Leave the gun, take the cannoli... Spain's 'La Mafia' restaurant chain mobbed by diners despite complaints from Italy

A popular group of Mafia-themed eateries in Spain has led to protests from its Italian neighbours

Rome

Italy is not impressed with the latest craze in Spanish dining – a rapidly expanding group of restaurants called La Mafia. The chain has already opened 34 Mob-themed eateries across the Iberian Peninsula. And it appears Spaniards can’t get enough of chowing down on pasta surrounded by references to Cosa Nostra. The owners plan to open another 15 restaurants and one in Portugal by the end of the year.

All have the words “La Mafia” emblazoned everywhere you look. Clients are surrounded with names and images of the Sicilian Mafia’s most notorious killers.

“Can you imagine what would happen in Spain, if Italy opened a pair of restaurants dedicated to terrorists from ETA,” La Repubblica’s veteran Mafia writer, Attilio Bolzoni, said. “Or what would happen  in Germany if in Rome or Milan they opened three breweries with sausage and sauerkraut in honour of the Red Army Faction?”

Marco Anzaldi, the Italian Democratic Party MP, has called on the president of the parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission to lodge an official protest. He said: “Perhaps we ought to start distributing leaflets outside these Spanish establishments to the families that go in, which show that child victim of the Mafia who was strangled and dissolved in acid. The Mafia isn’t what you see in the Coppola film, the Mafia is an aberration and we can’t allow it to become Italy’s global brand.”

It’s not clear whether patrons are simply there for the budget-priced meals and if they’re impervious to the images and references to Vito Corleone, Al Capone and the Valentine’s Day Massacre. Perhaps the locals appreciate them. Regular customers can even apply for a Mafia Fidelity Club card.

It’s not the first time eateries outside Italy have cashed in on the Mafia’s infamy. Last summer an Austrian café’s decision to name its sandwiches after Mafia murder victims, including judges killed in bomb attacks, sparked a diplomatic incident between Vienna and Rome. Patrons of “Don Panino” were able to choose, among things a “ Giovanni Falcone” sandwich – named after the celebrated magistrate who was assassinated by the Cosa Nostra in 1992.

But the Spanish business has ramped up the Mob-marketing theme to a whole new level. “The Mafia creates work,” is one of the company’s slogans. And this is true: in a country crushed by the recession, there are 400 full-time staff working for the Mafia. Unfortunately there are many more Spaniards working for the unsavoury criminals.

Mr Bolzoni notes that in every Spanish region there are criminal clans working with or for Italy’s big Mafia groups, including ‘ Ndrangheta and the Camorra, such as the Piromalli clan in Barcelona and the Sergi group in Madrid.

The press office of La Mafia was not prepared to comment when called by The Independent. But the spokesman Pablo Martinez earlier told La Repubblica: “We’ve never, never, never apologised for terrorism or for violence.” He added the imagery was also about “ roses, love and smiles”. Though he conceded that might be “ difficult to explain to Italians”.

Read more:
Death becomes her: Sicilian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia has spent her career covering the grim results of southern Italy's Mafia wars
Italian ‘most wanted’ mafia boss Mario Riccio arrested in police crackdown on Camorra crime organisation
When Mafia bosses dine, it can only mean trouble... A decapitated Cosa Nostra is reorganising itself – over banquets  
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own