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Java Cat

In a word: Cat-alyzes the neighborhood.

The specs: #0274
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Notes from a Cafe, Yelp, Mad Hungry, 77 Square, Java Cat on Urbanspoon; Just Coffee profile; official web site.

JM ate the ham and swiss honey mustard panino with a lemonade and a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie for dessert.
Nichole ate the bacon English muffin sandwich and a small chocolate hazelnut gelato.
The bill was $18, or $9/person, plus tip.
JM gave Java Cat a B+; Nichole gave Java Cat an A- (see our grading rubric).

Latest Java Cat news and reviews

Java Cat has a wide menu that includes homemade gelato, bakery, wraps, panini, breakfast sandwiches (served anytime), soup, Gail Ambrosius chocolates, and croissants, in addition to the usual coffee fare.

JM's panino was good, if a little underheated.  The ciabatta was nice, reasonably tasty but with mostly muted spices, though not as good as that at In the Company of Thieves. The chips were better than most, being actually light and crispy. The lemonade was a little strong on the sour and light on the sweet, and, as a finale, the peanut butter cookie was just the right kind of soft, crunchy enough not to be a doughball.

Nichole found her breakfast sandwich a little pricey - but it was served fast, on an English muffin with a tidy round of scrambled egg, a slice of American cheese, and bacon - good, but not remarkable.

The gelato, on the other hand, is worth a special trip to Java Cat. Nichole chose the hazelnut chocolate from a selection of more than a dozen homemade flavors in the immaculately tidy freezer case. The "small" was actually a very generous scoop (and as it turns out they'll even serve multiple flavors per dish). Tiny bits of hazelnut studded the dense yet smooth chocolate base, and left a delicious lingering taste.

Upon further examination of the menu Nichole found the good deal: the soup and sandwich that comes with a small gelato, for about the price she paid for her meal. There's always next time.

Java Cat also proudly displays a well-earned "Obsessively Clean Restroom" award, and really the only fault we could find is that a personal bias against cats (sorry, cat loving readers) made the over-the-top cat decor a little unappetizing. Bus-your-dishes-tub-as-litterbox just doesn't work for us, we guess.

All told, the neighborhood really needed a place like Java Cat. Whether you live nearby or are just passing through, give it a try.

Comments

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How would you compare their gelato to that of Paciugo?

Oooh, haven't been to Paciugo yet. In fact, I haven't had much gelato in my life, so take my glowing praise with a grain of salt...

Oooh... I've only had it once so far (and I eat far more ice cream than gelato, though I love them both), but ooooh just about captures it. It's magically delicious. My friend Dave and I had some late last month on a really freakin' hot day. Think we stuck mostly with the herbal flavors (as you can request up to three flavors in a cup, I think!); they were made with care, true, and incredibly refreshing. Do you have to wait until the Ps to go??

Maybe not if I sneak out when JM's not looking. :)

Java Cat and Paciugo are fairly similar - although if I had to choose I'd go to Java Cat. If for nothing else than, in true Madisonian Nature, it's locally owned. Taste wise - I also find Java Cat's Gelato to be slightly fresher. Airyness is a huge component of gelato so the fresher the better.
Their bakery is also something to not over look either - I love their scones.

stopped at java cat for the gelato. some of the flavors that made my consideration list were marshmallow, birthday cake, and peanut butter crunch. but in the end i decided on dulce de leche cheesecake...i was not disappointed! it was delicious with little bits of cheesecake crumbs worked in the gelato. the staff was extremely friendly as well. i just wished i didnt live to far away :(

Go back to Java Cat sometime just for the gelato, keeping in mind that you can actually try the flavors before ordering. Which means that if you're curious about the Earl Grey or the Habanero Chocolate, you can taste them prior to committing to a full scoop.

Paciugo is tasty, of course, because...well...it's gelato, lol. I prefer Java Cat though, because it's locally owned and it's actually fresh on the premises. They're always dreaming up new flavors too, so part of the fun is that you never know what crazy (yet always tasty) treats they'll have!

I'd never been here until I found your review- it's now my favorite coffee/breakfast hangout on weekends. I had the Gotham everything bagel with egg,cheese and sausage recently. OMG- it was enormous (and quite good). Two eggs,two sausage patties, cheese (OK, american cheese slice). It's a good value and the staff is very friendly and efficient.

I think java cat gelato is much better than paciugo. whatever flavor i get at paciugo, it always ends up tasting the same about 1/4 way through my scoop. Java cat gelato flavors are much more creative and tend to have a lot more flavor to them.

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