The first time I went here, I was so hungry I thought I was going to pass out and had to get food from the nearest available place. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a lovely little Italian cafe. The small, rectangular interior had a dark green nicely tiled floor and a just few small tables, maybe about 8, and another 3 tables outside. It was very clean and bright, and somehow has a bit of atmosphere and tranquility in spite of its location on busy Santa Monica Boulevard. It's not enough atmosphere to impress any date, unless you've got a quick breakfast date (but who does that?) who would be impressed by your ability to choose a non-chain, but the atmosphere is definitely better than you-know-where. The back wall has lots of framed artwork. Metered street parking was very easy to find at 8:15 AM.
I did not want to spend my money on a full blown meal, so I got an orange cranberry muffin. The muffin was exceptionally good, and this is coming from a person who does not like muffins. And it wasn't just because I was starving that I thought it was tasty. Though it was because I was starving that I actually ate a muffin. Why don't I like muffins? I don't know. I don't like breakfast food much, except for pancakes and French toast. I can often be found eating pizza for breakfast. However, this muffin was exceptional, and even used real fresh cranberries, not dried ones! The service was friendly and respectful and offered to heat up my muffin for me. Fortunately, they did not ask if I wanted my muffin buttered.
In addition to breakfast pastry type items and coffee, the cafe has panini and a pretty extensive menu of other Italian stuff. They also have various desserts and other breakfast items, like eggs. I'm pretty sure they had some hot pasta dishes. I wouldn't mind eating here for real sometime, but we all know how often I eat Italian when I go out.
This morning, I tried Buon Giorno again, because I wanted coffee but wanted to give my money to someplace more unique than the Coffee Bean. I ordered a blueberry muffin and a medium decaf coffee. The total for these two items was a reasonable $4. My decaf coffee was excellent. It tasted fresh and rich-- not old, watered-down, dull, or burnt. The muffin was good as well, though I liked my previous cranberry muffin better. It seems these muffins don't have preservatives--it took me a couple of hours to eat mine since it was a busy morning at the office, and it started to dry out and get stale quite quickly. As I prefer to not eat preservatives, I consider this a good thing.
If you're looking for a potentially good undiscovered hole in the wall Italian cafe, you may want to check this place out.
Oh, and they actually said "thank you" when I put my change in the tip jar!
Buon Giorno Caffe
1431 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404