www.SantAmbroeus.com Pastries/ Gelato/ Italian, Coffee/ Cocktails, Manhattan
If there is one thing that we can never get enough of, its that feeling of being transported back to a vacation in Europe… sipping an expertly made espresso crafted from a massive silver machine, with a floater of light and fluffy frothed milk. Is it really weird that European cafe culture haunts our dreams? If you ask any one of us separately what the first thing you need to do when stepping off a plane in Western Europe and the answers will all be same… have a coffee… step up to the counter at the coffee bar and sip that liquid gold while chatting about the weather… and maybe noshing on a buttery pastry or croissant. We found our ‘teleport’ on Madison Avenue (with additional locations in the West Village and Southampton).
Named for the patron saint of Milan, Sant’Ambrogio, born in 334 A.D., the restaurant is a homage to the Milanese people who often call themselves ‘Ambrosiani’. Located just a couple of blocks off of Museum Mile, we stopped into the Italian eatery, pasticceria and gelaterria, in search of something sweet. The elegant candlelight through the windows attracted us first, and upon entering, we excited set eyes on the stand up coffee counter complete with professional machine (as it should be!), located across from a massive glass display housing an assortment of pastries and homemade gelato! We ordered up espressos, cappuccinos, and many scoops of creamy gelato. The Lemon Tart was decadent and delicious and are only regret was not ordering more! Although pricey (desserts and gelatos are $10.50 each), the taste treats were to die for. Next time, the Gianduia (hazelnut sponge, hazelnut wafer, giandula mousse, hazelnut cream layers) and the Sfogliatine di Pesche (puff dough, almond cream, pastry cream, peaches) are at the top of our list of calories to consume. Scoop up one of the quaint window seats and watch Madison Avenue stroll by flaunting their giant shopping bags tagged with luxury labels, and enjoy every decadent bite.
Sticking close to their Milanese roots, where Sant Ambroeus first opened in 1936, the afternoon tea menu includes fresh paninis, salads and light fare, like their menu in Italy. When the lights go down, dine in their romantic back room and order your three traditional Italian courses… Antipasti (Polipo grigliato su Caponatina, Tartare di Tonno, Insalata di Nettuno), Primi (Tagliatelle in a veal ragout, Classic milanese saffron risotto, Ravioli with beets, ricotta and seasonal vegetables), and Secondi (Rack of lamb, Veal loin, Braised baby pork shank). The options are diverse and innovative and reminiscent of your trip across the pond.
What we ate…
- Espresso (A)
- Cappuccino (+1)
- Vanilla Homemade Gelato (A+1)
- Lemon Tart (Lemon Creme and Shortbread Crust) (A+1)
A: An expertly prepared coffee and perfectly created sweets. I heart Madison Avenue.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Coffee, snacks and desserts… authentic Italian.
- Food/Drinks- 3.5: Pleasantly stellar
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity included
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood- Centrally located
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green light