Da Scalzo describes itself as an “Art-Café Pizzeria, all-day ristorante”. It has an awning, flowers, tables outside and character – it is also very close to the second busiest train station in London. Ideal.
Da Scalzo is the ‘somewhere else’ you’d rather be when you find yourself shouldering your way through the crowds outside Victoria Station. It serves good food, good wine and space to breathe.
So if you’re in that part of London with company you’d like to keep, and each with £20 to spare, this is the place to have a meal and take a pause. If you’re after five courses and a selection of wines you might need a little more than two tenners.
I’ve been to da Scalzo twice for lunch. Each time it has taken me by surprise. The first time it was a hot day – the pavements throbbed and my head stomped with crowds. I was invited by friends to da Scalzo and was instantly cured.
The restaurant was busy but our table and each table seemed to be spaced at such distance that we all had our own islands to occupy. The conversation we concentrated on was ours – not the table next door’s. I don’t remember much about the food from that visit – just the ice cold Peroni and that I knew I wanted to come back.
Last week I did go back with different company. There was no Peroni this time but the cure was just as instant. In a few strides we were off the busy street and in front of the pale wood of the bar. Wine bottles lined the dark red of the wall behind; staff darted and delivered; it felt busy and alive.
Our table this time was tucked into a far corner. Again we were surrounded by other lunch-hour diners but there was space. On this visit I had the da Scalzo pizza with tomato, mozarella, baby spinach and parma ham – satisfying and £10.25 – my companions the seafood risotto (a special at £11.95) and the Giulio Cesare salad with chargrilled chicken, garlic croutons and the standard dressing at £12.95. The portions were generous and the food was good. Service might have been a little slow but it was attentive and none of us were unhappy with an excuse to delay the onward rush.
Our total bill, including soft drinks and a 12.5% service charge, was pennies over £48. We paid and left reluctantly, trudging past plenty who lingered over glasses of red wine.
Da Scalzo has all the right ingredients to properly rearrange your day. If it’s an evening you’re after there’s live jazz on most weekends. With seating for over 130 on two levels it’s well worth a try.
Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with the exception of Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 9am to 11pm – Monday to Saturday, 9am to 10.30pm – Sunday. Tel: 020 7730 5498
2a Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 9RB