Weekends are rarely relaxing. You may leave the office on Friday afternoon with full intentions of spending the better part of the next 48 hours on the couch, but drinks with coworkers can quickly lead into a late night dinner followed by a Saturday full of sojourns to Bed, Bath & Beyond and Home Depot before rushing home to shower in time for Cousin Whatsherface’s wedding reception. The next thing you know, Sunday is already here and with it comes chores and the impending doom of Monday. The cure for this weekend warrior existence? An intermezzo at Il Posto Café.
Walking into Il Posto is to enter an isolation chamber from the hustle and bustle of the weekend. WWOZ can be heard in the background while patrons dawdle over The New York Times and The Times-Picayune. In the morning, espresso- fueled coffees and house-baked muffins and scones occupy most table space, but no visit to Il Posto for a leisurely cup of coffee should occur without snagging a California Bagel. A toasted H&H bagel, a shmear of cream cheese, thin slices of red onion and juicy tomato are expertly constructed to withstand the withers of doing absolutely nothing for a few moments.
During lunch, the kitchen follows the longstanding number one rule of Italian cooking: Use the best ingredients and try not to do anything to screw them up. Breads from La Boulangerie are paired with cured meats and cheeses from St. James Cheese Company to create a menu that is short on creativity but long on deliciousness. Crusty ciabatta is filled with prosciutto, basil pesto, and fresh mozzarella and then finished in the hot panini press until the cheese starts to ooze out the side of the sandwich. An assortment of thin, crispy, grilled cheese sandwiches employs the same method with melting fontina, and the accompanying green salad tossed in a vibrant lemon vinaigrette completes a simple but outstanding light lunch.
Although Il Posto occupies a quiet corner location at the intersection of Dryades and Cadiz, the handful of tables are usually full with savvy locals in search of a quiet oasis. The evening hours are the most underutilized, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday when happy hour brings discounted wines by the glass and Abita beers. Close out your meal with a slice of Junior’s cheesecake or the miniature housemade chocolate cookie sandwich called a “Post-O”, and you will be ready to tackle whatever the weekend brings you.
4607 Dryades St. (504) 895-2620. Tuesday – Thursday, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.