Sogni di Dolci

Overall Rating: 7.850


Address: 1142 Main St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Spring & Pope Sts.
City, State ZIP: St. Helena, CA 94574
Neighborhood:
Phone: 707.968.5257
Hours: M-Tu 7am-3pm; W-Su 7am-10pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe
Cafe Rating: 8.00
Barista: 8
Savvy: 8
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Consistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 7.70
Aroma: 8
Body: 8
Brightness: 7
Crema: 7
Flavor: 8
Taster's Correction: 0.5
Size: S
Primary Taste: Pungent
Coffee Beans: Lavazza
Cup Manufacturer: IPA
Price: $2.25
Last Update: 08/24/2014
First Reviewed: 08/23/2014
Notes: Outdoor Seating

Review
Opening in May 2010, this Italian-themed espresso bar/gelato shop/panini bar/booze bar expanded into the next door space at 1144 Main St. in 2012 to grow from 17 to 47 seats. The growth plan included an expanded menu to also cover dinner items, but it still functions better as a full-service bar & café than as a full-service restaurant. Behind the 1144 doorway is their new full bar, with its long counter of upholstered stools and a variety of unique beers on tap and in bottles (in addition to wine). At the center as you enter is their three-group, red La Marzocco FB/80, so they're making the right coffee investments - even if they're using Lavazza beans. Above that is an HDTV often showing soccer matches. There's also a short, stand-up piano, a number of dining tables in back in addition to their café tables in front plus an enclosed outdoor sidewalk patio with metal café tables under parasols. The decor is aspirationally upscale, with mirrored walls, dark-painted wood, Italian light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, and darkly painted wood bench seating lining the entire entrance perimeter. But despite the owner's wife studying in Florence, the hallway of black & white photos she brought from all over Italy combined with a patchwork of sometimes-incongruous Italian-themed décor makes it a bit like Italy by way of suburban New Jersey. (E.g., we may love Amalfi, but the big illuminated postcard photo is a bit much.) At the service counter they have a good selection of gelato. For espresso, they pull surprisingly (and pleasantly) short shots with an even, medium brown crema. It's potent with a good body: one area where the owners wisely decided to buck the New Jersey Italian stereotypes. It has a blend of traditional Lavazza flavors of mild spice and herbal pungency and is served in Lavazza-logo IPA cups. Their milk-frothing tends to be light and airy but consistent. Overall, a worthy espresso.temperature