The Village Café doesn’t feel like a village, on the contrary. City traffic rushes past the open window front. But the morning hustle and bustle on Fraunhoferstraße mixes with relaxed RnB music inside the bar. It looks like Italy there.
Campari bottles are lined up on the wall behind the bar, Panini are in the display case, and neon signs advertise Birra Moretti. The service is also as communicative as you might expect in an Italian city café. The boss chats with the regular customers, the waiter serves the coffee with a glass of water and a wink.
“Customers often say that the Village Café reminds them of cafes in Milan,” says Rifat Kavuk, who opened the store a year ago. For Italophiles like him, a Munich native with Turkish roots, there was a lack of an espresso and aperitivo bar in the Glockenbackviertel, says he, who lives on Fraunhoferstrasse himself.
He wanted a classic café that differed from current trends. That’s why you get an affogato and cornetti here instead of smoothies and healthy bowls. The shop is supposed to come across as “dignified without being fancy” – and this is reflected in the food and drinks as well as in the furnishings.
In the small sales room, every detail has been carefully selected. The warm wood paneling of the walls and bar as well as the classic bistro tables and chairs with wickerwork convey a retro flair. You can watch the hustle and bustle outside from the soft orange-red upholstered bench. Illustrated books about architecture and old cars are stacked in one corner – as if to emphasize that beautiful things are important here.
What is there and how much does it cost?
Fortunately, however, the breakfast is not only beautiful, but also delicious. Scrambled eggs, fried eggs and omelettes are freshly prepared and come with ham, mozzarella, pesto and potatoes. There are lots of savory dishes on the menu: focaccia with pancetta and gorgonzola (6.50 euros) or croissants with fig sauce, mozzarella, ham, cream cheese and rocket (4.90 euros). You can also have Bircher muesli (5.50 euros) for breakfast here, so the offer is not strictly Italian. If you like it sweet, you can order filled croissants (2.40 euros) or cakes, there are also vegan versions, as well as pancakes with peanut butter and jam. The coffee comes from the Munich roastery Caffè Pol Venezia.
A special feature is the French toast from Pandoro (6.50 euros), i.e. a slice of the star-shaped Christmas pastry that resembles a panettone. The dish is served with lots of fresh fruit and powdered sugar, making it the right choice if you want to treat yourself and don’t have any sporty plans after breakfast.
The salmon bagel with fried egg, avocado and cream cheese (8.00 euros) is particularly popular, says Kavuk. The typical American bagel is also a small reference to the name of the café: It is inspired by Greenwich Village, for Rifat Kavuk something like the New York counterpart to the Glockenbachviertel.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a village, a neighborhood or a quarter: Every neighborhood needs a place where people can meet informally, says Kavuk. One such place is said to be the Village Café. “I don’t dare go into certain shops,” he says. He either doesn’t feel smart enough, or he’s dressed too smart, or he doesn’t have the right tattoos to fit in. It’s not supposed to be like that here. As many different people as possible should feel comfortable in the Village Café. The older ladies who come in pairs every Thursday, the beautician across the street or parents on their way to daycare – Kavuk proudly talks about his regular customers.
Now that it’s getting warmer, the Village Café will stay open longer in the evenings. In the late afternoon, guests can stop by for an aperitivo. With the Campari or Negroni they get whatever is there: “Salami, olives – I just see what I have in the fridge,” says Kavuk. He knows that from Italy.
Originally Kavuk comes from the media industry, he worked for a long time as a producer for television. Then he went on parental leave, the pandemic started – and he started planning the café. He did a lot of the furnishing himself and brought the café into the neighborhood, which he always missed here. Because it’s the same for him as it is for many people in Munich: he’s Italian at heart.
The Village Cafe, Fraunhoferstrasse 3, 80469, Munich; Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m