What better way to escape the autumn chill than with a perfectly steeped, fragrant tea or piping hot cup of coffee? If you happen to be out in the cold on the Upper West Side, definitely drop by Gastronomie 491. This small yet chic cafe serves up some seriously delicious, North African, French and Mediterranean inspired dishes that will keep you coming back for more.
Part market, part cafe, this place has incredible Grab-to-Go items, seasonal products like Bartolini Umbrian Beans and Barley, and fragrant olive oils for culinary triumphs in your kitchen. Besides that, there's a huge selection of pastries running the gamut from oh-so-delicious tarts to classic cakes that are almost too pretty to eat.
The most impressive thing about this place? The cheese selection. Did you know that 10 lbs. of milk are required to make 1 lb. of cheese? This, and many other great fromage factoids were shared by a hyper knowledgeable staff, capable of offering expert suggestions based on your flavor preferences, making the cheese platter, an absolute must. Featuring three gourmet cheeses, roasted walnuts, and bursting red grapes, it's tailored to your tastes. Some cheeses worth mentioning are: the brie (fresh, moist and creamy), the bleu cheese (perfectly aged with a slight hint of berries), and the sheep's milk cheese (flavorful with just the right amount of salty goodness).
This bright and cheery cafe complete with a cozy Mediterranean muraled, seating area, is the type of place, where you can order your favorite tea or coffee-based beverage and lose yourself in conversation. Gastronomie 491 offers a wonderful range of exotic and traditional teas by Palais des Thés, a Parisian company that's been committed to bringing people around the world exceptional, premium blends. You must try the Palais' "Thé du Hammam," (a fruity green tea blend inspired by a Turkish recipe, that evokes the perfumes of hot baths: roses, green dates, berries and orange blossom water). It's truly extraordinary, refreshingly different and completely invigorating.
If you're not into tea, not to worry. For all you coffee lovers out there, the brew at Gastronomie 491 is superb, and hails from Trieste Italy, the Adriatic port town, where coffee first entered Europe. Experience a rich and velvety espresso and perfectly steamy cappuccino that's so distinctly "illy." Plus, you'll be delighted to discover that your full-bodied cup comes from sustainably grown beans, making it a feel-good, eco-friendly choice, which is always cause to celebrate.
So next time you're on the Upper West Side, stop by Gastronomie 491 for great gourmet eats.