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.
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