L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Set in a Grade II-listed Charles Heathcote-designed Edwardian Baroque building, all that marble provides the perfect backdrop to a family-owned Italian restaurant and authentic pizzeria that combines traditional and modern, with an open kitchen and Pink Cocktail Bar.
A Neapolitan export, the Manchester branch follows London’s Soho and Marylebone; the original was opened by Michele Condurro (son of master pizza maker Salvatore, who started the family tradition in 1870) in the centre of Naples in 1906, moving to its current premises (described as “the sacred temple of pizza”) on Via Cesare Sersale in 1930. Five generations on, Da Michele’s enduring success is down to using only the best natural ingredients along with a time-tested method of dough leavening and kneading.
In the Manchester branch, pizza options include the tomato and herby vegan marinara or vegetarian margherita with fior di latte and pecorino cheeses – or half and half, the marita. There are two folded pizzas, the calzone and a deep-fried version, and other toppings include salami Napoli and chilli on the hot diavola and anchovies imported from Cetara on the Napoletana; quality fayre from the motherland. There’s also a monthly changing special; ask your server what the latest entails.
Non-pizza mains incude Wagyu steak or parmigiana, vegetarian tomato and basil Sorrentina potato gnocchi, and pasta: ravioli stuffed with black truffle and steeped in white truffle cream ticks our “decadence” box. There’s also a good selection of raw and cooked seafood, from different fish tartares and one or six oysters to fritto or grigliata di mare and fresh lobster linguine. Desserts range from summery Sorrento lemon sponge to homemade tiramisu.
Cut through the cream and carbs with a Grappa or limoncello, or start off with a spritz or one of the many cocktails; there’s a whole section of smoky Bourbon-based numbers. Grab a seat near the entrance and soak up the atmosphere and live music along with your drink.
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