Located in the centre of Wilmslow (they have another branch in Didsbury), Casa Italia is perhaps more café and deli than full-on restaurant. They’ll welcome you for a slice of cake or a panino and a coffee, as they will for lunch or dinner. And it all works very well. If ever you might want to describe a place as a “local gem”, this would be it.
We went for lunch. We showed restraint and, with regret, passed on starters – the antipasti all come from the deli offerings. There’s salads and panini for lighter or more snacky food but we both ordered main course pasta. To save repeating myself, let me confirm that both were properly “al dente”. One was a special of the day – agnolotti filled with flavoursome beef, served in a garlic and porcini cream sauce. A comforting dish that warmed you inside and cheered up the rest of you. The other came with a kick from nduja, spiking the tomato sauce which dressed a generous serving of orecchiette. It came topped with melted Fontina. Two of the best pasta dishes we’ve come across in a while.
The restraint on starters meant we had room for dessert. You’re not going to come across cannolo in most of the identikit Italian restaurants you come across. So, seeing it on a menu is always a good sign. And this was a good example – crisp pastry and a light creamy filling, not too sweet with a little texture contrast from candied peel. I am always going to try tiramisu in a new place – just to see if it beats my long standing top two (one local place, the other in Burlington, Vermont). This was tasty enough and another generous portion but it lacked “something” – certainly needing booze and maybe a more assertive favour of coffee.
As you might expect in an Italian gaff, coffee was first rate. As was service – definitely Serie A.