Papa Cino’s in Northampton serves great Italian food

There are loads of great restaurants in Northampton to choose from, whether you are looking for lunch in the town centre or feel like venturing further afield. With plenty of independent restaurants to choose from, Northampton offers a diverse range of cuisines and unique eating experiences; these great places to eat are vital to the health of the UK restaurant scene and also to support the local economy.

Simple Italian cuisine in a lively atmosphere

Just off Dychurch Lane in Northampton, you will find Papa Cino’s Italian restaurant. Within easy reach of the main shopping areas and the theatre, this family run restaurant has gained quite a local following. Serving simple Italian cuisine, but with a surprisingly unique menu, Papa Cino’s offers value for money as well as a bit of old-school Italian restaurant atmosphere.

The restaurant is in the basement; with walls and ceilings covered in murals, and the requisite number of alabaster pillars, it is designed to feel like a courtyard trattoria. The tables are dark wood and topped with candles in bottles; true Italian restaurant style. It could easily look dated, or jaded, or even somewhat ironic, but it doesn’t. It is just friendly, fun and welcoming, which is exactly what you want when you fancy a few bottles of red and more garlic than is strictly legal.

A classic menu with some interesting options

The menu is quite a revelation. Most Italian restaurants have a few tricks up their sleeve, alongside the familiar classics, but this menu is enjoyable to read and turns up a fair few surprises. The selection of breads is generous as is the long list of salads and olives; you can order your wine and get stuck straight in whilst you linger over the menu. Starters on offer include goat’s cheese crostini with roasted sweet pepper and chilli dressing or three dressing duck salad, as well as the usual garlic mushrooms and calamari.

For main course there are several pasta dishes such as crayfish and salmon linguine in a lemon and crème fraiche sauce or duck and sweet pepper tagliatelle with rocket. Pizzas are thin base proper Italian pizzas with a selection of classic toppings and they also make a calzone stuffed with spicy lamb meatballs which makes an unusual alternative from the usual ham and mushrooms. There is a good selection of a la carte main dishes with the familiar steaks and escalopes but there are also a few stand out dishes like sea bass fillet with lemon butter sauce on crab mash with pea and rocket salad. Also on offer is confit duck with cranberry and red wine jus served with garlic mash. I think this is a brave menu; many of these dishes would be equally at home in a modern British restaurant, but aside from regional specialities Italian cuisine is known for a light touch with fresh ingredients and that certainly fits the bill here.

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Desserts include a refresher of orange and lemon sorbets laced with limoncello liqueur or warm apple pancakes with butterscotch sauce and ice cream. I wasn’t planning on mentioning Papa’s Chocolate Godfather, a huge chocolate sundae that comes with a chocolate spoon, but how could I not?

Papa Cino’s is closed on Sundays and Mondays but opens for lunch and dinner the rest of the week. A 3 course meal will cost about £25.00 per head, less if you opt for pizza or pasta. If old-school Italian isn’t quite for you then we have a range of other restaurants in Northampton to introduce you to.

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