Restaurant reviews

Casa Mia: Fewer restaurants, more reach?

When I first got to know Leeds, the city seemed to be full of Casa Mia restaurants. Things were clearly changing when the one just off Millennium Square closed down and now we’ve got to a point where only the Casa Mia Café in Chapel Allerton seems to be about.

Given that the staff used to be brought over from Italy and the food quality, indeed even the demonstrations and food courses, were always top notch, it seemed rather sad to see a nice Leeds based independent seemingly falling by the wayside.

Fortunately, purely by chance, I recently found that Casa Mia may have come back with a bang as it has now started to deliver its fine food for us to enjoy in the comfort of our own homes!

My first real taste of gorgonzola cheese came at Casa Mia in Millennium Square, and I learned a great deal after attending a cookery course there, so I have always had faith in this Italian brand. So, after spotting the takeaway option online, I decided to bite the bullet (I was on my own for the weekend so needed a pick me up!) and get myself a slice of pizza and some mozzarella sticks.

It will come as no shock to many foodies based in Leeds that there is a real dearth of quality takeaways as the student market seems to have destroyed the need for good food, replacing it with bigger portions and cheaper products for maximum profit. So, I was slightly afraid that Casa Mia might have gone down this route as well.

Fortunately, after looking through their website, I sensed that the reinvention of the brand (including the decision to do takeaways) seems to be in keeping with their original Italian roots (the deli style café also offers real Italian products for sale alongside their authentic dishes).

On this occasion, I was hankering after a pizza, so sadly I missed out on what I am sure would have been some excellent mains and instead dived straight in with one of my all-time favourite meals: Pepperoni pizza! Having eaten a fair few of these before(!) I feel well placed to say that the addition of mushrooms was welcome, and the spice of hot chilli and hot pepperoni really shone through. The dough itself looked fresh and tasted both light and fluffy.

If I were to be a bit mean, I could suggest that the option to add olives to a pizza online would be welcome and I would also have liked a tiny bit more pepperoni but, by a takeaway pizza standard, it was light years ahead of Domino’s or other nasty, greasy chains.

Casa Mia Takeaway

Getting ready for the first taste…

As well as tucking into my pizza, I was also enjoying my mozzarella sticks, which were of a good texture with some bite and then a lovely gooey middle brimming full of cheese. For me personally, a little tomato sauce would have added to the sticks but for a delivery I can see the risk of them getting soggy, so I understand the lack of sauce in this instance.

Casa Mia takeaway

Mozzarella Sticks ready to be eaten

All in all, I must say that while Casa Mia is now a one restaurant Italian, its takeout service and its deli are a shining example to other Italians in Leeds. Ignoring the lovely food for a moment, the fact that they allow you to order shop products at the same time as getting your takeaway means that you have a nice one stop service for that moment of hunger as well as any longer term meals you want to plan.

Finally, price wise, yes the dishes were a little more than some other places but the final cost was still miles cheaper than Domino’s and the food was of a far higher quality, meaning that for just under £12, I got huge value for money.

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