We have visited this restaurant a number of times now, and never been disappointed. In fact quite the opposite - many of the dishes we have been served have been nothing short of excellent.
This is very much an italian restaurant, in every sense - not just a restaurant serving Italian food. It has all the ambiance and atmosphere you would expect, the staff are extremely friendly (but not TOO friendly) and the service has been mainly excellent. It is a small restaurant - I'd guess seating about 50 maximum - and once or twice they have struggled when they have had a big party in - maybe that's the cause of a few negative comments about the service. But that is very much the exception, in our experience. It can also get a little cramped at peak times - certainly best to book a table.
But the special mention is for the food. If you want pizza and chips for your Italian meal - forget it. It would be a waste of your visit - though if you have youngsters in the party I'm sure they'd be happy to serve it. But this is a restaurant that serves the Italian classics, but much more - a large variety of dishes, many invented by their own chef, which combine typical Italian ingredients with some new twists, creating some very memorable dishes. Don't be shy of talking to the staff about the dishes if they sound a bit odd - they will explain them, and also point you in the direction of what they consider the best for you, if you tell them what you like. Today on the waiter's recommendation I had fillet steak in a fig-based sauce; I won't even attempt to describe it - it was far more complex a mixture of tastes than just steak and figs; but it was simply superb. And don't be afraid to have your steak rare - the quality of the meat is excellent. And like the menu, the wine list is extensive.
This isn't the cheapest Italian restaurant in York, but we have tried most and in our opinion it is easily the best. Expect to pay about £100 for a 3-course meal for two - though that's probably choosing some of the more expensive options - including wine, coffee and liqueur. Be aware the vegateables/salad is usually extra on the 'base' charge - it's clearly stated, and does mean you can chose what and how many veg you have. Most wine starts at around £15 a bottle - there are a few chreaper options - but what you get for that is a well-chosen bottle that will complement your meal, not just over-priced plonk.
One thing to be aware of - the main restaurant is upstairs, and access is by a fairly steep staircase, not ideal for anybody with a disability. There are a couple of tables downstairs, but they do lack the atmosphere.
This is a restaurant that is ideal for a lunch-time treat, but also good and unusual enough for that evening 'special occasion' without breaking the bank. If you want a really good meal, and maybe the option to choose something a bit different you will remember for a long time - try it.
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