Best Place to Meet a Secret Lover

Caffe Bianco

There's no shortage of frenetic coffee shops in the Financial District serving office jockeys a quick hit. But if you're meeting a secret lover (or just a friend) for a serious midday conversation, you want a civilized cafe with a slower pace, a modicum of privacy, and a bit of class. On the ground floor of a nondescript office building, Caffe Bianco may not remind you of Vienna in the '20s -- name a place in this town that does -- but it's a definite cut above. It still serves its brew in a china cup and saucer, a practice we thought vanished with rotary phones, and it's as quiet as a library. Upstairs, there are a couple of tables for people who have their own reasons for not wanting to be glimpsed by passers-by. And here's another plus if you don't want to be seen arriving or departing together: The cafe looks out on Sutter, but you can also enter or exit via Market by strolling through the building's 1940s-ish corridor. Caffe Bianco is open 6 to 6, Monday through Friday.

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