Friday, 13 September 2013

Cafe Citta, Cardiff

I've never written a restaurant review before. I know how ridiculous it is for a 18 year old to be analysing a restaurant chef's food. Don't judge me.


It was my Dad's birthday yesterday. Normally, we'd stay home and get a family take away, it being a special occasion, but my father, being the now quite middle aged and mature man (ya don't look a day over 25, Dad!) sensibly suggested that we combine the occasion with a visit to my Brother's new Uni house in Cardiff. Usually, when we go to Cardiff for a meal out (which, in my opinion, is painfully infrequently) we go to Cafe Rouge. Which is fine. It's nice, comfortable, familiar, and if you plan it right, quite cheap. But I jumped at the chance. 'JAMIE'S ITALIAN. JAMIE'S ITALIAN.' I shouted. I love Italian. If you couldn't tell.

But my father wasn't going to settle that easily. 'To TripAdvisor!' *points finger skyward*. 'Look, this place is number one on trip advisor's list of restaurants in Cardiff. Jamie's Italian is 136th.' 'And, what's your point?' I was thinking. But he did point out that Jamie's didn't have a great selection of vegetarian dishes, not brilliant news for Pete. So we ended up booking a table for 5 on a Thursday night at Cafe Citta. A true hidden jem. With fantastic food, a really cosy atmosphere, and entertainment provided by the chefs twirling pizza dough up in the air like you see on telly, I'd recommend the place to anyone.

                                                  This photo of Cafe Citta is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Photos of Cafe Citta, Cardiff

At first glance, Cafe Citta doesn't look like the best place to grab a meal. Situated on Church Street, Cardiff, the neighboring strip club and photocopying shop don't really set it in the best light. But look past that, it's about to get so much better. The Cafe itself is very narrow, and can only seat about 25 at a time. Not surprising considering every single dish is made fresh to order by just two chefs in the open kitchen at the back of the restaurant, who provide great entertainment flipping and spinning pizza doughs and firing them in the authentic pizza oven. I may have stared a little too much. But it was so interesting!!

The menu was wide and we all had a hard time choosing what we wanted. There was also a specials board that I assume changes every day. We started off with a garlic pizza, a housemade pizza dough thin crust spread with butter, garlic and rosemary, then fired in the wood oven. Because it was cooked in the hot oven the pizza we shared as a starter arrived in no time. It was delicious. The base wasn't too thin or crispy (something that stopped me ordering a pizza for my main), but instead was soft and slightly chewy, not too garlicy, and the crispy rosemary was a genius addition. My plan was to save my slice to eat with my main, but after a while I gave in, not wanting it to go cold before my pasta arrived. That, I would say, was the only downside to the place. The small kitchen and even smaller staff meant the wait for our main courses was quite long, especially as there were a few large parties waiting on their meals at the same time. This wasn't a problem for us, but I can see how it could be annoying for some.

                                                     This photo of Cafe Citta is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Photos of Cafe Citta, Cardiff
a folded pizza

I honestly can't remember the name of what I ordered, because it was something really long and Italian. Basically, it was spaghetti with a rich tomato sauce, pancetta, chillis, red onion, garlic and rocket. It was amazing. The sauce was smokey and delicious, and there was just enough to leave you well satisfied, but not overly stuffed so I couldn't sample other people's. Speaking of, my brother, Pete, being a vegi (who they were very helpful and accommodating to, saying they could make practically anything vegetarian, seeing as it's made to order), ordered a 'folded pizza' (pretty much exactly how it sounds, a pizza folded like you would a pancake, a few more times than a calzone) with courgettes, rocket and parma ham, but asked for the ham to be replaced with goat's cheese. I tried a bit. It was actually stunning. Like the garlic pizza, the middle of the dough was slightly under cooked and chewy, not at all crispy, which I loved. It oozed cheese and had incredible flavour. It'll probably order that next time we go, it was that good. My Dad ordered a porchini and Italian sausage pizza, which was also great.

We were left full and happy. The bill came to £62 for 5 meals plus drinks. Very reasonable. Especially for food of that quality. The staff were helpful and kind, and the family run atmosphere of the place really was lovely. It was also interesting to hear the waitresses and chefs speaking to each other in Italian, it really added to the authentic feel. Of course, it was miles away from real Italy, but probably a lot closer than the corporate chain Jamie's Italian.

It'd still love to go there sometime, though.
But I'll probably be returning to Cafe Citta first...

1 comment:

  1. Authentic Italian food that you'll have to go a long way to beat. Adriano, and his staff always look after us. The bruschetta starter with mushrooms is one of the tastiest things on the planet, and nothing is too much trouble. Don't hesitate just go!

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