Doppio Cafe - Santa Cruz

by Alison Donald
(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)




Though it has only been open a few months, Doppio has become a firm favourite with well-coiffed Cruceños. Dress code: designer sunglasses and laptops.


If I was pushed to nominate a single place which typified the new Cruceño way, I can think of no better example than Doppio. Sleek, modern and sociable, this is Santa Cruz.

A lot of thought has been put into the decor and furniture – dark rattan chairs, mirrors and wooden fretwork on the walls. During the mornings a stylish and branded screen is pulled down to shade clients from the sun.

The menu focuses on light bites and sharing plates – this is not the place to come if you have a raging hunger (unless you want to risk social rejection by scoffing down a sharing plate solito).

There is an espresso machine, a range of hot and cold drinks including 3 different single estate coffee blends for cafetieres. They also serve wine and spirits.

I went for breakfast one morning and was surprised to find that at 8am, at least half of the tables were taken. An hour or so later, you would have trouble finding a space.

The service was not unpleasant and about average for an establishment of this type (for such friendly and fun-loving people, Cruceños put up with bad service).

My breakfast for 22Bs (just over US$3) was coffee, toast and a small glass of orange juice. All very nice except that I could have eaten twice that amount (this must be why Cruceña women are so slim). The prices are competitive for an establishment of this standard.

My companion didn’t fare so well. She chose an Orange Coffee from the menu which turned out to be a Iced Orange Coffee, for some reason not listed with the other iced coffees. They did agree to change this for something else, though not without some persuasion and several staff members needed to get involved.

She also had a bruschetta which was ok – cheese lacking in flavour, quite hard bread. I noticed it did not get finished.

It took a while for our orders to arrive which wasn’t a problem for us (we were too busy talking) but if you were short of time you may be better off somewhere else.

Wherever you are staying in Santa Cruz, I would strongly recommend a visit here just for the people-watching. The coffee is very good too.

Alison Donald is the editor of our free monthly E-zine Bella News.

If you accessed this article from our August 2011 issue of Bella News, return to reading the issue here.

Comments for Doppio Cafe - Santa Cruz

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Aug 04, 2011
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a response
by: Alison Donald

I?m actually really shocked at some of the comments below and feel compelled to respond.

My observation that some of the other clients in Doppio had designer sunglasses and laptops was a FACT-based comment. Whether I admire this style of dressing or not was not mentioned in the article. For "people-watchers" like me this particular strip of street in Santa Cruz would be a very good place to sit in a cafe for an hour or two.

Two of you gave examples of very bad treatment of other customers in a restaurant/ a bakery. If you have the details of these events you could consider writing your own review of these establishments. What happened in those cases is terrible and if I had seen similar at any place I visit I would certainly have mentioned it and vowed never to go back.

Are you suggesting that everybody in Santa Cruz earns their money via the drugs trade or mistreats poor or indigenous people? No, so why mention these ugly occurences here?

What I take most from your comments is anti-Santa Cruz feeling. You are entitled to your beliefs. What is not fair is to make sweeping and very negative judgements and generalisations about the Cruceños (and possibly me, I am not too sure). So Santa Cruz is progressive and some of the Cruceños like nice things. Is that a crime?

As for ?foreigners? sitting around in a cafe, you were reading a restaurant review! The culture, history and peoples of Bolivia are mentioned in detail in other sections of BoliviaBella.com

There is an urban legend about foreigners who live in Bolivia because it is cheap here. I?ve yet to meet one of these characters. The foreigners I have met who are here are so because their work sent them (or their partner) here, because they were travelling or volunteering here and enjoyed it so much they decided to stay, or because their partner is Bolivian and the couple have decided that their life at this stage should be in Bolivia.

As for caring about the Bolivian people as a whole, I could not answer that on behalf of my fellow ?foreigners?. What I will say is that there is large-scale immigration to my homeland (the UK) and I don?t think we question those at Heathrow airport on their feelings about us.

I wanted to paint a picture of Doppio, the clientele and the products and service so that people can make up their own mind on whether they wish to visit. It is clear that most of the commentators below are not interested in this type of cafe and that is fine with all concerned.

Aug 04, 2011
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Huh?
by: Anonymous

You are obviously not from Bolivia or have much of a knowledge of it's demographics, or you would understand that most of the indigenous people there are looked down upon and most of the progress made in a city like Santa Cruz is the result of drug money and the sense that somehow this money gives a sense of validity and privilege. There are not many people sitting around in restaurant and volunteering and starting businesses as most people cannot afford to do more than make a daily living, if they are lucky. My opinion is that most foreigners are there to take advantage of Bolivia's low standard of living and not because they care about it's citizens. I recently went to a bakery with my mother in law, and was shocked to see the looks of disapproval because she was dressed in Bolivian traditional dress. The only reason she was not asked to leave is that I had to stare down those customers who thought that they were somehow better than her. She was sadly uncomfortable and wanted to leave. The "privileged" customers were falsely IMPRESSED that I was an American but I had no interest in their later attempts to suck up to me. Bolivia is not a country you relocate to if you're only interest is having cheap domestic help or designer sunglasses.

Aug 04, 2011
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Life is not a competiton
by: Anonymous

I have no issue with people who want to enjoy the fruits of their labors. What I object to is, rather than enjoying the scenery, observing and appreciating the culture and its history and peoples, foreigners would sit in a restaurant and admire and comment on designer sunglasses, as though this is some form of accomplishment. My husband is from Bolivia and we have traveled often to Santa Cruz. We've often sat in restaurants and observed how the managers have asked homeless or poor people to leave the premises. One wanted my husband and I to leave because we offered a young man a seat and a meal at our table. My husband is from Cochabamba and it is widely considered to be second class by Santa Cruz, spoiled, western world imitators. Focusing on designer sunglasses when the general population is poor seems to be in poor taste and fosters their sense of somehow being elite. Rather shallow in our opinion.

Aug 04, 2011
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Life is not a competition
by: Anonymous

I'd like to respond to "Anonymous" below:

I believe people have a right to live within their means. Many people work hard for what they have and make great efforts to get an education, find jobs, set up businesses, raise their children well.

Enjoying the fruit of their labor with a coffee at a nice restaurant is not a sin. It's true there is a lot of poverty in Bolivia. There is poverty everywhere. But envying people who are able to enjoy life a little is also not correct.

You don't know, when you walk into a restaurant, if the people seated there have also done a lot for society, or helped the poor, or donated money, or worked as volunteers. Your assumption is that everyone who has a little money to spend at a restaurant is undeserving of that.

The fact that you have access to a computer, probably means you are not exactly poverty-stricken either.

Aug 04, 2011
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Designer Sunglasses and Laptops???
by: Anonymous

I'm not quite sure why anyone would be interested in seeing people with designer sunglasses and laptops. Most of the people in Bolivia are poor and it would seem that you would be more interested in the people themselves rather than wantabes interested in imitating western meaningless excesses!

Jul 31, 2011
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Doppio
by: Pierre

Well I know Doppio very well from the opening as the best Wi-Fi signal around for our laptop along with a very friendly service!

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