The coffee cafes probably serve the same function today, but wifi has intruded to make them more tech-oriented, and maybe conversation-less in some cases. They are definitely posher, cleaner, and still limited in eats they offer. I have spent a few hours talking to people at some CCDs (particularly one on Brigade Road, Bangalore- Anupriya, Shafique, Zargar were some of the people I yapped with). Another pleasant place I remember is Coco's in Hyderabad where Nikita and Ritika were with us-it has the feel of a Goa shack (in Jubilee Hills). And in Bangalore again, a Vietnamese place where I met Shweta, Coconut Grove where I met Saumya, or Church Street Social where Shafique, Pallavi and I socialised. In Mumbai, some pleasant conversations happened In Chili's where Divya Singh was involved, and a mall food joint in R Mall where Bhagyalakshmi and I met. Not to forget Sanjeev Kapoor's Yellow Chilli, where Garima Shah was on the other side of the table.
In Belgium, of all places, we had landed in a Lebanese restaurant, and the waiters served us with a lot of warmth when they learnt we were from India-I think this was 1987, when four of us were doing a Eurail trip. One or two ordinary Greek restaurants in Athens were also very nice and warm.