When bad coffee happens to good restaurants

In case you missed it, here are my thoughts on ordering coffee in restaurants that appeared in Thursday’s Go! section of the Monterey Herald. I’ll be reposting my reviews and stories from my weekly column for the Herald here on my blog along with extra photos that didn’t appear in print.

As much as I love coffee, it’s actually rare for me to order coffee or espresso in a restaurant. Too often I’ve been burned at the best restaurants in town with a delicious meal derailed by a cup of boring brew.

It’s a shame, really, that restaurants put so much thought into pairing beer, wine and cocktails with their food, but by the end of the meal, coffee falls by the wayside.

Many restaurants default to basic beans with little to no flavor. They keep a pot of coffee going for the night or a server hurriedly makes espresso to order without the care or attention of a properly trained barista.

Mundaka is one of the few restaurants with coffee that’s up to par with the food.

When I grabbed a late dinner at Mundaka (Carmel) the other night, I found a shining exception.

Their coffee menu carries the same signature Spanish flair that’s made the restaurant so popular among local foodies.

The coffee menu draws heavily from Spanish influences — traditional cafe bomb-n, café cortado and café con leche fit much better than a plain old cup of coffee.

And Mundaka uses beans from San Francisco’s Ritual Coffee Roasters, a favorite of Bay Area coffee snobs — myself included.

Likewise, Passionfish (Pacific Grove) puts more thought into their coffee and tea than most. They use Acme coffee — the best of the local beans, if you ask me — and have curated a creative tea selection.

I just wish more restaurants would join the ranks of Mundaka and Passionfish and give coffee a more deserving second look.

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This entry was posted in Coffee, Herald, Off The Menu, Raul's Rants, Restaurants. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to When bad coffee happens to good restaurants

  1. Maggie says:

    Hi — Took me a while to find your review on the coffee in restaurants, but it came to mind last night when we had dinner at Esteban’s. Good restaurant and the small bite items were much more than we thought; quite good. However, I’m the inveterate coffee drinker in our group – be it straight up or a Latte, Cappuccino or even an Espresso, I love them all.

    It was late, but there still was quite a crowd so I thought there might be a chance of fresh coffee – NOT! It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t fresh (nor interesting). It become a point of discussion – without offending the waitperson, how does one make sure that when ordering coffee (of any style), that it is fresh? It sucks that you know immediately that a cup isn’t what it should be and yet you pay for it no matter what. Demanding a fresh pot of coffee for 1 doesn’t seem right either so it’s a dilemma for those of us who like dining out and do it often.

    Help (and thanks)!

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