Cafe Lalo

Walking through the Upper West Side, you would be hard pressed to uncover this neighborhood gem. Cafe Lalo, a full table service European-style cafe, is tucked away into the residential corner of West 83rd St. and is demarked only by a pair of light-adorned trees. This incredibly sunny and highly-vaunted bakery and restaurant (claim to fame: being featured in the movie You've Got Mail) brings in the old timers, young tourists and buzzing socialites alike. If you're lucky enough to find yourself at Cafe Lalo, be sure to order with your nose pressed up to the glass at the front counter, as the myriad cakes, pies and tarts (three rows deep on every shelf) just aren't the same when viewed on the itemized menu. Keep reading for recommendations, photos and a full review!

Latte: 5/5

  • Served in sunny yellow cups with a complimentary Toblerone chocolate.
  • Consists of a milder brew of espresso and a gentle, milky flavor. Its incredibly smooth texture compensates for its minimalist flavor profile. Overall, a refreshingly simple cup. 
  • Goes down wonderfully with one of Lalo's fresh and flakey buttered croissants!
  • Note: If it's hot outside or if you're just in the mood for something a little different, there is also a selection of juices, milkshakes, and--in the evenings--alcohol. :)

Pastries: 5/5

  • Lalo has the most extraordinary variety of European and American cakes and pastries we have discovered to date! Selection includes every kind of cheesecake, fruit tart, and pie you can possibly imagine, plus croissants, danishes, and breakfast pastries galore. A feast for the eyes and for the palate!
  • The overwhelming majority of cakes and pastries are rich and decadent, with heavenly, melt-in-your mouth textures. Our favorites: the Bailey's coffee cheesecake, tres leches cake, honey lavender custard pie (only available in the spring time!), and Amaretto tiramisu. Make sure to come here hungry for dessert!
  • Note: Though everything looks amazing, a few of the items can be a hit or miss. Beware of the buttercream-based cakes (they can be a tad too sweet) and some of the pies (if it doesn't look fresh in the case, it probably isn't).

Food: 4/5

  • French-Belgian-Mediterranean-American fare, with an expansive (perhaps even overwhelming!) menu of breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner options.
  • Food is unique and flavorful but, sadly, is not made with the freshest or highest-quality ingredients. It hits the spot if you're hungry for something savory, but isn't really Lalo's strongest suit.
  • Our favorite: the grilled cheddar cheese and mushroom sandwich, on a croissant, with a side of organic baby greens and roasted potatoes.

Atmosphere: 5*/5

  • Simply glorious. Lalo transports you to somewhere in Europe--the south of France, perhaps--where sunlight cascades through wide-open, floor-to-ceiling French windows, Toulouse-Lautrec-style art lines the elegant brick walls, soft jazz plays in the background, and time seems to stop. 
  • The charming ambiance is completed by waitresses taking your order in cute white blouses and colorful aprons, and--at night--holiday lights illuminating the trees directly outside as well as occasional live music.
  • An incredibly vibrant and lively cafe, open from the crack of dawn well into the night. Ditch your books/laptop/work materials/headphones/typical coffee shop accessories and come here with the New York Times in the morning or your favorite people after dark. You won't be disappointed!