Salvo’s Leeds review: We visited England manager Gareth Southgate’s favorite Italian restaurant – Kristian Johnson

You’d think England manager Gareth Southgate would have had enough of the Italians.

The heartache of the Euro 2020 final loss to Italy still looms large in the memory of many England fans, as replays of the penalty shootout defeat at Wembley still replay in our minds. .

But it seems the Three Lions boss still has a soft spot for an Italian.

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He is a huge fan of Headingley Salvo’s restaurant and was pictured there alongside former England rugby union head coach Stuart Lancaster in 2019.

Since Southgate loves food, I put on my waistcoat and paid a visit to see what the fuss was about.

The first thing I noticed as soon as I walked through the door was the immense friendliness of the staff. From minute one they were smiling and helpful and I can’t think of anywhere else in Leeds with better customer service.

Salvo’s association with Leeds dates back almost 50 years, when founder Salvatore Dammone moved to Leeds to serve southern Italian dishes in the heart of Yorkshire. The second and third generations of the family now run the restaurant and the warm embrace extends to every customer who walks through the doors.

Having served over a million customers over the years, the Salvo team also know their stuff when it comes to food.

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The menu has all the favorites – carbonara and pizza Margherita – but also some more unusual flavor combinations.

My wife and I chose one of the unique entrees from the specialty menu and ordered the prawn and pistachio risotto bombs.

Presented beautifully on a nest of aioli, the arancini balls were spectacular.

Prawn and pistachio arancini bombs at Salvo’s in Headingley

A thin layer of crispy breadcrumbs on the outside have opened up to reveal an attractive green center full of flavor. I was first struck by the subtle nutty taste of the ground pistachios, but then the warm, smoky taste of the prawns kicked in after a few seconds.

As good as the arancini balls were, the Sicilian green olives were even better. Each gave off a rich, deep, buttery flavor that lasted long after I chewed the fleshy green fruit away from the pit.

Sicilian olives at Salvo’s in Headingley

After two sublime starters, it’s time for the main courses. I opted for the lamb and thyme ravioli, while my wife ordered the parmigiana.

Both dishes were stunning – and they tasted equally good.

The ravioli were filled with tender lamb and topped with sweet crispy onions and pecorino cheese shavings. As if that weren’t enough, the dish was served in a shallow basin of lamb emulsion, which added a luxurious flavor.

Lamb and thyme ravioli at Salvo’s in Headingley

The parmigiana was a perfect example of winter comfort food cooked to perfection.

Filled with juicy tomatoes and thinly sliced ​​eggplant in a thin batter, the fresh flavors combined with the melted mozzarella and provided the perfect accompaniment for a chilly February evening.

What really topped it off, literally, was the lightly charred Parmesan cheese enveloping the entire dish, giving it a wonderful crispy outer shell.

Parmagiana at Salvo’s in Headingley

The incredibly friendly atmosphere at Salvo’s is matched only by the exceptional food.

The restaurant has won numerous awards and was voted the best neighborhood Italian restaurant in the UK by Gordon Ramsay on Channel 4’s ‘The F Word’, but the love and care that goes into every dish at this family run restaurant is a tradition that lives on after 50 years.

Don’t mention football…

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  • San Pellegrino €2.45
  • Appletizer €2.75
  • Olives and Sardinian crispbread £4
  • Arancini prawns and pistachios 8,50 €
  • Parmagian 14 €
  • Lamb ravioli with thyme 13€
  • Optional service charge £4.47
  • TOTAL: £49.17

Salvo’s 115 Otley Rd, Headingley, Leeds LS6 3PX

  • Open from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays
  • 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Saturday
  • 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Sunday

online booking or call 0113 275 5017

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