Giovanni Rana Ristorante- Regents Place

Reviewed on August 18th, 2013 by Dina

Catching up with friends is always special even if it is only manageable at times for a weekday lunch! Hence, for this lunchtime, it needed to be somewhere central.

Just off the busy Euston Road and behind the office buildings, lies a quiet area of Regents Place. This is home to Giovanni Rana’s restaurant; the only UK restaurant of this famous pasta chef!

There are other items on the menu apart from the pasta, and these include meat, fish and salads. Usually, I’m not a big pasta person, but I felt on this occasion, it would be just wrong not to have it! So then it was a choice between a normal pasta dish and the filled tortellini.

GiovanniGiovanni Trofiette al PestoGiovanni Interior

Tempting as the mushroom ravioli dish, Ravioli al Porcini sounded, I decided to go for the Trofiette al Pesto. This dish was made of thin fresh pasta twists. The pasta was cooked al dente so that it was still quite firm. The pasta was coated in a basil pesto sauce and topped with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and sundried tomatoes. There was a real freshness about this dish and the flavours worked well together.

Giovanni Rana Ristorante has a lovely outdoor dining area made up of wooden seating. The interior of the restaurant consists of tables and chairs, but there are also high chairs by the counters and along some of the walls.

The staff gave service with a smile and were friendly. They were attentive and it was nice that they gave a thorough description of the specials dishes!

Giovanni Rana Ristorante, 17-19 Triton Street, Regents Place, London, NW1 3BF

Rating: ★★★★½

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La Locanda del Tempio – Rome (Trevi Fountain)

Reviewed on May 20th, 2013 by Dina

After making our wishes with our coins at the beautiful Trevi Fountain, it was time for dinner. Not far from this large Baroque fountain was where La Locanda del Tempio was located.

Even though it was the evening time, we were able to sit comfortably outdoors due to the big outdoor heaters. There were a couple of small tables, but as there were a few of us dining, the waiters happily rearranged the tables to make one that accommodated us. We dined by candlelight! The staff at La Locanda del Tempio were jolly and gave us good service.

Toasted slices of bread flavoured with garlic and topped with fresh, juicy chopped tomatoes made up the starter of the Bruschetta. A few main dishes were ordered including pasta, pizza and vegetables.

La Locanda del Tempio TablesLa Locanda del TempioLa Locanda del Tempio Outdoor DiningLa Locanda del Tempio BruschettaLa Locanda del Tempio PizzaLa Locanda del Tempio Melanzane alla ParmigainaLa Locanda del Tempio Ravioli AmalfiLa Locanda del Tempio TiramisuLa Locanda del Tempio Cannolo Siciliano

The Fettucine ai Funghi was pasta with mushrooms. The ribbons of pasta were really fresh and this made for a simple but tasty dish. Cheese and spinach ravioli with fresh tomatoes was what the Ravioli Amalfi was. The pasta was a bit heavier and we were slightly disappointed with the portion size. It looked more like a starter than a main dish.

Two pizzas were sampled. The Ham and Mushroom pizza and the Diavola pizza both had great crispy bases. The toppings were more generous on the Ham and Mushroom pizza. The Diavola pizza was tomato, cheese and hot salami but it only had two slices of salami on it.

A dish that went down well was the Melanzane alla Parmigaina. The soft baked aubergine slices with the tomato sauce and cheese was really delicious and cooked to perfection.

Now onto the sweet endings of the meal! You can never go wrong with Tiramisu, as long as it is done well! This was the case here at La Locanda del Tempio! The tiramisu was fresh, creamy and had a good strong coffee flavour.

The Cannolo Siciliano was a wafer tube filled with ricotta cheese, chocolate drops and candied orange peel. It was nice enough but it would be too rich for one person. So we were glad that we had shared it!

La Locanda del Tempio does fresh, authentic, great tasting food. We were glad that our first meal in Rome was a success and it made us look forward to sampling more Italian delights on our trip!

La Locanda del Tempio, Via di Pietra 85, Rome

Rating: ★★★★☆

Dolcetto – Angel

Reviewed on March 8th, 2013 by Dina

As you walk up Chapel Market, Dolcetto is a great unexpected find! The atmosphere is warm and it is one of those places that looks inviting and makes you want to go in.

The restaurant area is made up of beige chairs and wooden tables and has an open kitchen with the pizza oven in full view. The red brick walls give it a rustic feel but it also feels really modern with the funky framed pictures.

The Bruschetta Tradizionale was two thin slices of toasted bread, topped with plenty of plenty of chopped tomatoes. The Calamari Fritti starter was great. You could tell that the calamari was fresh as it was not at all chewy or rubbery. The deep fried calamari was served with some salad and a tangy tartare sauce.

DolcettoDolcetto Bruschetta TradizionaleDolcetto InteriorDolcetto Pizza VegetarianaDolcetto Roast PotatoesDolcetto Risotto ai PorciniDolcetto TiramisuDolcetto Chocolate Fudge CakeDolcetto Interior 2

The pizza menu was quite quirky. Some of the pizzas had been named after cars, such as Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Gallardo. We went for something less adventurous and had the Pizza Vegetariana. We weren’t sure which vegetables to expect as the menu only said seasoned vegetables. This vegetarian pizza had a crisp base and was topped with big slices of courgettes, peppers, olives and mushrooms. It was nice that the pizza came already sliced, which made it a lot easier to eat.

My favourite dish had to be the Risotto ai Porcini. It had a wonderful rich flavour to it. Lots of sliced mushrooms together with the creamy rice made it a hearty dish. A really great side dish was the roast potatoes. These were absolutely perfect: crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. They were definitely very moreish.

The tiramisu was lovely and creamy and just what you’d expect from such a dessert. Layers of cream sandwiched between the sponge layers. The chocolate fudge cake was a big portion and had a dense texture.

Dolcetto, 18 Chapel Market, Islington, London, N1 9EZ

Rating: ★★★★☆

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