Location: 419 University Ave., Palo Alto
There are multiple other locations in Venice, Tokyo, Budapest, and Buenos Aires (not reviewed)
Reviewed: March 2, 2006
Espresso: Del Doge has multiple different espresso blends/origins available. I was specifically asked which I wanted. The barista provided simple descriptions that weren't particularly helpful or detailed. I decided to go with the Doge Nero blend. Nero has a full-bodied, creamy mouthfeel; there is a bittersweet, smoky flavour with hints of chocolate. The crema was medium in tone, although flecked with red, but there was a dot of white, indicating overextraction at the very end of the pour. The shot was ground to order, but I neglected to note whether the barista tamped. It was served in a very tall, narrow cup and was extremely hot.
Atmosphere: Del Doge is a rather small shop and seating is quite limited. Be prepared not to sit down. The layout is long and narrow, and the seating is all up front, adding to the crowded feel. The walls and ceiling are painted with warm colors (oranges and yellows), such that it feels homey and inviting, assuming one can get a seat.
Verdict: The espresso was not bad at all, but it could/should have been better. It's a nice enough place and worth a stop if you're in Palo Alto.