If you can't get to Italy often enough, your best bet is to bring a bit of Italy to your city. Tired of Italian restaurants that have about as much to do with Italy as I do, I find it comforting to come across places like Le Cucine Mandarosso, a small space that more than does justice to true Italian cuisine. It's also got a genuine charm and decor that brings a smile to your face.
I'm not sure if I'm doing Le Cucine Madarosso any favours by going on about its treasures – usually they're overbooked and they must feel shivers of fear running down their spine whenever anyone publishes a rave review of their culinary skills. The truth is that I was so pleased with my choice from their lunch menu that if I go back for dinner, it might be a real religious experience.
From the set lunch menu my dining companion and I had the marinated salmon to share as a starter – the portions are generous – and it was magnificent: a fillet of salmon with a buttery texture. For mains we ordered gnocchi with tomato, ricotta and aubergine, as well as a pasta of the day with a creamy walnut sauce. Both were outstanding, the gnocchi delicate, the pasta al dente, and the sauces perfectly subtle.
For dessert, we had pannacotta with red berries and apple cake. Italians are handy with desserts, and these had the sweetness of recipes handed down in well-to-do families. The lunch menu has a friendly price tag, and with it you get a drink, even a good house wine if you like. In our case, since we ordered a starter, we paid a bit more. But the salmon was worth it.
|Venue name:||Le Cucine Mandarosso|
Verdaguer i Callís, 4
|Opening hours:||Mon closed; Tue-Sat 1.30pm-4pm, 9pm-midnight; Sun 1.30pm-4.30pm, 9pm-midnight|
|Transport:||Urquinaona (M: L1,L4)|