L'Antiga Esquerra de l'Eixample
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Time Out says
Posted: Sun Oct 28 2012
Nicola Marino explores every little corner of Italian cuisine very thoroughly, but also with a certain amount of provocation: see, for example, his ‘new carbonara’ spaghetti, or the ravioli where the filling is whole and not chopped.
Just crossing the threshold your senses are treated to all a typical trattoria has to offer. A pizza chef makes the dough spin and dance above his fingertips before transforming it into an exquisite crust.
The menu, as written or explained by Nicola Marino, is always full of tempting surprises. The last time we stopped by we tried a pumpkin cappuccino with cream cheese, a starter as welcoming as an Italian friend. The procession continued with an impressive artichoke carpaccio with parmesan and pine nuts – the perfect opening act for a Vitello tonnato, one of the house specialities. It's tough to choose from the menu since everything is so appetizing and described so well your mouth will be watering before Marino even finishes the specials. And of course, a recommendation's always best when the president of Spain's chapter of Ciao Italia (the only association of Italian restaurants in the world recognized by Italian authorities) whispers it in your ear. Well, yours and those of nine others.
Ever tried spaghetti 'nduja calabresa'? It's prepared with sausage as well as paté that's sort of like Spanish 'sobrasada', with a lot of perperoncino from the Marino's home region of Italy. With olives and a bit of tomato, it's a tantalizing and rare pasta dish. Piazze d'Italia has been in Barcelona for 20 years thanks to putting emphasis on quality raw materials and dedicating menus to themes based on products that are highly valued in Italy.
Some of the most famous local celebs and media types have passed through this temple of southern Italian cuisine with an innovative and provaocative twist. Dare to try their sweet Nutella pizza, which is completely over the top, but not to be missed. And the wine list has many recommendable bottles, especially when it comes to Italian selections.
Piazze d'Italia Casanova, 94