Location: Saint Anne’s Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Why: Real taste of Italy, in a cycling-centric atmosphere
The 2014 Giro d’Italia may be the race’s first trip to Northern Ireland, but a slice of the Giro has existed in Belfast for years.
The upscale Coppi restaurant, named after the Italian champion, is located in Saint Anne’s Square, in the trendy Cathedral Quarter.
An old truck, so well loved that it has its own Twitter account, sits outside, marking the location, and a wall-sized mural of Italian great Fausto Coppi can be found on the back wall.
Appetizers include chichettis, small snacks typically served in traditional bars throughout Venice, as well as boards of meats, cheeses, and seafood. Main courses consist of pizzettes (small pizzas), pastas, and risottos.
Italian beer Peroni is served on tap, while the locals’ favorite, Cathedral Quarter Irish Ale, is served in bottles. San Pellegrino sparkling water is, of course, ubiquitous.
The owners of Coppi also run Il Pirata, named after fallen Italian champion Marco Pantani, and The Pastificio, the pasta development kitchen for both Coppi and Il Pirata restaurants.