Cafe Citta’s reputation for good food is almost as well known as Sam Warburton’s egg-chasing talents. It’s a little ridiculous that’s it’s taken me so long to visit.
Such is the fan-base of this diminutively sized, city centre Italian restaurant that snagging a weekday booking required planning a good week in advance. However, it’s worth noting that there were a few successful walk-ins when we visited - the uber-friendly and efficient front of house team successfully managing to play table Tetris.
Cafe Citta’s menu isn’t gimmicky, it’s a hit parade of Italian classics. Furthermore, a specials board presented to the table on arrival provides greater choice for the regulars who’ve probably worked their way through the entire menu.
A Moretti (£3.60) served in a frosted glass straight from the freezer, immediately put me in a good mood. Mrs G meanwhile worked her way through a couple of glasses of seriously drinkable Sicilian house red (£3.50).
To start, Mrs G ordered gamberoni saltati (£7.50). A handful of whopping, juicy shell-on prawns were served in a broth rich with garlic, parsley and wine. Slices of tomato and shavings of carrot provided added substance whilst tranches of toasted bread were an ideal mop.
I ordered the bruschetta fave (£6.50) from the specials board. A doorstep of toasted bread was topped with a mountain of al dente broad beans and salty pancetta in a cream sauce, and shaving after shaving of Parmesan. If I’m being critical then the broad beans would have benefited from being double-podded - but who the heck has the time for that?
For mains, I couldn’t resist the draw of Cafe Citta’s wood-burning pizza oven; the pizzaiolo effortlessly tossing fresh dough at the back of the restaurant sealing the deal.
My pizza con funghi selvatici e salsicce (£11) from the specials board was top-notch. A thin and crisp base with a good chew was topped with a light tomato sauce, gooey mozzarella, wild mushrooms and hearty chunks of Italian sausage.
The other main, pasta con spezzatino (£11), was also on the specials. Al dente penne were topped with a light ragu of tender slow-cooked beef, carrots, peas and celery. It was a lovely summer alternative to the ubiquitous Bolognese but I reckon the sauce would have benefitted from a bit more body.
A side salad (£3.50) of sweet tomatoes, red onion, mixed herbs, olive oil and balsamic was impeccably fresh.
Dessert, a light and zesty lemon and orange cheesecake (£4.30), was magnificent. The mascarpone and cream-rich top was reminiscent of a lemon posset whilst a crushed amaretti base and a syrup-poached orange zest garnish provided extra complexity.
A strong cappuccino (£2) was accompanied by praline filled wafers – a nice touch to round of the meal.
Cafe Citta is ace - don't wait as long as I have to check it out.
Address - Cafe Citta, 4 Church Street, Cardiff CF10 1BG
Telephone - 029 2022 4040