Italy in Rice Village: A First Look at Fellini Caffè

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photos by John Kiely
The cappuccino at Fellini Caffè is how a cappuccino should taste.

When I entered Fellini Caffè, I was unsure if it had actually opened for business yet. That was my American reaction to the ultra-minimalist Italian design, because Fellini opened fully for business a few weeks ago in Hanover Rice Village. It's just tables and chairs, with a high table beneath the Fellini logo ready for high-powered clientele.

I moved to the simple white glass counter, with displays full of gorgeous Italian pastries, croissant and brioche sandwiches, and small pizzas. It's backed by an imposing but sleek espresso machine imported from Milano.

There's little in Fellini to suggest that you're still in America, save the menu in English and a Bunn Hot Water System, which stands out from the other, Italian-designed coffee gadgetry like a box of Froot Loops in a health-food store.

Co-owners Paolo Fronza, Salvatore Albelice and Monica Gonzalez have brought the entirety of an Italian caffè and set it in the heart of Rice Village. Even the lone car visible through the front window was a helmet-shaped Fiat 500.

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Bring your friends, not your laptop.

I ordered an Americano from Ms. Gonzalez, as this drink is usually the weakest link in any coffee program. It passed the test, and then some, considerably better than the $2.75 price. Most of the coffee drinks here are in the $3.50-$4.00 range.

While drinking the Americano, I noticed a number of patrons speaking Italian. Then I counted -- of the 18 people in Fellini, I was the only one not speaking that language. After many of the Italians left, several people entered, asking if the place was open yet, in American accents. You know, the minimalist design.

Fellini doesn't seem the place to plop down a laptop and be productive. It's more a place for friends and family, to drink coffee and talk. As an invitation to include children (your urbane ones), there's a selection of juices, smoothies, Italian hot chocolate and light sodas. The Italian specialty drinks include a Crema di Mascarpone, which is mascarpone cream drowned in espresso.

I returned the next morning, compelled to have a cappuccino. There are great cappuccinos to be found in Houston these days, but this is The One. No surprises here -- between the state-of-the-art Faema Emblema espresso machine and the quintessential Lavazza roast, this is precisely how a cappuccino is supposed to taste.

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My Voice Nation Help

my client told me about this place i can't wait to go get my real cappuccino. No one in houston knows how to make cappuccino.


I love all coffee especially real Italian coffee auguri


Hopefully their service improves.  After waiting 10 minutes for my 2 cappuccini, I had to remind them that I was still waiting. 

 If it took that long in a bar (coffee shop) in Italy, where service is efficient and quick,  they'd be hung upside down from the Hanover Rice latter day Mussolini's!

del.martinis topcommenter

Finally a place I can take my Italian mother to!


@Florida63 They are 8" rounds with toppings, and nothing like American pizza.  In fact, they may be a form of panini. Whether they're served warm or cold, I know not, but they look delicious either way.


@iKiely @Florida63 

"Nothing like American pizza". Enough said. Will have to check out if food lives up to standard set by your coffee review. Thanks.

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