It’s fair to say that the metro area isn’t well-endowed with “good” Italian restaurants. By “good”, I mean different/better than the identikit Italians you’ll find in every suburb. So, even though dinner at Salvi’s is rarely perfect, it’s always enjoyable. The difference is seen as soon you look at the menu. How many places are there where you’re going to find a list of fritti amongst the starters, or several choices of pizza bianche, as well as the more common ones with tomato sauce or, even, just finding friarielli (wild broccoli) used in dishes?
A first choice starter was “off”. It sounded nice – aubergine “meatballs” in sauce. The second choice was a classic parmigiana de melanzane – slices of aubergine, grilled and topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan. We’ve had this before. It was tasty then and now – one thing Salvi’s always gets right is a really flavoursome tomato sauce. The other starter was “aperitivo” – a board topped with assorted nibbles – salami, ham, tomato, rocket, mozzarella, olives. It was fine but not as generous or as interesting an offering as a previous occasion – times are tough for restaurants so I understand about paring things back to save money but I wouldn’t order this again.
That tomato sauce or, at least, a variation on it dressed fusilli, along with chunks of courgette and king prawn. It really was excellent with a really powerful tomato flavour but also with a little background sweetness. The courgette and prawn added texture as well as flavour. The owners originate from Naples and their pizzas are cooked in the city’s style – a softish crust but one still nicely chewy and the centre of the pizza just ever so slightly undercooked. This one came topped with anchovies, olives and capers which could have been overly assertive but the quantity of toppings are restrained so they don’t overwhelm the flavour of the dough or sauce. You would be hard pushed to find a better pizza in the city centre.
Only one of us wanted dessert. And that’ll be a cannolo, please – again, something you’re not going to find in the identikit places. And it’s very decent version – very crisp pastry filled with a perhaps slightly over-sweetened ricotta. We finished with espresso which, unsurprisingly, was excellent.