MARKET CITY CAFFE
A BURBANK FAVE FOR ITALIAN & BEYOND
For more than 20 years, Market City Caffe (yes, they spell it “caffe”, which is Italian for coffee, and sometimes refers to European coffee bar) has been pleasing guests with its hearty, Italian comfort food. A favorite in downtown Burbank, this is a great place to eat al fresco; feast on fine filling food; or overindulge at brunch.
During our recent visit for Sunday brunch, served from 10:30am to 3pm with live chamber music from 11am to 3pm, we started with their Tableside Bloody Mary made with Ketel One Vodka, A1, Tobasco, lime, and garnished with celery, chili pepper and olive. This will definitely get your Sunday morning off to a right start. I’m not the world’s biggest Bloody Mary fan but this one was solid (truth be told, I’m starting to get a real appreciation for the bloody boozy beverage). A glass will cost you $10 while an entire pitcher goes for $18 so do the math and go with the pitcher, especially since I found most of their cocktails too sweet for my liking, besides, I love the handcrafted tableside presentation.
Depending on how hungry you are, there’s something for everyone on the menu. You’ll start with their free famous breadsticks (they’re huge), but try not to fill up on bread alone. We started with the Market City Salad mixed with Mesculin lettuce, arugula, peppers, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, diced tomatoes, cucumber, extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s a fine, light start to your meal. Or go with the delicious Mussels with white wine, parsley, garlic, butter, and shallots, a great dish to share with family and friends at brunch.
If you’re looking for more traditional breakfast fare, you can’t go wrong with Chef Salvador’s housemade from scratch light and fluffy pancakes, or the Smoked Salmon Benedict on a brioche with smoked salmon, poached eggs, and hollandaise. Delicious! The Sausage Frittata with sweet Italian sausage, Portobello and Champagne mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and Pomodoro sauce is also another favorite.
If you’re looking for heartier dishes that are more lunch friendly, the wood fired pizzas are a good start. We loved the simple yet satisfying Margherita Pizza with fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil—another great sharable item.
There are pasta dishes galore to choose from on the menu. Three of our favorites were the Spaghetti Alla Bolognese with beef and sausage in a sauce of fresh herbs and tomatoes with cream and topped with fresh ricotta cheese, along with the Penne al Pollo, prepared with chicken, fresh sun-dried tomatoes, fresh asparagus and cream sauce, flavored with fennel seed and garlic, and the Penne al Sugo di Pomodoro e Salsiccia with sweet Italian sausage, Pomodoro sauce, red chili peppers, fresh basil and garlic. These pasta dishes are definitely more on the lunch side of brunch and are a meal onto themselves so share or order carefully.
There’s also an all-you-can-eat Antipasta Bar with a selection of imported Italian meats and Grana Padana Parmesan Cheese, and fresh baked rosemary bread. This goes for $11.95 per person or $5.95 with the purchase of any brunch entrée.
If you save room for dessert, the Tiramisu is delicious but the Perugian Chocolate and Peanut Butter Torte is out of this world, decadent good. It’s a crowd-pleaser and I think the way to go.
Part of the group that owns and operates Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro at The Grove (and Las Vegas), in addition to other restaurants and coffeehouses in Las Vegas and Hawaii, Market City Caffe is the flagship eatery. With a menu inspired by family ties to Italy, including 22 aunts and uncles, it’s nice to have a go-to spot for authentic, family style cuisine. There’s also a monthly wine-paired dinner with rotating guest chefs from the group’s restaurants that offer stellar and impressive fare and vino. See you there!
Market City Caffe is located at 164 East Palm Ave in Burbank. Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30am to 10pm; Friday 11:30am to 11pm; Saturday 10:30am to 11pm; Sunday 10:30am to 10pm. Call 818-840-7036.
Story by: Jose Martinez
Some photography courtesy of: Market City Caffe