Bright and lively coffee shop with plenty of people-watching but don't expect an oasis of tranquillity
California Coffee, 43 Arthur Street, Belfast.
Although it's not located on one of the city centre's better-trodden streets there is still plenty of people-watching to be done from this bright and lively coffee shop. Inside is quite spacious and airy, but there is quite a background noise of cutlery and plates, especially when busy.
Even at a relatively late stage in the afternoon this place was still busy with shoppers and a handful of late-lunchers and early work leavers.
Quite a good selection of paninis and toasted sandwiches, based around a broadly American theme in keeping with the overall feel of the place. Plenty of coffee and cake choices are on offer. There is also a good, clearly-defined selection of 'light' dining and snacking options.
What did we have?
I had the Golden Gate (a chicken and sun-dried tomato ciabatta with honey-mustard dressing). My wife went for a Santa Fe £ chicken and a tangy Mexican sauce in a wrap.
I took the healthy option of a skinny latte while the other half chose a nutty latte.
The dining area is at street level and there is a fair amount of room inside. Tables could easily be rearranged to accommodate any mobility problems.
The food is very tasty and combined some good flavours, even if it is a little starkly presented on clean white plates. A little more in the way of additional garnish (even a few skinny fries) would help.
Santa Fe £4.85; Golden Gate £5.75; Skinny latte £1.95; Nutty latte £1.85. TOTAL: £14.40.
Located in an often overlooked part of the city centre, this place nevertheless seems to have no problems pulling the customers in.
A nice place to take a quick refuel, but don't expect an oasis of tranquillity.