CAFÉ VIANA - closed
Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not. –Author UnknownFor several years, we’ve heard people commenting that there was a real need for a proper coffee shop in the beach community. That need has been thankfully fulfilled with the opening of Café Viana on Robert Eisennmann Ave., directly across from Restaurants Pantay and Todos al Carbon in Coronado.The official greeters at Viana are the adorable neighboring goats who flock to the fence to greet you as you park your car. Café Viana opened approximately a month ago by Charlie and Allie, who have been involved in the food industry all their lives. Charlie is from the U.S., and Allie is from Uruguay, where they moved from, after living there for 12 years. Allie is an experienced chef, having attended culinary school in Miami. The couple is talented, as evidenced by the mouth-watering assortment of muffins, scones, cookies, cupcakes, quiches, tarts and empanadas. The variety changes constantly with choices ranging from chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, banana muffins with walnut streusel, apple rum cake, and cinnamon rolls. The sweets range in price from about $2.50 to $3. Quiches are $3/slice.
On the particular day that we visited the Café, we chose two quiches: a traditional broccoli and a sausage/potato/tomato. Both were delicious with light and flaky crusts and rich custard. Charlie mentioned that a crowd favorite is the red onion with mushrooms and green or yellow peppers. Almost everyone has a fondness for cookies, no matter the occasion or time of day. It was not surprising that another crowd pleaser is their chocolate chip cookie: large, chock full of chocolate chips, rich and chewy.
The Café offers free Internet access and both owners are fluent in English and Spanish. They offer specialty teas for $1.25, espresso, lattes, cappuccino, Chai lattes, and regular coffee, of course. Prices range from $.75 to $2. Also offered are a variety of soft drinks. They plan to expand their menu in the near future with croissants, sandwiches, and breads.
Charlie and Allie are serious about their foods and are obsessive about fresh ingredients. They love to experiment with different combinations and they will also take special orders. Since we were having a dinner party the following week, we ordered a tiramisu dessert to serve. Tiramisu is also called “Pick-me-up-cake,” and this one did not disappoint. Charlie and Allie used Marsala wine in place of more commonly used Kahlua, Tia Maria, or Gran Marnier. It was rich and creamy with a sprinkling of high- grade cocoa on top, and it was a great conclusion to our dinner party, giving everyone a sweet tooth jolt.
Café Viana is definitely a place to meet up with acquaintances and friends. During our visit, there was a constant stream of customers stopping by for a quick bite, a slow coffee, fresh sweet, or takeout. Charlie and Allie are a refreshing, vibrant couple and love to interact with their patrons. It was obvious that they are developing a following of regulars. Viana offers a respite from the heat with five tables inside the air-conditioned café, and if your preference is to mingle with the official greeters, there are three tables outside.
The restaurant is changing their hours and will be open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Telephone:345-3400. Follow them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com, e-mail Info@CafeViana.com, or check out cafevianapanama.com.
TIP: Stop in soon to sample some of their goodies. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert trays?