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A Mediterranean Feast

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When it comes to Italian food there's a real abundance of choice. In each area of Italy and across its islands, you'll find many different specialities, including Sicilian cannoli pastries, Neapolitan pizza and spicy Lazian pasta arrabbiata.

Typically Italian cuisine is based around pure simplicity, making the most of quality ingredients prepared using straightforward, unfussy techniques. The options are plenty for meat eaters and vegetarians alike, including rich meat ragu, buttery polenta and classic margarita pizza topped with fresh basil, San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella.

Italian cuisine is based around pure simplicity

Anyone with a sweet tooth is spoilt for choice with gelato, semifreddo, panna cotta and tiramisu, to name just a few. To round off the evening you might choose to pair a sweet treat with an Italian espresso or something a little stronger, like a glass of grappa.

In Sheffield, we've got some great places where you can enjoy a taste of Italy. Sample cafe culture at Zefi's Coffee Lounge at Commonside and Remo's in Broomhill. Try Sardinian specialities at Akentannos on Sharrow Vale Road, take time over your Sunday lunch at Gigi's Cucina in Nether Green or enjoy a plate of pasta at Kia's Pastaria on Abbeydale Road.

Here's our Italian tasting platter to cover all occasions, whether you want pizza for lunch or a breakfast coffee kick-start. Buon appetito!

Ros Ayres

@nibbly_pig

For watching the world go by...

Bragazzis

224-226 Abbeydale Road, S7 1FL

Bragazzis café-deli is a Sheffield institution, where you enjoy decent coffee, indulge in a pastry and pick up some fresh pasta or other Italian goodies from the delicatessen. Take a seat inside (or outside, weather permitting), relax with a cappuccino and people-watch as if you were in an Italian city.

For a taste of street food...

Fritti

Cutlery Works, 73-101 Neepsend Lane, S3 8AT

Fritti in Cutlery Works at Neepsend are purveyors of 'bites of joy' inspired by Naples street food. These include deep-fried olives, golden crispy arancini (fried stuffed rice balls) and sweet bombolone (an Italian-style doughnut) filled with Nutella and dusted with cinnamon sugar. You can treat yourself to a cone of your favourites to have on the go whilst you decide what to eat next from the food hall.

For great pasta...

Casa Mia

40 Wostenholm Road, S7 1LJ

Family-run restaurant Casa Mia in Nether Edge offers traditional Italian cuisine with a selection of sumptuous pasta dishes. At the moment these include rigatoni with a classic pork and beef ragu, fusillata with artichoke, peas, garlic and napolitana sauce, and linguine with crab, coriander, cream, tomato and chilli. Vegan menu also available.

For authentic pizza...

Napoli Centro Pizzeria

343 Glossop Road, S10 2HP

Relative newbies Napoli Centro are carving out a fine reputation for their Neapolitan pizzas. You can eat in with a beer or take away. They have a great weekday lunch deal - £5 a pizza - and a Pizza of the Month special. February's featured spicy 'nduja sausage, mozzarella, red onion and Gorgonzola.

For vegan and gluten-free...

Italia Uno

955 Ecclesall Road, S11 8TH

Italia Uno owner Kym is a vegan and has crafted a menu which offers delicious choices whether you are looking for healthy, gluten-free, meaty or vegan dishes. Choices range from risotto al funghi porcini, made with wild mushrooms in a soya cream sauce, to under 500 calorie options, like penne with roasted butternut squash, garlic and pesto in a tomato sauce.

For an evening out...

Vero Gusto

12 Norfolk Row, S1 2PA

Vero Gusto is the place to choose if you are looking to enjoy a sophisticated dinner out with quality service, fine wine and authentic Italian cuisine. The menu includes mini rigatoni with aubergine, peppers and kalamata olives, 28-day dry-aged rib of beef served with oyster mushrooms, and pan-fried wild sea bass with creamed celeriac and red wine.

For good coffee...

La Coppola

137 Oakbrook Road, S11 7EB

After a walk in Endcliffe Park, call in at the bijou La Coppola Italian-style deli and cafe to enjoy great coffee. You can get your favourite fix from espresso to cappuccino and treat yourself to a pastry. If you take your dog, you can take a seat alfresco and blankets are provided if you want to get cosy.

For something sweet...

Urban-Ita

288 Abbeydale Road, S7 1FL

Urban-ita is run by husband and wife team Saverio and Lorraine who are passionate about Italian cuisine. Enjoy time with friends and satisfy your sweet tooth by sampling some homemade cake, with vegan and gluten-free options available.

Next article in issue 132

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