Owned by three Italian high school friends who moved to Cardiff to learn English, they opened their first restaurant in Canton in 2014, followed by a mobile pizza van in 2017, and now their third venture in Cathays in 2019.
Their well-priced menu covers the whole gamut from breakfasts to light snacks and substantial dinners with dishes including panini, fry-ups, arancini, salads, pizza, pasta and more involved specials.
Unsurprisingly for a restaurant located in Cardiff’s student epicentre, the place was bustling with youngsters on the night we visited. If it wasn’t for the smattering of parents treating their offspring to a meal out, Mrs G and I would have been the oldest people in the joint.
An Aprerol Spritz was very well priced at £4; it had a good amount of the citrusy aperitif in it but could have taken more spritz. All their other cocktails are cheap as chips too, including negronis, bellinis and espressos martinis. A Sardinian Ichnusa (£3.50) was light, clean and very refreshing.
A pair of starters were tasty but totally unnecessary considering the size of the main courses which lay ahead.
A trio of gnarly mixed bruschetta (£5) tasted a lot better than they looked. The light and crisp toasted breads were sparsely topped with a slick of fiery 'nduja, a garlicky olive oil dressed dice of fresh tomato, and a creamy and savoury ooze of gorgonzola flecked with sausage meat. Three pieces of iceberg lettuce were the definition of "token effort".
A bargainous arancino salsiccia and 'nduja (£2) looked more like a hockey puck than a rice ball but it was well-stuffed with distinct grained risotto interlaced with a good goo of melted mozzarella, sausage nuggets and a twang of spicy 'nduja.
Things moved up a couple of gears with a pair of excellent pizzas - their mahoosive, thin, crisp, airy-crusted and super thin-based pizzas can hold their own amongst Cardiff’s best.
A Special (£13.95) was the star of the show. This white pizza was topped with a megaton of gooey mozzarella, blobs of creamy Buffalo mozzarella, crumbled sausage, compellingly meaty and earthy porcini mushrooms, and a drizzle of contrasting cream of sun dried tomato.
An Inferno (£11.50) was also excellent - the light tomato sauce topped with 'nduja, crisp and salty salami, black olives and slices of potent red chilli. We boxed up half a pizza’s worth to take home with us #ColdBreakfastPizzaBonus.
I’m a huge cannoli fan (£3.50) and Calabrisella’s are the best I’ve had in Cardiff. The uber crisp yet brittle biscuit tube was stuffed to order with smooth citrus-twanged sweetened cream cheese. A dusting of pistachio crumb sealed the deal.
I like Calabrisella Cathays a lot. It’s a buzzing and unpretentious place with delicious and good value food and friendly yet speedy service. I can see why their new branch is already so popular.
Address - Calabrisella Cathays, 51 Cathays Terrace, Cardiff CF24 4HS
Telephone - 02920 227272