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“A hidden gem!”

Ristorante Il Piccolo Mondo
Ranked #2 of 705 Restaurants in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed August 15, 2013

Many remember this enterprise when it was arrived in Newmarket High Street many years ago and were dismayed when it closed as the owners tried other ventures away from Newmarket.
At last they are back and I am pleased to report that nothing has changed apart from the location.
From the minute you enter you realise nothing is too much trouble for this charming couple. You are guaranteed a warm welcome from Polly and Elio is seen busy in the kitchen which, whilst being tucked away is still in view of the diners showing that all food is cooked fresh - no microwaves in this kitchen
The menu offers a good range with the specials board changing daily including the fresh fish dish dictated by what has been delivered that day
An excellent value menu is available at lunch times
As mentioned all food is cooked fresh and presented superbly on your plate with exquisite tastes
The one negative is that because of its popularity it's often difficult to get a table - book early

Thank andyph59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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515 - 519 of 623 reviews

Reviewed August 11, 2013

I looked forward to a meal at this restaurant very much, having read some of the hundred or so glowing reviews on Tripadvisor.

The setting is very pretty - a converted school house in a chocolate-box village (just 5 miles east of Cambridge city centre) with ample parking either in the old school yard or on the street. The renovation job on the building is tasteful - they've retained many of the features of the old stone Victorian building, and inside one of the walls has been left unplastered, leaving the interesting pattern of old stone and mortar. The 'Italian' feel is created with judicious use of classical busts/statues, Italian ceramics, flowers, and a few posters of Italian towns etc. - although we felt that the fresco-ed 'windows' on one internal wall were slightly more 'Bella Italia' than they might have intended.

The clientele is clearly well heeled, smart casual, and slightly more mature than your average town restaurant, so the restaurant doesn't have the 'buzz' that some might want on an evening out, but we were there predominantly for the food.

So, onto the food - did 'Il Piccolo Mondo' live up to our expectations? There were olives and bread on the table - the olives were OK, possibly a little too salty and not as fresh as you might hope for in a top end restaurant. To be honest, the bread was a little disappointing too. We'd expect some homebaked focaccia or something of that order, but this was sliced white which could have been picked up in Waitrose.

We ordered fried squid and king prawns for a starter. The squid was beautiful - fresh, lightly battered, dished up with a chunky mayonnaise dip. The prawns were plump and tasty, presented in a chilli, garlic, tomato and cream sauce (as requested by the husband), which was fairly spicy and (for me) a little overpowering with seafood, but my other half cheerfully chomped them down.

For main course I had little gnocchi with king prawns in a red sauce - very tasty, although could have done with a few more prawns given the £10 price tag. My other half had a steak that he could only eulogise about afterwards: so tender he didn't need a steak knife, one seam of fat to give some flavour, melted in his mouth, and so on. He was one happy coniglio.

As it was late, we gave the puddings a miss, although the usual suspects were on the menu: tiramisu, pannacotta, gelati etc., and one assumes all home made.

Wine-wise we had the Primitivo which is a very full bodied red, velvety and smooth and very enjoyable.

So, on the whole a good meal out - but I think you do pay for it. The total bill came to £75 ex. service, which - for 2 courses (and one main course which is a basically fairly cheap-to-produce pasta dish) and a bottle of wine that retails for about £7 (but which you pay £22 for in the restaurant) - is not exactly value for money. But then it's clear from the clientele and setting that 'Il Piccolo Mondo' sets itself up as a high end eaterie, and there are clearly enough people happy to pay above the odds for a very good, but not amazing, Italian dinner.

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3  Thank LaGrandissima
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2013

This is a delightful restaurant in a converted school next to the village Church in Bottisham. The interior is airy, bright and well set out and the welcome and service was top rate. The menu is full of interest and the cooking was extremely good. We ate from the interesting fixed price lunchtime menu which offered great value and chose a Puglian Nero d'Avola which was also very reasonably priced.

O that this restaurant were closer to home for us!!

PS - please note that Il Piccolo Mondo is in Bottisham (a few miles east of Cambridge) - and not some way south of Cambridge as shown onTripadvisor Map

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Thank Carpetman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2013

As a reward for painting our lounge (and thus saving a great deal of money), my partner treated me to lunch at this Cambridgeshire village Italian Restaurant. It was a first time visit, reccomended by a friend. The service was excellent, extremely friendly and as the weather was good we sat outside overlooking the road.

The first thing that strikes you is the choice. This was a problem as I wanted everything. Mrs Rat (my other half) went for the lunch menu, which was great value - salmon and cod main and prawns starter. I had king prawns starter in a lovely garlic sauce and for main one of my favourite dishes Escaloppe veal Milanese. We could not fault anything, and the Zuppe Inglese - (trifle in other words), was to die for.

We shall definitely be returning. Ambience, setting, attention to detail - a great find and we are especially lucky as it is not too far away from where we live.

Good luck with this venture - very much reccomended.

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Thank UkBonViveur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2013

Our anniversary meal was amazing. Wonderful authentic Italian food cooked with passion and attention to detail. Atmosphere and ambiance just perfect with marvellous service. Book well in advance to secure a table.

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1  Thank becks005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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