Salvi’s Cucina

Kate Feld

Salvi’s Cucina brings a second slice of Naples to Manchester, with a new restaurant on John Dalton Street.

For the past couple of years, Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar and Deli has been feeding people incredible Italian food from a tiny unit in the Corn Exchange, that retail ghost town endlessly struggling through some rebrand or other. The first time I ate there the bread was so good I totally freaked out and made them tell me where they’d gotten it (a catering baker in Whitefield, as it turns out). Their hot meals were reputedly great, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to order anything but sandwiches on that bread with the heavenly Mozzarella di Bufala they fly in twice a week from Campania. And, well, the tiny unit with its high stools and tiny tables pushed against the wall just didn’t seem conducive to investing in a three-course blowout.

But now Maurizio and Claire Cecco, the husband and wife team in charge, have opened up a second, bigger location across town on John Dalton Street. It’s not that much bigger, but it is big enough for some serious cooking and the dining room is the kind of place where it’s easy to linger over a good meal. It’s both a restaurant and a bar – we suspect the espresso machine does heavy duty service in the morning – and despite being newly kitted out, it’s already homely and ever-so-slightly outdated in that particularly Continental way, with Italian-language radio providing a comfortable soundtrack.

Naples gave the world pizza and they’re very keen to show us how it’s done right

The mostly-Italian wine list is both reasonably priced and thoughtfully selected – we had a Bardolino and a Fiano di Avellino, both great – and, for once, nearly every wine is available by the glass. There’s also a good roster of bottled Italian beers. The food menu focuses on the dishes of Naples and the south more generally, with lots of seafood, risottos and pastas. We loved our taster selection of fritti; a plate heaped with hot croquettes, calzones and fritters filled with ham, cheese and potato, or topped with their homemade pesto.

Naples gave the world pizza and they’re very keen here to show us how it’s done right. Of course it was excellent – a big, floury, crispy-edged disc with a whiff of carbon about it, scantly topped with smoked mozzarella, grilled vegetables and sauce. We also shared a plate of the Naples classic Baccalà alla Napoletana – salt cod in a piquant tomato sauce spun through with sweet whole tomatoes, olives and capers. It wasn’t fancy, it wasn’t complicated, or carefully garnished. It was simple good food cooked well, and very welcome it was in a city full of fine dining restaurants fast disappearing up their own amuse bouche.

After not managing to finish all that food, it seemed like a good idea to try a dessert. We shared a fantastic cannoli, the taut cylinder of pastry filled with Salvi’s own sweet ricotta mixture liberally spiked with lemon zest. When Maurizio approached the table with a bottle of Amaro and suggested a digestivo, we weren’t about to argue. At £60 for the two of us, including drinks and a day’s worth of leftovers to take home, the meal was solid value. Don’t be shy if you know nothing about Neapolitan food, Salvis is the kind of place where you can put yourself in their hands and you know you’ll walk out happy. Maybe we can’t all holiday on the Amalfi coast, but a meal here is a pretty powerful consolation.

19 John Dalton StreetManchesterM4 3TR View map
Telephone: 0161 222 8090 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Monday10:00am - 11:00pm
  • Tuesday10:00am - 11:00pm
  • Wednesday10:00am - 11:00pm
  • Thursday10:00am - 11:00pm
  • Friday10:00am - 11:00pm
  • Saturday10:00am - 11:00pm
  • Sunday11:00am - 10:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

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