Anyone worth his or her salt in ‘Leeds food-ie’ terms will have heard of and probably enjoyed a meal at Salvo’s in Leeds. Famed for being voted the UK’s Best Neighbourhood Italian Restaurant by Gordon Ramsay on Channel 4’s “The F Word…, this family run restaurant has been serving up Italian feasts since 1976.

Serving traditional Italian food in a contemporary way, Salvo’s offer the best pizza, pasta and a variety of specials to satisfy new and old customers alike, any time of day. However there is a lesser known ‘little brother ‘ in the Salvo’s empire that we find ourselves continually praising to anyone that will listen. The Salumeria ‘Ristorantino’ meaning “The Little Restaurant” is Salvo’s answer to an intimate and authentic Italian dining experience.

From regional and Cenare dinners to wine tasting and speciality evenings, this hidden gem in Headingley, just a few doors down from the main restaurant, offers the best in Italian experiences. You’ve all heard of Salvo’s, now it’s time to indulge in the Salvo’s Salumeria Experience…

Who are you and how did you get here?

I’m Gip Dammone and I run Salvo’s with my brother John. Salvo’s is a family run business, owned by the same family that set up the restaurant 35 years ago. The main restaurant is one of the most popular Italian restaurants in Leeds and our Salumeria has been wowing since the day we welcomed our first customer in 2005.

My Father, Salvatore Dammone, opened Salvo’s Restaurant in 1976. After over 35 years in business, Salvo’s still remains one of the most innovative Italian restaurants in the region, serving contemporary Italian food in an informal relaxed atmosphere, a simple consistent formula which has kept thousands of customers coming back for more.

What do you offer that other places in Leeds don’t?

We offer high-quality, authentic food in a comfortable and laidback environment. We source all of our ingredients from reputable and superior suppliers and are confident we can satisfy each and every customer’s taste that walks through the door.

What can customers expect from The Salumeria?

Good honest food served with love, attention and perfection. The Salumeria specialises in providing a totally unique dining experience presenting the best of Italian food. The menus are created every day by our chefs using the day’s favoured fresh ingredients so our guests enjoy a well-balanced and delicious meal.

What’s your favourite dish and drink available from The Salumeria?

My favourite drink at the moment is a classic Negroni; equal parts Campari, Tanqueray gin and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino. I am enjoying the new desserts that Luigi, our Neapolitan pasticciere, is making. The warm pear and chocolate torte with rosemary Anglaise is marvellous and his biscuits are becoming a habit… I don’t think they’re fattening!!!

Being a big live music fan, my favourite evenings are the ‘Cabaret Sauvignon’ evenings in the Salumeria where we eat great food then an hour of live music and after dinner drinking – very civilised. The last one was an homage to the Big O – Roy Orbison with Roy’s original drummer from his 12 world tours on the traps and Vince Berkeley on vocals. Upcoming are ‘The Big Easy’ a night of New Orleans jazz and a Wes Montgomery West Coast Blues session featuring the inimitable Eddie Roberts over from San Francisco on guitar.

Our speakeasy jazz sessions with live music with me and Lubi Jovanovic playing jazz and soul on vinyl until late are brilliant.

What’s your most popular event?

The most popular evenings in the Salumeria remain the Saturday night regional 10 course dinners. We are in Piemonte at the moment with the next region, Abruzzo, coming up in May. The regional wine and food pairing nights with 5 courses and 5 wines also go down well as we don’t spit at Salvo’s!

What do you think makes Leeds so awesome?

Our people. Leeds is a beautiful city filled with beautiful people who love and care about each other. Our outlook and love for life is infectious and there is a real buzz in the city.

Where do you like to hang out in Leeds?

I really love hanging out in the Kirkgate end of town, the market is one of the best places to buy fresh produce in Leeds. Also, one of my favourite places to relax and catch up with friends is Outlaws Yacht Club on New York Street, you can also often find me DJing in there on a Friday evening.

Finally, describe Salvo’s Salumeria in 3 words…

Authentic, rustic and quality.