[Manchester, city centre] Salvi's Cucina

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.


So glad that you enjoyed. Big fan of vegetables that I am, I was intrigued by your mention of friarirelli. A Google search says it’s the same as what we know as broccoli rabe in the U.S. I had also heard of another Italian name for this vegetable, cime di rapa.

I like the sound of friarirelli best. Thank you for the—accidental though it may be—language lesson!

I think this is the only restaurant I know that serves it (presumably from frozen as it’s a very short season). When I first came across it here, I also had to Google and found the broccoli rabe reference. That was interesting in itself as I’d often seen mention of it by Americans and had always wondered what that was. On the other hand, I don’t think you generally have purple sprouting broccoli - https://pennysrecipes.com/4062/how-to-cook-purple-sprouting-broccoli

1 Like

Purple sprouting broccoli is a new one to me. I am surprised and happy to learn of vegetables that I have not seen before.

U.S. supermarkets and restaurants offer what I think of as a narrow selection of vegetables, though things have improved immensely since my childhood.

Similarly in the UK. PSB starts to become available very early in the year and goes on till late spring. We usually do little more than simply steaming it. Any leftovers get warmed up in olive oil and garlic and dumped on toast for next day’s lunch.

1 Like