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In the arms of Mamma

In the Cannatella Family I ask … the Mamma. 19 years after the Boccaccio, Gino Cannatella decides to open a new restaurant 50 meters from the first establishment. A gamble? In reality, the maneuver is calculated with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker. Like a Neptune wearing a toque, the Boccaccio reigned over the marine gastronomy. Villa d’Este was to become the queen of trattorias. At the controls of the restaurant, we find the wife of Gino, the volcanic Gina.

Italian and handcrafted pizza

With the Villa d’Este, Gino is getting closer to his native Italy, a warm and reassuring South. In the beginning of the restaurant everything was in a Neapolitan style. The family trattoria has seen the red brick walls, the drawings of the Commedia dell’arte and the jingle of images of Epinal … even If the restaurant has evolved, it remains today the most “traditional” establishment of the group, a pledge of hospitality and friendliness.

Placed at the entrance, the pizza oven will become the hallmark of the Cannatella Family. The Villa d’Este offers spicy Italian cuisine, but accessible to all palates,  just like the wallets. While the French knew only of pizzas yellowed with cantal cheese, whose taste is drowned under too many flavors … Gino imports the Neapolitan pizza and certain ingredients never seen on the plates, like the Burrata. Mozzarella, parmesan, fresh pasta are still today, all made by artisans from southern Italy.

Gina Cannatella, the Mamma of rue Massena

Student and doctor, lawyer and worker … The ambition of the place? To propose the most unifying kitchen possible. Fast service, generous portions and taste of Italy: the formula has taken. But to carry this project, one had the shoulders of a giant and the temperament of a volcano. Gina did not run the Villa d’Este. She made the restaurant her second home.

The Calabrian Mamma would be present at every moment. Posted at the same table, she would ensure every day to welcome customers and get on with the preparation of her famous veal balls under the eyes of passersby. To please the regulars, she would even prepare dishes that were not on the menu. But beware ! Either you were in the good book of Gina Cannatella … or you were hungry on the doorstep. Generous and powerful, this Mamma looked after her clients just like her children. Even today, her temperament marks the scene of her imprint, as well as the souls that could have crossed her or tasted her cuisine.

The taste of modernity

Why must you choose between the gourmet and a bargain? The Villa d’Este has swept the certainties and redesigned the pizza quality for a price that still surprises its customers today. More than twenty years before the opening of the next restaurant, Gino already shows his taste for modernity and his sense of reinvention. The entrepreneur has nourished this vision: if we do not question, if we do not evolve, if we do not try to understand the desires of customers … it goes out. And with six restaurants at its head, the Cannatella Family has never shined so brightly as today.