Most people are familiar with the Italian phrase “la dolce vita,” or, the sweet life. Fewer are familiar with the phrase “il bel far niente,” which loosely translates to “the beauty of doing nothing.”
While the phrase might not be so well known, I'm guessing the desire to achieve and practice “il bel far niente” is as familiar as, say, getting out of bed in the morning. The Italians have perfected this ideal so that the phrase has also come to mean “the art of doing nothing.” And an art it is.
From the four gentlemen who (doing the opposite of nothing) brought us comes their newest venture, Caffe Sapore. Bringing the same warm, and the same fresh flavors of Sicily to Howard Avenue, Caffe Sapore is the newest local favorite to hit downtown Burlingame.
The colors and warmth of Chef Mario Di Paola's beloved Sicily are reflected throughout the caffe. Inside waits a sunny space between the butter yellow walls and sandy-colored granite counter tops, the menu hanging playfully by the door, enticing customers to stay for a sip, bite or chat.
With free wi-fi and a wall of windows, it's a perfect retreat to sit, stay a while and watch the world go by.
The crave-worthy menu reads like a novella, with panini on homemade bread, pizza, salads of local organic produce and daily lunch specials like Eggplant Parmesean and Lasagna Bolognese.
Or, if you're in the mood for something sweet, try the gelato made in house in flavors like cioccolato (chocolate), nocelle (hazelnut), stracciatella (like chocolate chip) and pistacchio (pistachio), or go for something slightly lighter and try the sorbet; the limone (lemon) will whisk you away to Southern Italy with the first spoonful.
But what really sets Caffe Sapore apart is the fresh homemade pasta to go. Yes, you read that correctly. Now at Caffe Sapore, you can buy Sapore Italiano's very own homemade pasta and love-labored sauces to make at home. Choose a style of pasta – fettuccine, taglionlini, ravioli – and choose a type of sauce – marinara, arrabbiata, bolognese – and you've got dinner near ready to impress your guests.
It's beautiful and you've had to do practically nothing. (See? Well on your way to “il bel far niente” already!) And, even better still, only a 24-hour notice is needed for to-go orders for parties of 10 or more, which makes Caffe Sapore the perfect launching pad for your very own pop-up dinner party.
Caffe Sapore already has a solid set of regulars. Some are familiar faces from Sapore Italiano and others are new from the Howard Avenue business area. With Italian coffee and pastries for a morning pick-me up, the walk-up lunch counter and the dinner to go, Caffe Sapore is a local nine-to-fiver's lifeline. It's a pasta-junkie's haven, an Italophile's sanctuary and a homemade gourmet's second set of hands. It's a place where “il bel far niente” is both entirely possible and impossible to ignore.