San Carlo Restaurant

When one of the country's most respected and leading critics says that a restaurant in this group is 'the best Italian Restaurant outside London' it is time to take them seriously.

Britain's love affair with Italian food is a cause célèbre of long standing and shows no signs of waning, so it is always welcome news when somewhere like San Carlo sets out to reach for the skies. Located in the heart of Bristol, San Carlo is well suited to catch both day and night time business, and the menu reflects this. There are 147 different dishes, plus blackboard specials, offering snacks, meals, celebrations, all in true Italian style, dishes that bring Italy into the very centre of life in the city.

When one of the country's most respected and leading critics says that a restaurant in this group is 'the best Italian Restaurant outside London' it is time to take them seriously. Britain's love affair with Italian food is a cause célèbre of long standing and shows no signs of waning, so it is always welcome news when somewhere like San Carlo sets out to reach for the skies.

Located in the heart of Bristol, San Carlo is well suited to catch both day and night time business, and the menu reflects this. There are 147 different dishes, plus blackboard specials, offering snacks, meals, celebrations, all in true Italian style, dishes that bring Italy into the very centre of life in the city. San Carlo is one of a chain of similar restaurants, yet each one has its own personality.

The San Carlo at Bristol was the second in the group to be developed, emphasizing clearly that a San Carlo is not a theme restaurant but a highly lavish exclusive Italian venue for people who appreciate fine food, good service, luxurious and comfortable surroundings, as well as value for money.

Favourite dishes include sliced prime Scottish fillet of beef with a light dressing of capers, anchovies, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, and that old favourite of connoisseurs the world over, pan fried breast of chicken with white wine, mushrooms and cream sauce, garnished with asparagus. Many of the ingredients to create these dishes are imported from Italy, and it goes without saying that the wine list is unashamedly and spectacularly of the same origin.

A combination of Italian cuisine and fish has always seemed logical - all that coastline - as well as highly attractive to the British taste. The antipasti at San Carlo includes a mixture of squid, prawns and mussels, deep-fried whitebait, and scallops in white wine and garlic. Amongst the main courses expect to find on the blackboard Dover sole, grilled whole sea bass, a mixed grill of fish, special pasta with lobster, brandy, tomato, cream and peas, or giant prawn and scallops in garlic and chilli.

It is customary to look for Italian wines in such places, nor will you be disappointed, but there are a few French inclusions also, with a rather nice Chablis in evidence. House wines, and few off the list, are available by the glass. Service is a good example of that Italian 'just make yourself at home we'll look after everything' manner, when you generally surprise yourself by taking their advice. In Britain we just say 'no problem', which may be succinct, but lacks style.

Groups are welcome at San Carlo, but to preserve the balance between groups, a limit of up to nine people applies on Friday and Saturday, and twenty to thirty on weekdays. Booking will always make for security but in general the arrangements mean there is room for everybody. It is worth remembering that you will have the best service and advice from their Italian Directors and staff throughout.

Ultimately a restaurant is judged by two main factors, each dependent upon the other. Combine quality food with life's movers and shakers in attractive surroundings and you have a sure fire record for the sweet buzz of success that permeates San Carlo.
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