My gastronomic tours of the North West take me to some interesting places and sometimes interesting food. Some of the most welcome and biggest surprises can be found in the strangest places. For example, over the Christmas period my favourite meal had to be the festive Picnic Bench at Holden Clough Nursery in their Garden Kitchen. Way out in the wilds of Bolton-by-Bowland it is beyond the remit of this blog (however, I would be interested to know if anyone else has enjoyed a meal there?).
Believe it or not, Preston does have its own culinary delights and surprisingly a lot of these are gathered on one prominent street in the city. Friargate.
I don’t plan to list them all here, that’s for a future post. However, I thought it would be fun to have a look at two popular Italian takeaways not on Friargate itself but just a feet away on Hill Street.
Almost next door to each other we have Pizza & Spaghetti House (Giacomo’s) and Giacomo Bella Napoli both offering top quality Italian pizza, pasta and chicken dishes.
Giacomo’s Pizza & Spaghetti House calls itself the oldest Italian takeaway in Preston and is somewhat of an institution. Operating for over 27 years a short while ago it was taken over by Italian born Chef Sergio who is looking to offer the people of Preston ‘a great taste of Italy’.
Giacomo Bella Napoli, which is not more than 20 feet away on Hill Street, is run by the original Giacomo who came back to Preston a year or so ago. He touts the place as the first pizza and pasta delivery pizzeria in Preston – he did open the original Pizza & Spaghetti House.
I thought it would be interesting to do a little experimental menu, price, delivery, taste test. Well, with both takeaways being so close together and offering virtually the same menu how can people make up their minds? I’m not a fast food gourmet but we all order take out from time to time. Don’t we?
Pizza & Spaghetti House (or PSH) and Giacomo Bella Napoli (GBN) both have pizzas and pasta, that you can work out for yourself and the comparable dishes at both have virtually the same titles. They also do a range of chicken and meat specialities plus starters like chicken livers and classic stuffed mushrooms.
For this trial I ordered a Pizza Mafiosa (olives, pepperoni, and hot chilli) and a Pescatore Pizza (tuna, prawns and garlic) from both of the takeaways – not on the same night though. That would greedy! PSH regular pizzas are 9” and GBN 10” with the GBN slightly more expensive because of that (both just over £5).
I ordered on a Saturday night. A popular night as you would imagine. Both mention over the phone it could take up to 40 minutes, but in both cases it was somewhat shorter than that.
Food was still hot in both cases which was good. Nice thin pizza crust. None of that expensive stuffed crust nonsense. I love the mafiosa, the pepperoni and olives give it a deep flavour and it’s good and spicy. Both versions were great. The pescatore equally so with plenty of topping.
Unfortunately neither seem keen on cutting up the pizzas into slices which can be a pain if the pizza cutter goes missing. If I have to give a winner PSH just has the edge for flavour.
Both do a fine Garlic Bread Mexicano (tomato, onions and hot chillies) if you want want something with a bit of spice. In fact PSH was the first place I ever came across this type of garlic bread and their version is still the best.
Something only found (for the moment) on the GBN menu is Calamari Fritti Squid (£4.10) as a starter. Tried this and really liked it. Big for a starter but the squid was well cooked not rubbery, tasted lovely. Star for GBN.
Only found on the PSH starters menu is Bruschetta (£3.20). This large slab of crostini topped with tomato, basil and loads of garlic is a treat and unusual to be found in a takeaway. Very good, if slightly expensive. Star for PSH.
Both places do chips and burgers but have yet to try them. I notice they also offer roast potatoes (GBN £1.60, PSH £2.20) another interesting takeaway item. Could have ordered some to go with the turkey!
As a head-to-head comparison I personally recommend PSH, probably because I’ve always been happy with it. GBN is newer and I suppose PSH still use Giacomo’s recipies but I just found it strange he decided to open up shop yards from his old place.
Delivery charge PSH free over £12 GBN free over £8 (depending on location)
Giacomo’s Pizza & Spaghetti House
19 Hill Street, Preston
Giacomo Bella Napoli
21 Hill Street, Preston