This sensational Italian restaurant set in the St David’s 2 food quarter really blew us away! Carl and I were invited down to try “The best pizza and pasta in town”. With so many Italian restaurants in Cardiff, I was of course sceptical but eager to indulge and make my own conclusions. We arrived and were promptly greeted by the front of house with a warming smile and engaging attitude, I felt like we had walked into a friends home as opposed to just another Italian restaurant. The marketing manager Liam Purnell and head chef/owner Tonino seated us and made us feel incredibly welcome. Tonino explained that their vision was to provide authentic Italian cuisine to the Welsh people. This is the first Ciliegino in the UK as they also have 4 restaurants in Italy. I found his passion and flare for Italian food and wine to be fascinating.
Tonino is from the Sicily region of Italy and has a strong passion to offer some of the finest food and wine from his home town. Restauranteur Tonino opened his first restaurant in 1987, so his knowledge and experience was exceptional.
The menu options were outstanding and offered some really inspiring dishes. We opted for the traditional spaghetti bolognese and their Ciliegino special pizza.
The pasta was incredibly light and silky and the bolognese was expertly cooked and tasted sublime. The Ciliegino pizza was really appetising, it had Parma ham, buffalo mozzarella and cherry tomatoes. It’s unique taste was because the restaurant uses a lava stone oven to cook their pizzas, which gave it its exquisite taste. The buffalo mozzarella and Parma ham are labelled as ‘PDO’ which refers to the products originating in a specific region, whose quality is exclusive to that environment. The region being Sicily in this instance. Their pizza dough has a 48 hour long proving process that’s makes the pizza extremely light and full of flavour. Their speciality carbonara uses a combination of eggs, parmesan and bacon for the sauce. They also offer the double cream, however they encourage those to try authentic Italian.
Toninos knowledge was impeccable and he really excited me with what he had to offer. We were recommended to have red wine with the bolognese which was of Sicilian origin and called ‘NERO D’AVOLA’. It was a beautiful Italian wine with intense aromas of black berry fruits and juicy dark fruits flavours. It paired perfectly with the meal. If wines not your thing then fear not as they have a wide variety of spirits, beers and soft drinks available. I must mention their Peroni Gran Reserva, which was superior and has won numerous beer awards.
The restaurant was spacious and inviting, it’s use of vibrant colours and pale whites really added a contemporary feel. I have decided to award this restaurant my first ever ‘Brett Salway prestige award’ as I feel the service, food, wine and surroundings could not be criticised in any way shape or form.
I felt like I had visited a truly authentic Italian restaurant in the heart of Sicily. I would without any hesitation recommend this restaurant to anybody that appreciates good Italian food and wants excellent value for money. They also have a superb Halal menu to cater for all appetites.
Reviewed by Brett Salway
Below are links to their social media pages along with their address. MOLTO BENE!!!
Address- St David’s 2 shopping centre, 6 grand arcade, Cardiff, CF10 2ER