The Boston Phoenix
July 29 - August 5, 1999

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Coffee Cantata

Singing the praises of a JP institution

by Liz Zack

By the standards of ever-gentrifying Jamaica Plain, where businesses come and go, Coffee Cantata is an old-timer. For five years now the coffee shop and bistro has been providing JP's artsy nonprofit types with a place to discuss their activism over coffee. It's a place where you can order your regular and the cast of lively counter servers will know exactly what that means. Coffee Cantata

Brunch is the forte here. In addition to fresh-baked cakes, pastries, bagels, muffins, and scones, Cantata serves delectable meals at prices that haven't shot up like JP rents. Homemade cheese blintzes ($5.95) are three lightly browned nuggets bursting with mascarpone cheese and topped with a tart fruit compote. (Plan on walking it off at Jamaica Pond if you manage to finish all three of them.) You can get a plate-size, inch-thick frittata filled with your choice of ingredients for $5.95. Breakfast is served all day, but Cantata also has a deliciously cheap lunch menu. The grilled cheese ($4.45) is a swanky twist on an old favorite: tomato and white cheddar nestled between thick slices of focaccia, fried crisp in lemon-herb oil. The vegetarian sandwich is another tasty choice, cramming lettuce, tomato, red pepper, artichoke, cheddar, and fresh mozzarella into a baguette ($4.95). The food is so good and so cheap that on a Saturday you might have to wait a bit for a table. Bring the paper.

Coffee Cantata, located at 605 Centre Street, is open for breakfast Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lunch service begins at 11 a.m. daily. Dinner, served Thursday through Saturday, is a bit more expensive. Call (617) 522-2223.

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