What I like:
The design is awesome. It's a modern and clean design, mandatory for all Illy Coffee shops all over the world with just adjustment to the local shop sizes. The armchairs are real leather and comfortable, the lightning is not to bright, and the close the curtains when too much sunlight comes in.
The range of products is different from other chains like Gloria Jeans and Coffee Bean. They have many creations for cold and hot coffee (the cafe latte is still worth a try), and presentation is good as well. For the opening there was a promotion when you get a small cake with every coffee you purchased. They serve you on the table (that means not stand up and walk to the cashier desk to order).
The cakes are tasty, even if its Asia style cakes with this thick fatty cream. But thats ok. There is a small breakfast menu, mainly some fried egg dishes.
What I don't like:
Forget the food. It's pizza and some pseudo-western style dishes. The pumpkin soup and the spinach soup is ok, the rest just under average and overpriced.
The staff is - no wonder- not trained. They do the best, but from a level zero. So don't expect that they understand what a low fat milk is. For the opening weekend a lot of food was not available (no pizza margarita, but pizza salami.. wtf??) The music is typical 80s western charts :-(
And there is another problem that you should know: The owner of the Espressamente Illy Coffee shops also owns a shark fin restaurant in District 1. So if you are protesting against the inhuman way of killing sharks for fins, you should boycott Illy or at least leave a note of protest there.
When I asked Illy Headquarter about this, they said:
We thank for your letter and, as we can read in your mail, it is hard to
believe an Espressamente illy coffee bar interested in the business of shark
The premises you have kindly brought to our attention are independently
managed, although the products sold there, the offers, and the exploitation
of our brand unquestionably demand to operate in compliance with rules and
behaviours accurately defined and undersigned by the involved managers, upon
whom we keep a direct supervision.
For what said above, we would like to thank you very much for your report
and we are glad to reassure you that this case is already under assessment
and taken care of with the greatest attention.
Both restaurants are still in the same ownership, they may stopped cross promotion in District 1 - I havent been there since then.
UPDATE: I am sitting in the Illy Espressamente again. The mens toilet room is out of soap. I saw two managers and supervisors using the toilet as well as one cook. Nobody noticed that there is no soap, meaning they did not clean their hands properly. Why they set up useless, clueless and unexperienced supervisors in these shops instead of someone who can run this properly.
I blame the (foreign) management for this problems, not the staff. They haven't been trained properly, so it's not their fault.