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Squaremeal Review of 500 ?

Named after the iconic Fiat Cinquecento, this personally run “Italian local” is old school, tiny and full of character. Despite cramped conditions and limited lunchtime opening hours, it's still in demand thanks to first-rate regional cooking, with deftly made pastas always high on the agenda – perhaps tagliatelle with clams and bottarga (cured mullet roe), strozzapreti with slow-cooked beef ragù or ravioli stuffed with Italian sausage and spinach. Main courses such as baked rabbit in porcini sauce with sautéed potatoes or char-grilled whole sea bream with Belgian endive and green sauce might leave you feeling stuffed, but it’s worth saving room for some tiramisu or the coppa 500 (poached quince and raisins in caramel and cinnamon, served with hazelnut ice cream and chocolate sauce). Old-fashioned service adds to the atmosphere, and the thoughtful wine list is a rewarding trek through Italy's regional vineyards.


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