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. Not quite sure where this has come from, but I do welcome it with open arms. I am a big fan of Italy and their cuisine. I spend quite a bit of time in this part of the world.
When we think of Italian food, the first things which spring to our mind are Pizzas, tomatoes and Spaghetti Bolognese. These typical Italian dishes might be known as authentic Italian cuisine, but the origins lie surprisingly elsewhere. The earliest references to flatbread like bread were in Greece, Persia and Sardinia. Tomatoes originated from the Americas, and via Spain, they arrived in Italy in the 18th century. The popular flatbread from South Italy made its way to Naples where they topped it with tomato sauce and named it Pizza.
Authentic Italian cuisine is simple regional food. In the North, they like rich, creamy sauces, polenta and stuffed meats, in the South the typical Mediterranean cuisine such as tangy tomato sauces, olive oil and freshly 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 came soon to town too. Not a surprise as since the 80s Italian and Pizza restaurants have had a significant share of the market. It now represents 45% of the restaurant market. One of the biggest success stories is Aromi. Within three years they opened three cafes, and the 4th is in the planning. In the last few years, we have seen new places popping up all over Cambridge, including street food! Since the pandemic hit the world, enthusiastic entrepreneurs have seen opportunities as they had to turn their business around or decided to start a new venture. Romano’s is now delivering delicious Italian and Mediterranean style food at home, and the Slow Dough Pizza Company in Ely offers delicious pizzas on Saturday’s in Ely. One of our favourites on my food walking tours, Maurizio offers a selection of their best sellers and wine for take away delivery too.
Here is our quick reference guide to Italian dining in Cambridge.
Italian Street Food in Cambridge
On the local market | Roberto’s Deli
Italian Pop-up’s in Cambridge
Italian Restaurants in Cambridge
Don Pasquale | La Margherita | The Punt Yard | De Luca Cucina & Bar | La Mimosa | Gattuso’s Trattoria Pizzeria | Stazione Restaurant & Coffee Bar | Maurizio Dining & Co | Traditzione at the Sorento Hotel ( new) | Franco Manca | Al Pomodoro | Modigliani | Outside Cambridge | Il Piccolo Mondo | La Pergola | Slow Dow Pizza Company
Cafes in Cambridge
Tradizioni Restaurant| Aromi| Signorelli’s Deli Cambridge | La Pizza by Signorelli’s at the Grafton centre | Charlies’s Coffee Company | Cafe Sicilia | Zio Mario | Balzano’s | Benedetto’s Bar and Cafe | Limoncello | Charlie’s Coffee | Company & Pizzeria | Scott’s all day ( Mill Road) | Stir Cambridge (Saturday)
Pubs serving Italian Foods
If you enjoyed this article on Italian Restaurants in Cambridge you can read more from Gerla via the link Cambridge Foodie Articles or book onto one of her Cambridge Food Tours to discover more about Cambridge’s independent food scene.
For more information on up-to-date info and things to do indoors, garden days and exercise whilst social distancing why not check out our Facebook Page or Groups dedicated to your county Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk. Those dog lovers out there would be barking mad not to join our Doglife Group and vegan’s, you’ll be pleased we have one dedicated to you too.