Writer Umberto Eco once said: “To come to know Italian cuisine in all its variety is to discover the monumental differences, not only of language, but of taste, mentality, creativity, sense of humour, attitude toward suffering and death, loquacity or taciturnity, that separate a Sicilian from a Piemontese or a Venetian from a Sardinian.” I totally agree with Umberto Eco that you cannot compare Milanese Cuisine to for example a typical Sicilian dish but what all Italians always have in common is their love for food and the fact that they enjoy sharing this love with everyone. This is probably why I just love to dine at any of my favourite Italian restaurants in Madrid as I share with them the passion for outstanding Italian food. Today ShMadrid wants to share the best Italian restaurants with you. The restaurants are all quite different and you will find one suitable for each occasion.
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The best Italian restaurant for each occasion
For a delicious quick pizza in the city centre, go to Trattoria Il Pizzaiolo, at Calle de Hortaleza, 84. Make sure you come in early, as this small Italian restaurant, where the owners are originally from Palermo, always gets packed during the rush hours. No wonder, they offer delicious pizzas for very reasonable prices. Located in heart of Chueca neighbourhood.
A more romantic restaurant with a standard Italian menu in Madrid centre is Trattoria Pulcinella, at Calle de Regueros, 7. This restaurant is perfect for a second, romantic date or an anniversary. Its intimate, not too posh and the food is excellent. The intimate atmosphere has a small downside though in the way that some tables are placed just 5 centimetres to the next one and I once had to listen to another’s couple relationship issues until dessert (which as a writer fortunately does not bother me in the least). They do have some more separated placed tables, just make sure to ask for one when you make your reservation. During the weekdays you probably do not have to reserve a table but in the weekend it does gets packed.
Get your Delicious, homemade pasta for a normal weekday at Trattoria Due Amici, at Calle Ponzano, 98. Authentic and homemade pasta is what you can find at Due Amici, don’t expect anything posh or fancy here, it’s just all about the food. Good to go with friends or family on a weekday out if the group is not too big as it is kind of small place. They also deliver pizzas. They guys who work there are all really nice and easygoing, maybe a little bit overpriced but thats because of the neighbourhood they are located at.
Incredible wood oven pizzas can be enjoyed at Maruzzella, at Calle Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, 28. As an authentic Italophile I just love Roberto´s Murolo´s song la Maruzella and I cannot stop myself from humming everytime I go for dinner at la Maruzella. Here you should try the authentic wood oven pizzas, they taste fantastic and l particularly love to top them off with the spicy olive oil they have (plus ready in 6 minutes tops, if you are in a hurry). The staff can be a bit arrogant, especially the female ones but maybe it’s just their typical Italian proud attitude. The good thing is that it has space inside and normally you can always find a table except Saturday night perhaps. They also have a terrace which is great in summertime. Besides the pizzas, the rest of the food is also pretty decent (I haven’t tried the meat though, the pasta was excellent) but they do charge for table service and the bread. They also have a good wine list and I recommend you try the filled “cannolo siciliano” for dessert. Good to go with family or a large group of friends or if you just feel like eating a great, wood oven pizza in a nice setting and you don’t mind paying a bit extra for the bread and service.
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You will find only authentic Sardinian and Sicilian “sabores” (=flavours) at La Tavernetta, at Calle Orellana, 17. I like La Tavernetta as it is not the typical Italian restaurant round the corner with the regular menu but here you can try a different Italian cuisine. Their pisto de berenjenas a la siciliana or (Caponata di melanzane) is delicious and their pastas are original and excellent served as well. They also have some typical Sardinian cheeses they import themselves and good wines. This is a great place to go with a friend or with your brother or sister, make sure to reserve if you go in the weekend. Its kind of small so not handy with a big crowd.
Enjoy the Lovely atmosphere, small portions, and, most of all, great food at Piu di Prima, at Hortaleza, 100. This is an excellent second date restaurant, or to go with a secret lover. If I were rich I would go here every week as I just love the atmosphere. In Piu di Prima you should just have dinner without checking the prices as they are overpriced but you will find a romantic and intimate atmosphere, discrete waiters and a not too standard Italian menu with still excellent food. They also have a small terrace which is great in the summer. Here you will pay extra for the elegance and some of the dishes are pretty small but the food is good and the romantic setting makes up for a lot.
Other Italian restaurants
Anema e Core at Donados, 2 is located in the heart of the city centre, also overpriced, standard Italian menu but good food anyway and a wood oven which makes their pizza margarita especially great. The last time I went there the waiters were a bit grumpy but maybe they weren’t having a good day. I also missed the music but it was a football night so the TV was on as well and being weekday the restaurant was almost empty. Perhaps therefore it lacked atmosphere but for sure in the weekend it will be completely different. I need to try this one one out again thats for sure.
Casa Marco at Gaztambide, 6. I still need to try his one, looks promising though.
Which is your favourite Italian restaurant in Madrid?