>  Europe   >  Italy   >  When a Caffe and Cornetto isn’t Enough, There’s Rome’s Bakery House

I have never been more disappointed by breakfast, than in Italy.

For a country with a food so loved by the world, to offer for the first meal of the day, something as basic and boring as the caffe and cornetto, seems woefully inadequate. Insulting even.

Cappuccino and cornetto filled with nocciolo (hazelnut cream)

Cappuccino and cornetto filled with nocciolo (hazelnut cream)

That the average Italian is satisfied by a coffee that is more often than not, lukewarm (for quick consumption), and a cornetto more like bread than a croissant – mildly surprising. But morning after morning, day after day, Italians stand shoulder to shoulder next to a high counter, throw back 2 sips of powerful espresso, and munch ecstatically away on a doughy pastry.

It’s a mystifying daily ritual carried out endlessly in the bars that populate every other corner of the county.

Of course, after 5 trips to Italy, the caffe and cornetto has slowly grown on me, (kinda like mould on gorgonzola). And now, strangely enough, most mornings don’t feel complete until I’ve downed a strong, warmish coffee in 2 sips and bitten into a bready croissant filled with nutella or marmalade.

Just like a real Italian. Or so I’d like to think. 😉

There are some days though, when all I can think about is pouring that espresso all over the barista’s head and throwing that dense cornetto against the wall so hard, that nutella splatters across the shocked faces of the bar’s patrons.

And that’s when I know, it’s time to seek out another option.

I admit that usually it’s Mcdonald’s breakfast I turn to first. In my defence though, it is unreasonably good in Italy, with fresh-squeezed orange juice, any type of coffee you like, and flavourful Italian sausage in it’s breakfast sandwich. Pretty darn delish.

However, after weeks and weeks of the cafe and cornetto combo, my Canadian belly was craving something that even a breakfast combo at MickyD’s couldn’t satisfy. Fortunately, for us, there were a few options available in Rome that were not in the tired “English Breakfast,” category geared towards backpacking tourists.

Our requirements were simple: a good old filter coffee and eggs of some kind, that wouldn’t break the bank. After perusing a few online lists, we settled on the Bakery House – mostly because it was walking distance from our hotel in Porta Pia.

Despite recommendations to make a reservation, when we arrived around 12:30pm, the restaurant was half empty. We were seated immediately and quickly chose eggs benny and “American coffee” from a menu chock-full of western breakfast favourites, like pancakes, french toast, yogurt with granola, and various breads and cakes.

Our American coffee and fresh-squeezed juice came out first, and while the juice was as delicious as expected, the filter coffee was essentially brown water. It was so tasteless that the staff gave us an extra shot of espresso to add. Lesson learned. While Italians have mastered all manner of espresso based drinks, they can’t make a filter coffee to save their lives.

The eggs benny came out on top of salty Italian proscuitto, a small drizzle of hollandaise and a fantastic mix of fresh fruit. Admittedly, it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it was a reasonably good version, and we lapped it up, like we’d only been eating cornettos for weeks and weeks on end.

Oh wait…

Visiting Rome’s Bakery House
Despite our experience, reservations are strongly recommended for the Bakery House, especially on weekends or at peak times. Our total meal, including fresh squeezed orange juice, 2 eggs benny and American coffee came to approximately 20 euros. A full North American-style 15-20% tip is not expected in Italy, even when eating western brunch. 😉 A few coins is all that’s expected.

Bakery House has 2 locations. One on Corso Trieste, and one on Via Riano. Full details and a menu are available on their website.

How do you start the day? Would you survive on a caffe and cornetto every day? What do you usually eat for breakfast?


  • petakaplan

    October 16, 2016

    I can totally relate to this post! Because I love breakfast so much ~ a good breakfast…In foreign countries I often end up going to a market to buy fruit and at least start my day with something fresh…

    The best thing in Italy in my opinion, is the gelato!


    • October 17, 2016

      Haha, gotta agree with you, Peta, about the gelato! It’s a nightly ritual for us whenever we visit the country. Going to the market is a great idea, and we often do it for lunchtime…but for breakfast, I need my coffee!! 🙂

  • October 4, 2016

    I feel like they just get complacent a lot from doing it over and over again. 🙂 And the cornetto do get dry a lot. I don’t know. When I worked in Italy, I just chugged caffe all the time that I didn’t even think of the taste or texture anymore. Like you mentioned, it’s all became customary.
    That imagery of you as a ragging customer was hilarious.
    And please don’t tell anybody, I eat McDonald’s here in Japan quite a lot. 😀

    • October 7, 2016

      I bet McD’s in Japan is delicious. Do they have anything weird/interesting on the menu there? Here, they have a bulgogi burger…very sweet, and I never, ever eat it. 🙁

      You know the funny thing? When I was in Italy, all I could think about was having a huge filter coffee and then when I got back home and had one, it tasted like water. Lol…got too used the strong Italian coffees. I can never win. :p

      • October 7, 2016

        You’re killing me with that bulgogi. Japanese McDonald’s have teriyaki burger.
        Don’t worry. Most travelers go through being a food elitist after going back home. Especially me because I don’t just visit, I actually reside in different country. When I came back to California after having lived in Italy, I became a snob to pasta, pizza, and even ice cream.

  • September 28, 2016

    I can usually suffice with a pastry, though I’d much prefer a slice of pizza. It’s the coffee that flumoxed me. I order venti’s (Large) at Starbucks and was dismayed that Italian coffeehouses only offered tiny espressos. Even the “Americanos” were small. 🙁 I need volumes of caffeine in the morning.

    • September 28, 2016

      I am totally with you on that coffee. It wasn’t so much the quality or type of coffee in Italy, but the size that really stressed me out. I have at least 2 coffees before I head out the door, so the 2 sips of espresso were definitely not doing it for me. The only place I’ve found bigger coffees in Italy was at the various Autogrilles on the highway and in bus/train stations – where they actually have a “Big size cappuccino” on the menu, and you can get any drink in a variety of sizes. Even something close to a Venti size Americano! Saved my life a few times that’s for sure… 🙂

  • September 26, 2016

    So true! And not just in Italy; I’ve found that “breakfast” in various European cities is just not satisfying. I am a staunch McD’s avoider, but I might have to change my tune next time! Who knew?

    • September 28, 2016

      I actually eat way more McD’s when I’m traveling than I do in my “normal” life, for some reason. And it’s my go-to meal when I’m having some kind of stomach troubles on the road. For some reason, it always sets me straight. I’m convinced it has something to do with the “evil you know,” vs the evil you don’t know. Hahaha 😉


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