This month Gerla de Boer, tells us about the uprise of Italian restaurants in Cambridge
It always surprises me how we seem to have a boom of the same products in our local food scene. Street food, artisan burgers and gastro pubs are some of them. Now we have an opening spree of Italian restaurants and cafes. I’m not quite sure where this has come from, but I do welcome it with open arms. I am big fan of Italy and its cuisine. I can often be found in this part of the world.
When we think of Italian food, we think pizza’s, tomatoes and spaghetti bolognese. These typical Italian dishes might be known as true Italian cuisine, but the origins lies surprisingly elsewhere. The earliest references to flatbread like breads were in Greece, Persia and Sardinia. Tomatoes originate from the Americas and were introduced in Italy in the 18th century. The popular flatbread from South Italy made its way to Naples where they added tomato sauce and named it pizza.
Authentic Italian cuisine is simple regional food. In the North, they like rich cream sauces, polenta and stuffed meats, in the South the typical Mediterranean cuisine such as tangy tomato sauces, olive oil and fresh steamed seafood. Italy is a diverse country and they are proud of their local cuisine. Don’t try to feed a Milanese Spaghetti Bolognese, you might be in serious trouble!
So what is happening back home in Cambridge? In 1973 the first Italian restaurant, Don Pasquale, opened their doors on the Market Square. The next 20 years saw quite a few Italians opening restaurants in our city. Of course the branded names soon came to the city too. Not a surprise as since the 80s Italian and pizza restaurants have had the biggest share of the market. It now represents 45% of the restaurant market.
One of the biggest success stories in Cambridge is Aromi. Within three years they opened three cafes and the fourth is in the planning. In the last half a year, we have seen new places popping up all over the place. Including street food! Here is our guide to Italian dining in Cambridge:
Italian Street food in Cambridge
Italian Restaurants in Cambridge
Don Pasquale | La Margherita | The Punt Yard | De Lucaa Cucina & Bar | La Mimosa | Gattuso’s Trattoria Pizzeria | Stazione Restaurant & Coffee Bar | Maurizio Dining & Co | Vino E Sapori in the Sorento Hotel