I don’t consider myself a coffee snob, but it’s nice to see that a good cup of coffee is available at many venues within the greater LA area. It hasn’t quite reached the penetration that Seattle has achieved, and it probably won’t because of 1) the size of our city and 2) our beautiful weather doesn’t require us to get a ‘pick me up’.
I recently discovered Caffèbene, a new entrant into the LA market. Their establishment is located on Western just north of Redondo Beach Blvd in Gardena. They are designed after European open-air cafés. The word “Bene” in the brand name comes from the Italian word for “good.” This brand is combined with the European open-air atmosphere
Walking inside, it is beautifully decorated for a coffee shop. Tranquil and feng shui friendly (i.e., the effective mix of iron and wood) were a couple of immediate thoughts as I first entered. Soft lighting, wood furniture and beautiful murals made me feel like I was in an oasis in the city.
While you may not have heard of Caffèbene, there are 760 outlets in South Korea, 134 in the US and 17 in California. Scheduled to open soon include locations in Downtown LA, Rosemead, Rowland Heights and two shops in Irvine.
At the center of their business model is the focus on providing really good coffee. They manage the entire distribution of the coffee from farm to table. Caffèbene serves medium roast coffee which in my opinion, doesn’t dull the taste buds and pairs better with food.
After glancing at the vast glass counter and the menu, I quickly realized that Caffèbene is a restaurant with coffee instead of a coffee shop with food. Beautiful desserts and gelato lined the display case and looking at the menu, I observed that they sold sandwiches and soups as well.
At first thought, a ham and egg sandwich didn’t sound all that interesting, but it came on a toasted fresh ciabatta bun. Mustard, mayo, baby spinach, mozzarella cheese, parsley and sauteed red onions were added to give this sandwich a lot of flavor.
A teriyaki chicken sandwich is also available. Instead of a bland Hawaiian style sandwich, they add mustard, mayo, baby spinach, mozzarella cheese, parsley, sauteed red onion and seasoned bean sprouts.
Clam chowder was served in a bread bowl. After dipping my spoon into the soup, I quickly realized that there was a layer of melted cheese on the top – much like a French Onion soup. New England traditionalists may balk at this version, but I thought it was an interesting take for people that enjoy cheese.
Moving from savory to sweet, Caffèbene serves gelato versus ice cream to better mirror the European experience. I like the fact that gelato has significantly less fat than ice cream, yet maintains great consistency and flavor. At any one time, they have a number of flavors available to choose from.
They also offer a full suite of cold beverages: frappes, smoothies and non-alcoholic mojitos.
Caffèbene prepares true Belgian Liege waffle offerings. Various toppings include: a choice of their gelatos, fresh strawberries or bananas and whipped cream. Biting into the waffle I noticed the chewy texture and caramelized sugar flavor.
Toasted, hand cut and buttered honey bread is topped by fresh strawberries or banana and walnut with whipped cream. Other varieties include caramel cinnamon and garlic and cheese honey breads.
Super food fans will be delighted to learn that Caffèbene has a unique dessert and drink offering. Called misugaru, it is rich with multigrains and includes: black sesame seeds, black bean, black and brown rice and barley.
Favorites? I really liked the ham and egg sandwich because of the combination of flavors. I also enjoyed the Liege waffle (memories of Belgium) and believe it or not, I liked the misugaru.
Parking is not a hassle as they have a huge parking lot in the back. Street parking is also available.
If you have a business that involves meeting clients, Caffèbene’s free wifi makes an ideal casual meet up place.
* Items mentioned in this article were provided on a complimentary basis for the purpose of this review. This story was accurate when it was published and reflects the uninfluenced opinion of the reviewer.
- 15420 S. Western., Unit C (just north of Redondo Beach Blvd)
- Gardena, CA 90249; 310.715.1243