Comfort Food Alert: My Beloved Da Corradi in London has the BEST Spaghetti Carbonara

I still think of myself as a little girl from a small town who is constantly surprised by her life, and sometimes find it hard to believe that I have a “favorite Italian restaurant in London”. In my 20s, that sentence would have been alien to me; I didn’t even make it to Europe until I was 34. This post is about that favorite little restaurant, and its fame-worthy Spaghetti Carbonara.

Da Corradi in London

 

It’s Not Just My Opinion

Da Corradi’s carbonara was fantastic!

I think that was the best Carbonara I have ever had.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with fresh ham is the best you’ll ever eat.

IMG_0857Online reviewers of Da Corradi, a tiny, family-run Italian restaurant in London’s Mayfair district tucked back in the Shepherd Market, agree with me about their Spaghetti Carbonara: it’s the best.

My TripAdvisor review from way back in 2010 when the Grill-Meister and I visited was titled Marvelous – so good we went twice in one week, proclaiming:

The Spaghetti Carbonara is the best I have ever had – even compared to the same dish in Italy.

Best Carbonara
I’m pretty sure they serve this in heaven.

It’s true. I’ve never had a better carbonara, and I’m fairly sure I never will.  It’s that good. Just the right balance of rich creaminess from the egg and cheese, saltiness from the ham, and al dente spaghetti, with a liberal sprinkle of freshly ground pepper.  Close your eyes after taking just one bite and you’ll expect to find Northern Italy when you open them.  I try not to eat heavy food like this very often, but there’s never even a question that I’ll order anything else at Da Corradi. The only question is how much of it I can consume, and the answer is always: more than I thought!

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This pic of the Grill-Meister and me in 2010 reveals that I almost finished my carbonara; I’d like to dive in and take a bite right now
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One of my companions had a marvelous pizza on a visit last October, but I stuck with the carbonara
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Big chunks of ripe tomatoes with garlic and spicy basil atop crunchy sourdough make a tasty and authentic bruschetta appetizer

The food at Da Corradi is hearty-homestyle rather than Mayfair pretentious, and the prices are very reasonable. More reasons to keep coming back!

The Peeps are as Fun as the Food is Good

The staff at Da Corradi are a big part of the overall experience.  They’re cheeky and flirty (in a family-friendly way) and their banter with each other betrays an affection and respect that is charming. They collaborate to ensure that your experience with them is fun, filling, and fulfilling. You don’t exactly have a waitperson, you have a wait-team.

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This wait-team duet kept us in good spirits on a recent visit
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We posed together, a couple of blonde ladies; she was pleased to be featured in the Glover Gardens blog and pretty sure I would make her famous : )

A Celebrity Hang-Out (or Hide-Out?)

In its 40+ years of serving great Italian food, Da Corradi has attracted a lot of admirers beyond this Texas gal and the online reviewers I quoted above.  The wall overlooking the tiny main floor dining area sports photos of celebrity diners who must enjoy the carbonara and cheeky charm as much as I do. While high-end Mayfair is swarming with tourists and beautiful people, Da Corradi’s exact location within Shepherd Market is a little off the beaten path, a perfect place to avoid the madding crowd. Shepherd Market’s web site says, “This unique little enclave is tucked away between Picadilly and Curzon Street, in the heart of London’s Mayfair. A hidden gem known for its wonderful relaxed village-like atmosphere.”

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They Trust Me, They Really Trust Me!

I am blessed with a wide network of friends and foodies  in many locales across the world who feed me, enjoy sharing a restaurant meal together, send me their food pictures for the blog, and give and take restaurant recommendations.  I love love love it when someone trusts my choice of a restaurant; it’s like setting friends up on a blind date and having it work out (only better because there’s no chance of divorce or blame). It feels good to influence where someone has dinner halfway across the world…just call me the restaurant matchmaker!

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My Houston friends; seeing them there makes me long to visit again
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My Norwegian friends; they both had the carbonara

Life is good. And so is the Spaghetti Carbonara at Da Corradi in London.

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Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

Wedding Photos in the City of Love

On a very cold walkabout in Paris last Sunday, I saw newlyweds being photographed along the banks of the Seine on the magnificent steps of the Pont Alexandre III (a bridge).

Enchanted, I stopped, and watched, and imagined their life together. Parisians out walking went about their day.

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I love Paris.

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

Haiku for Little Boy’s Joy: Touching an Airport Rainbow

I love to travel and that affection extends to airports, I suppose because they are the gateway to that next big adventure. And I think many airports have picked up their game in the last few decades – it seems like new terminals and renovations have a bigger focus on aesthetics with bright and appealing spaces, art that inspires and a real effort to reflect a sense of place.  I’ve found myself taking more and more photos in airports, unless I’m sprinting for that next flight during a too-short layover.

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O’Hare Airport in Chicago, the inspiration for a haiku in an earlier post

At Dulles in Washington last week, I was enchanted by the rainbow wall and snapped a few photos, including a little boy running along the wall touching all of the colored panels. It wasn’t until I uploaded the photos today that I noticed a sharp contrast in the way adults reacted to the wall – they didn’t even glance at it.

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And here’s the little boy. I want to be like him, to take time to touch the rainbow.

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luminous colors
buoyant carefree little boy
share your joy with me

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

Hospitality at Café Louise in Paris

Brrrr! I’m in Paris this week and took a very long power walk the day I arrived to shake off the airplane doldrums. By power walk, I mean almost 6 miles.  That’s a lot for lil ol’ me! I started out east of the Arch de Triomphe and made it all the way to St. Germain – in sub-40° misty gray weather.

It was the first Sunday of the month, and that meant that L’avenue des Champs-Élysées was closed off to auto traffic and super-open to pedestrians. I didn’t know about that and wondered why all of the police vehicles were blocking the road, and the military personnel were checking the bags (including mine) of folks who wanted to walk down this most famous of Parisian avenues. I though maybe a terrorist had created a semi-lockdown situation.

But no! It turns out that first Sunday is actually big for family outings in Paris, even on this most cold and wet day. The people-watching was magnificent. The experience was magnificent. Walking down the middle of this historic street with no cars on it was magnificent. Children and dogs were…magnificent.

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I was bundled up, but it was super-cold!  I needed to warm up in a café with a cappuccino. I got near Café de Flore and Le Deux Magots, expecting one of them to be my solace place. My son and I visited this area on a trip to Paris (click here) where an experience motivated him to write an award-winning essay, and I was eager to warm up in this area. Les Deux Magots was closed for renovations and Café de Flore was packed and on a waiting list, so I took my frozen bones over to Café Louise across the street.  I made a great choice!

Ordering a sparkling water and a cappuccino, I admitted to the waiter that I was very, very cold. I was so very impressed with the hospitality that he and Café Louise provided:

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The sparkling water came with a very heavy, beautiful crystal glass. The cappuccino warmed my hands after I removed my gloves. The waiter came right back after delivering the beverages and gave me a complimentary snack, “quiche bites”. Oh. My. Gosh. Rich, simple and delicious, I was cold-no-more after devouring them.

The waiter visited often and made me feel like an important guest that they were just hoping to host that day…as though I was expected. I just love that Parisian hospitality.

Thank you, Café Louise. You made me feel at home on a cold, foggy, gray Paris day.

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens