Cafe Atlantique is situated on the corner of River and Daniel Street, across from the Milford, CT Train Station. The place has a real downtown feel, with seats all along the inside of the space, overlooking the busy sidewalk, streets, and city traffic.
The first thing I noticed about Cafe Atlantique, was the hipness factor. This place is pretty hip, with a diverse crowd ranging from toddlers to retirees. Atlantique is a French-styled café, with a liquor license. Nothing intrigues me more, than the thought of enjoying a pint of Guinness and a hand-crafted donut or pastry, and Atlantique offers exactly that, and more. The café interior is U-shaped, with the service area in the middle. Patrons entering from the street queue up to place their orders, and then move along the perimeter, gathering their dining accessories along the way. Your name is called when your panini, salad, wrap, crepe or drink order is ready. Customers dress their coffees and teas themselves, and eating utensils are also available at the prep station. The staff recommends using the syrup sweetener to clients looking for a sweetened tea. The menu consists of all things good for you, and all things naughty. The glass case facing the front dining area shows off fine baked goods, pastries, muffins, cookies and the like, while the menu board hanging above offers a more health conscious fare. The drink and food selection is impressive for such a small kitchen/prep/bar area.
Aside from making a tasty panini, Café Atlantique makes one of the best Sangrias I’ve had, and I order Sangria almost every chance I get. It’s crafted by the glass, which amazed me even more, as most Sangrias I favor are stored is large vessels, and served up by the glass or pitcher. Not so, with the delicious Atlantique Sangria. Created in a large wine glass full of ice, and garnished with a perfect, juicy orange wedge; it’s cool, sweet and refreshing, with a tart finish. You can feel the heat of the alcohol, but the tangy blend balances each sip for an enjoyable experience.
Another feature that adds to Atlantique’s positive vibe, is what you’ll find beyond the cafe’s back door. It opens on to a large outdoor dining area, complete with umbrellas, benches, tables and chairs, and a dog-friendly seating area. During my visit, I saw business owners working on their iPads, a small family reunion, several families with children, and young people working on their laptops, hanging out, jockeying their smart phones. Atlantique offers free-WIFI, and the bandwidth is top notch.
Food: Portion sizes are generous, which is a faux pas we Americans gladly embrace when dining in a European styled establishment; prices are reasonable, and ingredients are consistently fresh. If you order the Chicken Ceasar Salad, ask them to toss it. It’s not as pretty but it certainly is delicious.
Drink: As a café, they brew a variety of coffee beans, and offer gourmet teas; all are available hot or cold. A short but impressive list of craft styled beers, mixed drinks, descent wines, and of course, the Sangria tempt the after 5pm crowd. Or noon.
Atmosphere: Excellent use of a quirky spot, they offer a sofa and lounge area, bistro tables, booths and generous outdoor dining. Occasional live music is a bonus.
Staff: There is usually a line of people waiting to place their orders, and the staff is well-versed with the menu items, and drinks, and can make recommendations to suit your tastes. They are helpful and courteous… but aren’t bubbling over with chain restaurant contrived kindness… it is a French-style cafe, after all.
33 River Street Milford, CT 06460
$2 large coffee, $4-$6 lunch choices, $6-$9 dinner plates