Top Five Cafés:

Here is a list of my top five cafés (in David Letterman-style order):

5. Café Olé, Coconut Drive, San Pedro, Ambergris Cayes, Belize. Granted, the Italians have cornered the market on excellent coffee and so an Italian café should make this list. However, since I found that almost every café in Itay is excellent, the challenge was really to find a great café in a place where coffee is not as highly appreciated. Although Belizian dishes are mouth-watering, not as much attention is paid to the coffee. Charming Italian chef Ermanno La Bella serves a superb selection of specially-blended coffee in this gourmet deli which is situated directly across from the tiny airport. The warm and friendly atmosphere, the convenient location, and the delicious coffee puts Café Olé on my list.

4. Kaffitár, Bankastraeti 8 Reykjavik, Iceland. Frequent competitor and second place winner of the 2003 Annual World Barista Championship, Kaffitár is a lovely specialty coffee shop located in the center of downtown Reykjavik. The cozy atmosphere, well-made cappuccinos, and large picture window facing the main shopping street makes Kaffitár the perfect place to warm your bones on a chilly Icelandic day.

3. Baresso Coffee, Store Kirkestræde 3, 2. Sal, 1073 Copenhagen, Denmark. To catch a break during a long day of sight-seeing and shopping along Strøget, "the world's longest pedestrian mall," stop in at a halfway point at Baresso Coffee for a great deal on delicious coffee and croissants. Across from the pricey, "see and be seen" Café Europa and Café Norden, this little multi-leveled café overlooks the Storkespringvandet Fountain in the middle of the popular Amagertorv square and serves wonderful café lattes.

2. Chocolateria San Ginés, Pasadizo de San Gines, Arenal 11(Metro Sol), Madrid, Spain. Madrilenos know how to enjoy their food and drink at all hours of the day and night. So with hours from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., it is no wonder that this place is hopping despite its location down the end of an alley. While this café also offers the usual assortment of coffees and teas, the churros con chocolate cannot be passed over. The churros are pieces of deep-fried dough served hot and sprinkled with sugar and are accompanied by an incredibly thick, sweet, rich, dark, hot chocolate. Fantastic atmosphere, friendly staff, and the finest liquid chocolate ever!

1. Café de Flore, 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris, France. Often touted as a legendary landmark since the 19th century (serving café au lait to the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre), Café de Flore offers an impressive menu in the most beautiful of settings. Found in the heart of the St. Germain district, the stylish café is the ideal place to indulge in the decadent café mochas, some light, flaky croissants, and hours of people-watching.

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