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The Caldesi way is generous, with broad culinary brushstrokes covering much of proprietor Giancarlo’s native Italy. With a few coveted tables under its red awning and many more spread over two
floors inside, it has the jolly buzz of a well-established, confident operation. The street-level coffee bar provides a lively backdrop for fixed-price lunches of, perhaps, fritto misto followed by
hake with aubergine caponata, or you can head upstairs for a longer (but sometimes surprisingly riotous) dinner with wine from the all-Italian list. If some find the food quotidian, at least
Caldesi’s cooking has character, reliability and a high comfort factor – from linguine with tomato, garlic, chilli and cream to the house tiramisu. Service has warmth to spare, and just the
faintest hint of swagger. The owners also make time to run a cookery school nearby.
I’ve been going to Caffé Caldesi for years. My office used to be around the corner and it was one of my regular haunts, for somewhere reliable and mid-priced. I’d always choose the downstairs, where two courses at £14.50 and three at £17.95 is good value, especially in this part of W1.Downstairs, my more regular haunt is more casual. I once spotted Bill Nighy there. I found it quite distracting.Upstairs, where we were on this occasion, is a little more formal and in the evening, slightly more sedate...
More from The Food Judge »
There are so many Italian restaurants in Marylebone, or London for that matter so choosing where to eat can be a complete hit or miss, more often than not I end up regretting spending my hard earned cash on mediocre Italians. So with Caffe Caldesi just around the corner from my work I decided it was time to give it a go. Every time I walk past it’s completely jam packed, so they must be doing something right...
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