It’s been a while since I’ve written about a cafe. Maybe I just haven’t visited anywhere inspiring, maybe I simply forgot to keep up. Fiero Caffe, a low-key Italian diner at the edge of San Mateo downtown, fired up my passion to be a snobby cafe connoisseur again.
On a breezy and sunny Friday, we brought our laptops to San Mateo for a remote work day trip. At 11am, it was too late for a coffee shop but too early for lunch. Amid decision paralysis, an Italian caffe looked to be the perfect “in-between” candidate.
Fiero Caffe felt like the European neighborhood cafe that our boring American suburbs don’t deserve. Nondescript and somewhat eclipsed by the heavy traffic of El Camino Real, you’d never think that this space would so big and ambiance so quaint.
Neatly placed plants and decorations that brought a casual and modern character while still preserving the calm and steady colors of this wood building. The large, panoramic grid windows brought in plenty of natural light, which is well-shaded by the overhang and surrounding foliage.
To the left of the main dining room was a smaller and quieter room. Separated by a pass-through decorated with plants and wood beams, this area created the perfect workspace for those who wanted the diner ambiance but without the occasional kitchen smoke.
What surprised us was the third room at the back. The room had a secret Victorian library feel, with three small red tables and a blue resting bench giving it a traditional American diner look. The wallpaper, accentuated by thin stripes of beige, felt like the slats of a farmhouse.
Looking out to DeAnza Historical Area and San Mateo Creek, the tall window was filled with lush foliage and rich natural light. As if transported to a tree house, you could temporarily forget that you’re only 20 feet away from the busy traffic of El Camino.
Unfortunately, as much as I wanted this romantic little window seat to be my favorite spot, what was shown in the picture was the bathroom entrance to the right. To make things stickier, the kitchen fumes also funneled into this room more than others. Maybe avoid lunch hours next time.
The food wasn’t fine Italian gourmet, but rather decent, light, and suitable for mid-day enjoyment. We ordered the clam pasta and prosciutto panini with a cup of cappuccino and left satiated.
A lovely spot by El Camino Real.
Meet you there!