Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1957-2013 - Langton Street (Chelsea)

Restaurateur Alvaro Maccioni was born near Florence on 3 June 1937, the son of a wholesale food dealer. He trained in several hotels around Italy before being employed at the Mirabelle in Mayfair in October 1957, then one of London’s grandest restaurants. There he first met fellow Italians Franco Lagattolla and Mario Cassandro. In 1962, he joined these two at La Terrazza on Romilly Street, Soho. As manager here he played host to peers and playboys; hairdressers and photographers; artists, actors, and musicians in the famous Positano Room. He became one of the glitterati of Swinging London during the 1960s. He left La Terrazza to open his own trattoria, the eponymous Alvaro, in 1966. Many of his regulars followed him from Soho to the King’s Road in Chelsea. Less than a week after the opening, Lord Snowdon and Princess Margaret brought friends for dinner. Three years later Maccioni sold the restaurant to the Golden Egg Group concern, opening a chain called Alvaro’s Pizza e Pasta. Mass catering was not his style and he soon left for Italy. In 1975 he returned to London to reinvent himself at La Famiglia, at no. 7 Langton Street, Chelsea, which became a beacon of Tuscan food. Maccioni helped launch the so-called Trattoria Revolution’ which swept away the more formal French-dominated cuisine of the post-war era. He died in London in November 2013.

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