Main Street meets Little Italy

Caffe Gelato’s front window beckons the hungry with a glistening case filled with pastel colors of creamy Italian sweets. The gelato, for which the quaint spot on Main Street names itself after, gives incentive to lustful passersby to enter and indulge themselves.

The menu includes such tantalizing items as homemade soups, focaccia cannoli, salads and pastries, along with Italian ice cream.

Caffe Gelato boasts on its menu that it features the highest quality and the freshest tastes of the Mediterranean. And the restaurant delivers a pleasing variety to satisfy any taste.

Focaccia bread relishes in perfection with an accent, of basil olive oil for added zing.

The bread also acts as the binding for a wide selection of panini, including ingredients like fresh mozzarella, grilled portabella mushrooms, juicy tomatoes, olives and crispy lettuce.

The attention to detail in the presentation of each dish shows maturity in the newborn restaurant. With a hint of decorative basil and roasted potatoes as a side, a simple sandwich gives new meaning to the typical college-town eateries.

Caffe Gelato’s main focus lies in vegetables, breads and cheeses. Even though its cuisine is Italian, pizza thankfully only makes an appearance on the kids’ menu.

For the adventurous taste conquistadors, the restaurant offers seafood dishes including calamari, shrimp, clams and salmon tossed in a choice of pasta – plain, spinach or sun-dried tomato.

If lunch and dinner are too late for those with an insatiable appetite, breakfast is served until noon. Frittata breakfast sandwiches with egg and a choice of cheese, pancetta, prosciutto or mixed vegetables give mid-afternoon delights.

The breakfast menu deviates far from fast food as the sandwiches are served on fresh croissants and homemade Focaccia bread. Belgian waffles can also be a special treat in the morning or for brunch.

Price remains competitive with the other restaurants on the strip, with large panini portions from $5.95 to $6.45. The hors d’ouvres could become expensive for an appetizer, but that depends on the assortment of cheeses or couscous cakes, which may reach up to $9.50.

Pasta entrees are not like the spaghetti served with tomato paste that some restaurants serve. Instead, Caffe Gelato offers white wine garlic sauce, Alfredo, and depending on the special, pesto.

And for students who would rather enjoy a nice cup of coffee with a sweet, the restaurant has reasonable and flavorful beans. A large cappuccino is merely $2.75 and a desert will only cost a few cents more – $2.95 for a large slice of pure decadence.

Desert at Caffe Gelato deserves a moment of silence before delving into the plentiful flavors of Italian ice cream or bountiful pastries.

However, even the luscious sweets and meal selections harbor nutritious dietary desires.

Healthy ingredients and large portions rid diners of guilt and give a little something thing to have for lunch or breakfast the next day. Even though the serving sizes aren’t gratuitous like the Olive Garden, they are perfect for the scrounging college student.

The atmosphere is excellent for conversation among good friends or a hot date, with a few secluded booths in back of the café.

Rough wall colors calm with warm hues, but the lack of paintings shows how the restaurant still needs some aesthetic improvement. However, diners soon forget about their surroundings when the food is served.

Like a short-lived affair, Caffé Gelato delivers a satisfying escape from the banal flavors of Newark. It escalates the Italian zest of Main Street without pretending to be something it’s not.

By Heather Garlich
Entertainment Editor, The Review

Originally published May 1, 2001 by The Review, University of Delaware
Copyright ©2001 The Review
Reprinted by permission