Dolce Casa owner Emalia grew up in Greece and spent years working in Italian kitchens with her father, so it isn't any surprise that her quaint European cafe is an instant hit.
Tucked on a less busy section of Damen Avenue in Lincoln Square, Dolce Casa is a welcome addition to the area. Its location — set blocks away from other coffee houses — couldn't be more convenient, and its quiet charm couldn't be more inviting.
A skylight in the center of the cafe helps open up the otherwise small space and makes for plenty of natural lighting, while an old brick fireplace creates a warm spot to cozy up during the winter months. The ornamental checkout counter and antique telephone (which functions as the venue's main line) add to Dolce Casa's vintage vibe.
And while we love the antiquated feel of this place, we're thankful for its modern amenities like free WiFi and pristine espresso machines. In addition to its perfectly brewed pots of coffee, the cafe also offers a variety of loose-leaf teas (appropriately served in cast iron pots) and made-to-order sandwiches and wraps.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Stacy Warden