Photo by Patricia Esteve
Non Solo Pizza
The first time I went to Non Solo Pizza I was charmed by the cheery staff. The second time they began sorrowfully and descended into downright sullen; a bit like being served by teenagers. Which just goes to show, even the greatest of places should be forgiven a bad day.
True to its word, you see, Non Solo Pizza isn’t just pizza. In fact there’s no pizza at all at this cute little Eixample trattoria that’s been keeping folks generally happy for the last 14 years. Instead there are lots of lovingly crafted pasta dishes, and soul-warming daily specials. Low ceilings, red brick walls plastered in old photographs and charcoal prints of the barri as it once was, pretty flower-patterned table cloths and intimate lighting give it a warm and comforting glow. And the crowd that fills it on a Friday afternoon in the pouring rain is buzzing.
Assuming you get charm as opposed to sulks, then this is a great place for a Valentine’s Day lunch. One of the restaurant’s great virtues is the way it partners fantastic ingredients and leaves it at that. Salads are all priced around the €10 mark, which seems steep at first, but they are huge and would make a perfectly acceptable one-course lunch with a glass of wine. And you can’t argue with the quality: silky bresaola (dried beef drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh black pepper) and peppery rucola, crunchy pears and pungent Parmesan, comforting Soncino noci with creamy gorgonzola.
You can have puttanesca on Monday, lasagna on Wednesday and linguine al branzino (Italian sea bass) on a Friday. Or there are classic meat dishes including a variety of tender scaloppini with lemon, marsala or white wine. And of course the all-important Italian dessert: tiramisu, panna cotta, and salame de cioccolato (a dangerously rich chocolate biscuit). The bottom line then: there’s enough variety to keep regulars coming back week after week, and the standard is consistently high. Shame I can’t say the same for the smiles.