Every now and again it's nice to indulge in some hearty, homemade Italian food but we're not always ready for the huge pasta bowls and filling pizzas. Instead, we may occasionally fancy a small antipasto or side, which are just as delicious as the bigger meals but not quite as overwhelming. So we've found four of the best small dishes that prove Italian food has it all.
1. Insalata Caprese – The Pizza Parlour, Peterborough
While there are plenty of pizzerias throughout Peterborough, most tend to be chain restaurants. Though this is by no means a bad thing, it is sometimes nice to visit a small business and see what they have to offer. That's why we recommend The Pizza Parlour, home of many experimental pizzas. Of course, fantastic as these are, they are way too big and filling for anyone on the hunt for a smaller dish. Instead you may want to order the Insalata Caprese, a delicious salad with beef tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, red onion and balsamic vinegar.
2. Bolognese Focaccia – Wolf Italian Street Food, Reading
For true authentic, everyday Italian food look no further than Wolf Italian Street Food in Reading. All the menu items are completely authentic, made with real Italian recipes but as street food it manages to maintain a casual edge that can be difficult to find at many Italian food establishments. There's plenty to choose from on the menu, but chances are if you're just a little peckish you'll opt for one of Wolf Italian Street Food's focaccia options. There are seven to choose from but the Bolognese is perhaps the most intriguing – does it come with the sauce? Does it have meatballs in it? You'll have to order to find out.
3. Fried Zucchini Sticks – Mamma Mia Pizzeria, Oxford
Based in Jericho, Oxford, Mammia Mia Pizzeria is run by two Italians straight from the southern Italian region of Puglia. This means that it's difficult to find anywhere else in England let alone Oxford where you'll be treated to more authentic Italian food. The menu is pretty robust, as you'd expect, with almost a dozen items appearing in the antipasti section alone. There's Fried Calamari, Baked Goats Cheese and Funghi All Aglio in there, but a favourite seems to be the Fried Zucchini Sticks, served with fresh tomato dip.
4. Polpette – Vittoria, Edinburgh
It's about time we spread our search further through the UK and since Edinburgh has a whole ton of Italian food to offer patrons at least one had to make it in here. Vittoria opened all the way back in the 1970s and has been owned by the same family ever since, a testament to just how tasty their food is. When it comes to main dishes, few could deny the family's expertise with seafood but for those who only want a nibble we recommend the Polpette. This starter consists of five famous Vittoria meatballs, smothered in tangy sweet and sour tomato sauce, all served with slice of garlic bread.
So, next time you're ordering from an Italian restaurant but don't feel you can face traditional Italian portion sizes remember that antipasti dishes are often just as varied and delicious as mains. You never know, you could find a new favourite!
For even more antipasti dishes and sides, check out what Deliveroo has to offer in your neck of the woods.