Places that make you feel like you were in Italy
Being an expat abroad is not always easy and there are times where you feel deeply homesick and miss something in particular that you had always given for granted. For me, being Italian, I definitely miss eating a good pizza with friends or sip a thick hot chocolate like in Milan!
Bath has a consistent Italian expat community studying at Bath University or working in fields such as hospitality. So many are second generation immigrants and they built a solid restaurant community in the heart of Costwolds.
Here is my list of authentic restaurants or deli shops where you can buy Italian Barilla imported pasta and sauces, typical biscuits and brioches, Christmas classics such as Panettone or Pandoro, good olive oil and taste proper espresso coffees.
1. Franco Manca
This is in my opinion the best Neapolitan pizza in Bath and probably the best pizza chain restaurant in UK since the pizzaiolos follow the original recipe of the slow cooking fresh sourdough pizza, using only fresh and seasonal ingredients.
“Franco Manca” restaurants are incredibly successful and originate from a pizzeria founded in 1986 in Brixton Market owned by a guy called Franco. In 2008 he handed over to his Neapolitan friend Giuseppe Mascoli who decided to call it “Franco Manca” (Italian for “Franco is missing”) to remember his friend’s hard work.
The menu is quite short and simple but rest assure that all ingredients are wonderfully tasting and fresh. It is also a great option to come for an economic aperitivo composed of a Spritz and some antipasti. This was definitely my favourite pizza place also due to the best competitive prices in town! The average price per pizza is 8 Pounds.
The second pizzeria that definitely deserves a try is “The Oven”, where a good range of delicious oven-baked sourdough Neapolitan pizzas is served. This independent and multi awarded restaurant uses a secret pizza recipe based on the Italian stone-ground “Petra” flour. They serve traditional antipasti and desserts like tiramisu, along with a long list of local ciders, wine and beers to enjoy in a friendly and laid back atmosphere. The average pizza price is 11/12 Pounds.
3. Sotto Sotto
This vaulted and atmospheric restaurant, as the name suggests “down down”, is an underground rustic elegant place considered as the reference in the city for Italian cuisine.
A reservation is certainly needed at least two months in advance to able to secure a place in this multi awarded location. The menu is simple and they rely on the quality of their ingredients rather than creating elaborated dishes. The warm and intimate atmosphere make of this restaurant a special place for a date or celebrating! The average price per dish is 16 Pounds.
This tiny Italian coffee shop hidden in a small alley in Bath city centre is ran by Rosario and his family who follow traditional Sicilian recipes and serve one of the best espresso café and hot thick chocolate in town!
The counter is filled with delicious pastries and Italian desserts such as Sicilian cannoli, sfogliatelle and much more. Fresh loose teas, home-made lemonades and smoothies are perfect to be sipped on the terrace during summer.
I used to come here in winter to drink a real Italian thick hot chocolate in a quirky and warm room at the top floor or to have lunch with friends tasting a fresh homemade soups or lasagne.
5. Avellino Italian Deli and Café
Located at about 20 minutes walking North from the city centre, this little Italian deli shop and café is a true cave of Ali Baba Baba: you can find all sorts of pasta, taralli, grissini, pastries, cakes and many other Italian brands such as Ciobar to prepare the true Italian hot chocolate, corn flours to make polenta and much more.
The familiar atmosphere and the kindness of the owner will make of this little shop one of your favourite places to fill up your cupboard of Italian products and make you feel like you just came back from a holiday.
If you are interesting in online Italian cooking courses have a look at this multi-awarded company organising remote pizza and pasta making classes to help you travelling and learning at distance!