I think out of all the countries I’ve visited so far, Italy is probably the one that’s captured my heart the most. I can often be found with my head in the Lonely Planet guide daydreaming about campervanning around the Amalfi coast or sightseeing in sophisticated cities. Unfortunately there are no Italian holidays on the horizon at the moment so I ease my wanderlust by enjoying Italian food whenever I can.
James and I don’t often go in to Jesmond but when an invite to try Antico restaurant came our way it was the perfect excuse and as soon as we arrived on bustling Osborne Road we both said the same thing, ‘We really should come here more often’. It’s a vibrant part of Newcastle with a plethora of bars and restaurants to choose from, many with outdoor seating, although it was a little bit too chilly for that in April!
Thankfully there was a warm welcome inside Antico and the restaurant was quite busy so there was a really nice atmosphere. The decor is quite striking and I felt like there was a bit too much going on; renaissance style ornaments, black and white photos, animal print fabrics, chintzy curtains, sometimes less is more. Although, I certainly wouldn’t say that about the food, it was absolutely delicious!
We’d arrived at Antico straight from work and were both famished so you can imagine our response when we asked if we’d like some antipasti while perusing the menu. I could live off antipasti, it sums up everything I love about Italian food, fresh, simple, tasty and perfect for sharing.
In hindsight we probably should have skipped starters, especially after all those carbs but our eyes were bigger than our bellies and I indulged on Cozze alla Marinara (mussels in garlic and tomato)…
While James couldn’t resist the Capesante & Pancetta (King scallops)
Both were beautifully served and cooked to perfection. The sauce on the mussels was ridiculously good with just the right amount of garlic, I mopped up every last drip with a big chunk of warm bread and the experience took me right back to being on holiday!
For our main courses we decided to overlook the obvious pizza and pasta and try some of the meat dishes instead. I went for Pollo all a Contadina which was a succulent chicken breast, wrapped in Parma ham, topped with goat’s cheese and baked in the oven. It came with a side dish of vegetables too. The ingredients were some of my favourites and it sounded like my idea of heaven but it was a little bit saltier than I would have liked and after all the antipasti and mouthwatering mussels I was actually feeling a bit bloated. Shame really because I think if I’d have been less greedy at the start of the meal I would have enjoyed it much more.
James had no such issue and devoured his filet steak which he’d ordered rare with a pizzaiola sauce. This was a tomato based sauce which was recommended to him by the charming waiter who showed real passion when describing the food and made sure we were well looked after throughout the whole meal. My man is quite the steak connoisseur and he was very impressed with the quality of the meat, I tried a bit and although I like mine a little less pink I could certainly tell that it was well matured.
I watched the staff interact with other diners and soon realised that we weren’t receiving any special treatment for blogging, they were happily chatting away to all the customers, greeting many as if they were old friends.
Overall I’d say Antico is well worth a visit, the service was just how it should be, friendly but not overbearing and the food is good enough to allow you to imagine you’re in an Italian Trattoria for a couple of hours!
UPDATE: Why should us bloggers get all the perks? YOU can try Antico for FREE too! Metro Radio are hosting a ‘Come Dine with Brian’ event at the restaurant on Tuesday the 26th May, sign up HERE