Best Part: The Smug Superiority
We have referenced this before but one rather expects, in our sleepy little city, that you can wander in to any place that takes your fancy on a Thursday lunchtime and have your pick of tables. If you expect this from L’Italiana, as many of our fellow townsfolk did, you will be sadly disappointed. Luckily we arrived early on in the lunch-hour and were able to pick up the last table for two, so were able to enjoy the frustrated faces of would-be diners looking longingly at pizzas that would never be theirs.
You can kind of understand the imbalance of tables to patrons, as L’Italiana do have an exceptionally good lunch deal. £5.95 will buy you a pizza or a pasta, with fancy pizzas costing a little extra. Being a fancy man I went for the premium pizza, in this case an Ela which featured gorgonzola, parma ham and rocket. There was a generous pile of rocket on a nicely crisp base, but I will confess to not being blown away by it. I think when one orders a pizza with gorgonzola you would really expect to taste it, but in this case it was more of a pleasant after-thought. The basics were all in place but there was no pizazz to take it to the next level.
My wife was happy to have 5 vegetarian pizzas to chose from. She decided on the Delizia which featured Sun Dried Tomatoes and like me, gorgonzola. On the whole she was happy with her choice, being a great fan of both toppings. However she felt that there was a slight imbalance, with the sun dried tomatoes dominating the gorgonzola. This lead us to wonder whether perhaps there had been a cheese delivery cock up that day!
We have had about 10 superb meals at L’Italiana over the years and while things were a little off par on this occasion this would in no way prevent us from returning or recommending it. Service is good, it is comfortable and by jove their Calzone are huge! It is also pitched in a lovely little spot, on French Row in a delightful old building with plenty of opportunities for watching the toing and froing of those town folks going about their non-pizza business. The tables are small and closely packed, but it feels nicely intimate rather than cramped. . There is a certain shadow joy from watching people trying and failing to get to the dining opportunities you are enjoying. But you do want to take them to one side and inform them that they could almost certainly get a table at La Cosa Nostra, where they would find arguably better pizzas at an even better deal.