La Dolce Eater: The Best Places For Authentic, Regional Italian Food In The UK

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  • Forget pizza-chain dough balls: authentic, regional Italian food is having a moment. Here's our guide to the best places to get your pasta fix. Delicioso!

    ‘Fancy Puglian tonight?’ That’s right, it’s time to get more specific because regional Italian food is where it’s at right now. From perfect Neapolitan pizzas (no stuffed crusts here, thanks) to Sicilian seafood, we’re talking totally authentic signature dishes. Here are the best places to get your fill without boarding an easyJet, sorted by region…

    THE NORTH


    Foodie hot spots: Tuscany, Veneto, Sardinia 

    Ristorante Frescobaldi


    Tuscany 

    It’s all about: Major meat dishes.

    Go to: Ristorante Frescobaldi in Mayfair, which one of Italy’s oldest wine dynasties launched last autumn. Yes, it’s as fancy as it sounds.

    On the menu: Marinated Tuscan Black Angus beef washed down with a delicious Pomino Bianco from the family’s vineyards.

    Veneto

    It’s all about: Cicchetti (small plates)

    Go to: San Carlo Cicchetti in Manchester. These plates were made for sharing, and prove that small is definitely beautiful.

    On the menu: Get stuck into the tuna tartare with wild rocket, or the crostini with San Daniele ham. Mix it up.

    Sardinia

    It’s all about: The best antipasti you’ll find.

    Go to: A pop-up supper at gourmet but cool Sardinian deli Vallebona in London’s Wimbledon.

    On the menu: Tonno Di Coniglio (aka rabbit with tuna) from the likes of Bocca di Lupo chef Jacob Kennedy. 

    THE SOUTH

    Foodie hot spots: Sardinia, Puglia, Sicily, Naples
    Piccola Cucina 

    Puglia

    It’s all about: Olive oils, pasta and bread.

    Go to: Italian deli/eatery Pulia, which opened its first international outpost in February near London’s rustic foodie heaven Borough Market, specialising in Apulian grub.

    On the menu: Light Panzerotti pastries. Yes, pasties just got chic.

    Sicily

    It’s all about: Seafood dishes.

    Go to: Piccola Cucina, which has just opened its first UK outpost in Notting Hill. It’s already huge in New York (Adam Sandler and Vince Vaughn are fans).

    On the menu: The best lobster spaghtetti you’ll taste this side of the Med, so fresh it’s flown in daily.

    Naples

    It’s all about: Pizza (it’s an art form down there).

    Go to: Edinburgh’s La Favorita. The dough is a secret blend of the finest flour and seasoning.

    On the menu: Classic, non-gimmicky creations from the log-fired oven, like Cacio e Pere (think pecorino, goats cheese and pear.)

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