Why: A walk by the Columbia River may find you in the vicinity of Savona Coffee House — a good reason to stop in and check it out if you haven't been there in a while. As of Aug. 1, Savona has been under new ownership. The family-owned and -operated coffee house has breakfast, lunch, and dessert options to accompany coffee and specialty espresso beverages made with the fine Italian traditional artisan coffee, Caffe D'arte.
Atmosphere: A country-style decor in warm earth tones provides a relaxing and inviting space in the bottom retail corner of the apartment complex where Savona is located. Seating consists of tables and chairs for two or more, a window bar, and upholstered sofas that encourage a lingering visit. Tables are set with fresh flowers and votives, menu boards are hand scrolled, and countertops exhibit snack items, pastries, tea varieties and fresh fruit. A turntable of greeting cards is by the entry, and plants, pottery, photos and a fireplace all combine to impart a general store/cafe vibe.
What I tried: I settled on a latte and the Ricotta and Fresh Fruit Crepe. The latte was excellent, but this was no surprise — you can't go wrong with Caffe D'arte. I found the fresh-made crepes (two in all) a bit on the thick side, which almost overwhelmed the amount of ricotta and fruit filling used in them. Instead of rolled crepes, they were folded in quarters, which emphasized the thickness on the folds, especially the corner. Fresh, sweet strawberries and raspberries were used in the crepes, and a solitary blackberry sat atop each of the two dollops of whipped cream alongside the crepes. The temperature the crepes were served at was cool, and the fruit, having just come out of the refrigerator, was almost cold. As a matter of preference, I would have preferred warm. Overall, the crepes were filling and not tremendously sweet.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Breakfast items include breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, granola, yogurt parfaits, and assorted pastries. Panini options, sandwiches, wraps, and salads are available for lunch, with ice cream and milkshakes for dessert. On Sundays, waffles are served. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and lemonade are available as well, and soup, on occasion.
Other observations: The service is very friendly and makes customers feel right at home. Savona's food selection exceeds many other coffee houses. I'm looking forward to another visit to try the breakfast sandwich.
Cost: Breakfast choices range from $2.75 to $4.25. Waffles (Sunday only) cost $3.49 for one or $5.49 for two. Panini sandwiches are less than $6. Sandwiches and wraps are $4.95 and $5.45. Salads come in a regular size for $6.95 or a large size for $8.95. Ice cream options are all less than $6. Coffee and espresso beverages are available in 8-ounce, 12-ounce, 16-ounce, and 20-ounce sizes and range from $1.45 to $4.50 (add-ins are extra).
Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Where: 1898 S.E. Columbia River Drive, Vancouver.
Health score: Savona Coffee House received a pre-opening inspection and is scheduled for a routine inspection sometime in the near future. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.