You know that song from Cheers, ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name’? That’s what it feels like every time I walk through the doors of Eusebi Deli on Park Road. It’s the kind of place that you keep going back to time and time again because it offers not only some of the best Italian food in Glasgow, but a warm and welcoming atmosphere that I imagine is not dissimilar to a hug from your Nonna.
Day or night, owner Giovanna can often be found waiting tables, pouring drinks and, more often than not, stopping to catch up with the many regulars that frequent the restaurant. Her attentive nature and her love for every person who walks through the door, regular or not, is what sets Eusebi Deli apart – although the food plays a major role as well!
If you are anything like me, when you think of Italian restaurants your mind conjures up images of over-populated menus, lack-lustre pizzas and repetitive dishes. At Eusebi Deli you won’t find any of that. In fact, their menu changes with the seasons in an attempt to champion seasonal produce and the true flavours of Italy.
You’ll certainly find both pizza and pasta on the menu, but whatever you do don’t ignore the incredible array of small plates, boards and snacks on offer. Their current summer menu includes a number of fresh and vibrant dishes but the champion for me is the charred octopus with pickled cucumber, olives, capers and lime aioli. The octopus is slow cooked for hours to ensure it is incredibly tender, before being charred to give a delicate, smoky flavour to this zingy dish.
When you do make your way to the pizza or pasta portion of your meal, don’t expect a big round pizza or mass-produced pasta. In their Pasta Laboratory, the chefs at Eusebi’s make pasta from scratch daily, while the Pizza Romana dough is proved for 72 hours before being hand shaped, giving a unique, crispy edge but remaining soft on the inside.
Unable to choose between the numerous dishes, I chose to order two – yes, you can order two smaller versions of two different pasta dishes if you desire, which I so often do. My first choice was the ravioli carne, classic house-made meat ravioli served with sugo. The ravioli were beautifully made, the pasta the perfect thickness with just the right bite. The meat inside was tender and melted in the mouth and the light tomato sauce was bright and fresh.
My second choice, and the big hitter, was the gnocchi cacio pepe with foraged mushrooms. This classic sauce is made by emulsifying Pecorino Romano in water (traditionally the seasoned cooking water you boiled your pasta or gnocchi in) and seasoned heavily with fiery black pepper. The addition of foraged mushrooms was a welcome one and the gnocchi were plump little pillows of joy.
If, after all that, you still have room for dessert, I highly recommend trying one. The menu boasts a selection of beautiful patisserie made by pastry chef and Bake Off Crème de la Crème winner, Helen Vass. I can confirm that the chocolate, caramel and praline tart is a wonder to behold.