-old bread at a drastically reduced price. Although it’s a day old, the bread still tastes as fresh as if you bought it the day before.
The most notable section of the restaurant is the café. You pick your food in a cafeteria style line in which they offer individual slices of dessert, salads, sandwiches, dip platters, and soup. The menu is always changing. You could go there two nights in a row and not be offered the same dishes, but you will always be offered great tasting food. Be careful about how much food you pile onto your tray, though. Many people, including myself, have made the mistake of taking much more food than they could ingest. If you choose a dessert, small salad, and a sandwich, you will have more than enough food and will likely have leftovers. Keep an eye on what you eat!
Although I feel that Cafe Latté can’t go wrong when it comes to food quality and taste, it is fairly expensive. An individual dinner with dessert and a drink can cost more than $15. Keep an eye on what you choose to eat, because the bill can add up quickly. I often only eat there on special occasions or when I’m in the mood to spend a little more money than normal.
Seating can sometimes be a problem. Although the establishment has a second floor devoted to seating, as well as the booths that are fit in on the main floor, it’s still often a pain to find a place to sit. To add to the troubles, you’ll likely be carrying a tray full of heavy food as you look for your table, which can cause your arms to hurt. It’s best not to go there during peak dining hours, or you may never find a seat at all.
Parking is another concern. Grand Avenue is notorious for horrible parking. There are streets that connect to Grand, but they are permit parking, so don’t park there unless you want a ticket. There’s a parking ramp right next door, but that costs money. Your best bet is to circle the block a bit or, if you can, come during off hours so you can find a spot easier.
Grand Avenue is a busy area, not to mention Cafe Latté itself. If you come during the dinner or lunch hours, you’ll have a lot of waiting time finding a parking spot, getting your food, and finding a table. This can be a hassle for the impatient. Keep this in mind when you go there. If you go between noon and five you can take part in their ‘Afternoon Tea’. For ten dollars you receive your choice of tea along with a tray of sandwiches, scones, cookies, a slice of dessert, and chocolate hearts. If you come during off hours, this would be a good choice of meal.
The dessert to get is the Almond Fruit Tart. It’s a seasonal dish with an array of glazed strawberries, kiwi, and blueberries covering a creamy almond filling. The crust is a hard tart shell that goes perfectly with the toppings. This is my favorite dessert of all time, not just from Cafe Latté. If it’s in season when you go, be sure to pick it up. A full tart will cost around $30 but will be worth every penny.
As far as sandwiches go, the Turkey Avocado is best. You have a choice between several breads and vegetable toppings and you receive it with chips and a pickle. This is usually around $6. I recommend getting mustard on the sandwich because it complements the creamy avocado spread very nicely.
Cafe Latté on 850 Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota is the best café in the city. There are a lot of different kinds of food to satisfy even the pickiest of diners. Make sure to go during off hours to avoid traffic and lines. Although the restaurant can be expensive, the quality is enough to make up for the price.