Kafe Latte/Кафе Латте
Ул. Светланская, д. 83
Meals from $5
Кафе Латте (Cafe Latte) is a very trendy, very laid back, 24-hour café along one of Vladivostok’s main drags, Svetlanskaya Street. Sandwiched in between several popular night clubs, and almost immediately under the funicular, а tram operated on a pulley system that takes you from the top of the fairly high hill on which VGUES is situated to the bottom. Кафе Латте is a perfect spot to sit and people-watch while sampling a “cup ‘o joe” and a pastry.
Not the best place, however, for the eating of actual food. I say this with the utmost regret, as well, for I actually like Кафе Латте a lot and will probably be back. The place definitely gets an A+ for atmosphere, with its hip blue back-lighting, sleek and highly-polished tables and very open, inviting window treatments. When you first walk in, you are also welcomed by a very warm and eager greeter, who immediately takes your coat and gives you a numbered tag for its retrieval upon your exit, a small touch which I found very classy. Alas, this wonderful start was the beginning of the end for my dining experience.
First of all, it took several confused minutes of peeking at our group (my two Russian friends, a Korean exchange student, and I) for any server to approach us after we were seated. I gathered later that this was due to the fact that our server was actually not a full-fledged server at all, but rather a waitress-in-training. Enough said. Unfortunately, this also led to several mix-ups with orders, as well as several subsequent return trips to the table with announcements that the establishment did not have what we wanted. Thus I am hard-pressed to be enthusiastic about the quality of service at Кафе Латте.
After about half an hour, we finally got the ball rolling on lunch. I ordered salmon fettucine in a cream sauce (220 ru) with elderberry juice (морс – 50 ru). Interestingly, I got the fettucine before I got the морс, but at this point I was really just glad to get anything. The fettucine was pretty good…but very small. I was almost sad to begin eating it, because after about 5 bites, I knew it would be over. There were also slivered bits of carrot sprinkled quite generously over the pasta under the topping of shredded mozzarella cheese, which gave me pause as the combination was rather unorthodox and the texture pairing rather difficult to digest (both literally and figuratively). In retrospect, I think there may have been more carrot in the pasta than salmon, for which I had to definitely go fishing. After I was finished with the fettucine, out came my морс, which was rather a disappointment, too, as it was quite watered down.
After the meal, I’m not sure that I can say I was full. I was more just ready to go. The place would no doubt have been pleasant for an after-club wind-down or just tea with a girlfriend (one of my compatriots had a berry and biscuit dough dessert that was quite delightful), but the series of circumstances that came together to create my lunch date at Кафе Латте certainly wouldn’t lead me to recommend it for anything but those two functions.
For groups and faculty-led tours, I would also not recommend Кафе Латте, as not only are the speed of service and quality of anything but the lightest of foods in serious doubt, but there also did not seem to be comfortable seating for anything over a group of three to four. Indeed, my group of four had to look around for a minute before finding a table. My feeling is that the establishment focuses on creating a more intimate atmosphere.