If there’s one thing all IE students in Segovia can agree on, no matter if they are first-year or second-year, foreign or Spanish, is that we can never find enough places to go for a nice meal.
We know them all, from drinks at Juan Bravo in Plaza, to a quick but necessary occasional WOK in the aqueduct region, and a student favorite, for an iced coffee and perfect vegetarian options, Yum Baaar.
Some even can name all the options in Uber eats and Glovo, leaving me with the conclusion to say that IE students love/rely on take-out a little too much, or there are simply not enough places for us to go to. This leads us to go to the same places every time whenever we don’t have the energy or the talent to cook for ourselves.
But hopefully, I can provide you with a solution. A new place waiting to be crowded by IE students every weekend, starting from Thursday and open until Sunday from 1:30 pm to 4 pm, to later, open its doors again from 8 pm to 12 am, the perfect time for dinner or lunch. Hidden around the corner of the Cathedral in Plaza is a new favorite for me.
El Patio de la Nonna, a new pizza place, that I was lucky enough to go to last weekend with friends for dinner.
I can’t think of anyone better to critique an Italian restaurant than Italians themselves, so I rejoiced when my friends agreed to spend an evening with me and some good pizza. Because indeed *spoiler* it was pretty good!
It is smaller than most restaurants around town. The minute you step in, there’s this instant sense of warmth which can also be credited to the brilliant music choice for the background.
I spent half the evening nodding along to good old classic jazz while listening carefully to my friends as they discussed their thoughts, and I think I learned some Italian along the way… (at least, I hope.)
During the meal, I asked my friends a few questions and found myself surprised by how deep Italian cuisine goes and excited by the contrast between their answers.
So here I give what they had to say about the place:
- Hello! First, let’s start with your name and what part of Italy are you from.
Virginia: Hi! I’m Virginia, and I come from Verona, in the North of Italy.
Guglielmo: My name is Guglielmo and I’m from Milano, in the North of Italy.
Emanuele: Hello, I am Emanuele and I came from Milan, which is in the North of Italy but thanks to my family, I can [also] say that I am half from the South!
- What do you think is the best cuisine from Italian culture? And the one that makes you feel most at home?
V: Although it may sound like a bit of a cliché, the best Italian cuisine for me is pasta alla carbonara, while the one that makes me feel most at home is pasta al ragù (pasta alla bolognese).
G: Italy has so many typical dishes, which vary from region to region, that is almost impossible to choose! Overall, I love southern Italian cuisine the most, but my grandmother is from Bologna, and her dishes always taste like home.
E: Probably the best cuisine from Italian culture is the one from Rome because contains a lot of possibilities of pasta plates that are the most famous for the Italian culture, while the one that makes me feel at home is for sure one of the North because it contains my favorite plate “Cotoletta alla Milanese.”
- Italy is an extended country; with different regions, and within those, different specialties when it comes to food. Where would you recommend people go for the best food in Italy? How about in Spain (Madrid or Segovia)?
V: I would suggest any city (maybe bigger ones like Milan, Naples, or Rome as they would have more variety in terms of different cuisines) but the key thing is to pick the local restaurants instead of the more “touristy” ones. In this way, the people visiting Italy can eat the typical Italian food that Italian people usually eat.
I don’t really know of other Italian places in Spain, I usually go to typical Spanish or Latam places. In Segovia, I tried out another Italian place which I think is very good although I find some of its dishes of pasta a bit heavy.
G: In Italy, it’s possible to find delicious restaurants everywhere, but you need to know what to order. Since every region has its typical dishes, you need to know what to look for and you’ll always be pleased. On the other hand, here in Segovia, there are just 2 options for Italian restaurants: Pizzeria da Mario and El Patio de la Nonna. Overall I would suggest the latter because, in my opinion, the experience I had when I tried was overall pretty good.
E: I would recommend going to the most famous regions such as Milan, Naples, and Rome, and I suggest eating in a restaurant specific to that region because probably in each of them you are going to eat the best food in the world without distinctions. Honestly, the only Italian place that I tried in Madrid was “Fratelli Figurato” although in Segovia I tried DaMario, including with my family, and all of us really loved it.
- Were you interested in the idea of a new Italian restaurant in town?
V: Yes! I enjoy trying out new places to eat, and I was curious to try out this restaurant too.
G: I think it;s good to have another one, it was just DaMario, and now this gives anyone interested another option to choose [from]. I personally don’t really go often to Italian restaurants, because I cook my own Italian dishes, but for segovians is obviously a big improvement.
E: Yes, of course, I was super excited to try it. Especially, because I tried an Italian place in Spain for the first time in 2017, and I wanted to see how was it [and to have a fair comparison.]
- What did you order? What did you think of your meal?
V: I ordered a pizza diavola (pizza with peperoni), to drink an Aperol Spritz and a Limoncello, and a tiramisù [for] dessert. I would rate what I ate 4 stars out of 5; I really liked the pizza, especially the balance between the spiciness of the salamino (pepperoni) and the saltiness of the olives, which gave the pizza an extra touch. With regards to the Aperol, although the recipe was not the original one, I still liked how they made it. The Limoncello was extremely good: it was served cold and in frozen glasses, enhancing, even more, its taste. Finally, I really appreciated the flavor of coffee in the tiramisù. Even though the biscuit used was not the original one, the overall taste was good.
G: I ordered a pizza with ham and arugula. Overall, the pizza was pretty good for being in Spain. Obviously is not exactly like ordering pizza in Italy, but I enjoyed it more than the one from Mario. The main point of difference in my opinion was the tomato sauce, which I found great.
E: I ordered the pizza diavola, and I think that was very well cooked and I really liked it. The only aspect that does not allows me to say that it was a perfect pizza was the fact that there were too many olives on it but maybe that was only a coincidence. But, in general, I really liked it.
- How did the environment feel for you overall?
V: In my opinion, the environment was extremely similar to that of a restaurant in Italy, and I would rate it 5/5 stars. The aesthetic of the room was simple yet pretty, there was nice music playing in the background, it was not too noisy, and you could speak and hear the other people at your table. Also, the personnel was very homely and warm.
G: I loved the environment, the restaurant is kind of small, so it’s not accompanied by big groups, but for couples or for 3-4 friends is optimal. Compared to DaMario the environment is less stereotypical, and together with the music, enabled me to feel more at home.
E: That place gives me the vibes of a little Italian restaurant. Even though the place is not super big, the only aspect that I noticed is what the place looks like from the outside, [and I say this from the perspective of a tourist,] I wouldn’t have thought it’s an Italian place.
- In comparison to other known Italian places around Segovia, what’s your opinion on this new experience?
V: I think this new Italian restaurant is better than others that I have tried around Segovia. The environment feels very cozy, the personnel is easily approachable and friendly, and the dishes are very similar to typical Italian ones.
G: As I stated before, I like this new restaurant more. The differences are not big, but there are a couple of minor details in the food, the ambient, and the price that makes it better. Overall the difference is not big, but if I had to choose one restaurant to go to, I would choose this one.
E: That place was very nice and probably I would not mind going there another time with some friends, in comparison to another Italian place in Segovia. The first element I noticed was the menu because it has fewer [dish options]. [Other than] that, it was not a bad experience [as] the waiter the was kind and [at our service.]
I will be returning soon, and hopefully with more to say about El patio de la Nona. I find it to be the perfect place to have a classic experience with one of the most known cuisines around the world. They really do make beautiful and perfect (never-miss) pizza!