Food & Drink: Bites

Article excerpt

More pasta and pizza, please: where to find the real thing outside the capital

Carluccio's

St Albans is the latest place to be blessed with a branch of the mushrooming chain of stylish cafes and delis from jolly telly chef and mycologist Antonio Carluccio and wife Priscilla. Carluccio's captures La Dolce Vita on a budget, and serves a terrific selection of delicious Italian starch: arancini (Sicilian rice balls), pasta and lovely breads. The mushroom soup's as good as you'd expect. Simple grills with vegetables and great coffee make it an asset at any time of day.

7-8 Christopher Place, St Albans, Hertfordshire (01727 837681)

Casa Mia Grande

Bigger brother of the original Casa Mia cafe, open for dinner and Sunday lunch only. The speciality is fish, so fresh they dare display them in a refrigerated cabinet. The owner's from Ischia, the island off Naples, and imports wine from there, and the kind of bustling atmosphere you can't bottle. Their tagliatelle with langoustine and mango in a tarragon cream sauce won a competition run by pasta maker Barilla.

Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds (0113 2392555)

Leonardo

Lively venue in Hove run by outgoing Sicilian Ancleto Capetta. …