Ristorante Al Paradiso – Venice

Reviewed on June 18th, 2014 by Dina

The original place that we had in mind was a pizza place called Antico Forno. But when we arrived there, it was a take away place and we wanted somewhere with a sit down dining area.

Antico Forno was visited a couple of other lunchtimes and it did do one of the best pizzas. Big freshly cooked pizza slices with generous toppings and a tasty pizza base too. The hard part was always deciding which pizza to choose as they all looked so good. Sitting by the Grand Canal with pizza from Antico Forno, nothing could be more blissful!

Now onto Ristorante Al Paradiso which was only a short walk away from Antico Forno. Ristorante Al Paradiso was slightly hidden away in one of the side streets but not too far from the main restaurants lining the Grand Canal.

Ristorante Al ParadisoRistorante Al Paradiso SpaghettiRistorante Al Paradiso BreadAntico Forno Pizza CounterAntico Forno PizzaGrand Canal Venice

Hunger had definitely kicked in so we started off with the bread that was given. Unfortunately, the bread was quite hard and a little stale. It was quite airy and there was not much depth to it. The rolls were more like breadsticks. For the main course, the Spaghetti Al Pomodoro was had. It was an average dish. The spaghetti was cooked well and the tomato sauce was tasty.

It was nice to dine outside in the section lined with boxes of flowers. The staff were friendly and service was good. Saying that though, if you are in the San Polo area, it is more worthwhile to head to Antico Forno!

Ristorante Al Paradiso, Sestiere San Polo, 767, 30125, Venice

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Miracolo – Kings Cross / Chancery Lane

Reviewed on May 15th, 2014 by Dina

Miracolo is no ordinary Italian restaurant. What makes it stand out is that it specialises in medieval food and most of its menu is based around this.

This restaurant is very welcoming and feels spacious and warm from the moment you first step in. There are big white sofas and tables in the entrance and then the dining area is adjacent to the drinks bar.

The striking decor is created by the contrast of the grey walls with the wonderful orange and reds on the canvas paintings. Later, I was told by the staff that all the artwork was from the collection done by the textural artist Gill Hickman.

The staff at Miracolo were so friendly and gave lovely efficient service all accompanied by happiness and smiles! When certain dietary requirements were mentioned, the staff checked it all with the chef and made sure that we were correctly informed. The staff really did make us feel that our custom was valued.

Miracolo Torre di Melanzane SaladMiracoloMiracolo Spinach and Ricotta RavioliMiracolo Lounge AreaMiracolo InteriorMiracolo Interior 2

The Miracolo menu is very refreshing and all the dishes certainly did impress not only in taste, flavours, quality but also in presentation. The menu has some vegetarian dishes including risotto, pasta, dips and a cabbage filled pie. But if you are feeling adventurous, then your choice can be between dishes which have rabbit, venison, wild boar, goat, pheasant, partridge, quail, salmon, tuna and duck pie!

The meal started with the Torre di Melanzane salad. A tower of warm grilled aubergine slices sandwiched between caramelised onions was presented on a criss-cross grid of balsamic vinegar. It was delicious with the pine nuts. The sweet onions complemented the treacle like balsamic vinegar and it worked well with the aubergine. The homemade bread that was served with it was very moreish and helped to balance out this starter dish.

A safe option was chosen for the main meal but it was still special. Big pillows of ravioli generously filled with ricotta and spinach topped with a black truffle sauce. This dish was stated on the menu as Circa mid XIV century! The black truffle sauce was very tasty. The only thing that I would change is that I would prefer less oil in this dish. Apart from that minor thing, the spinach and ricotta had so much flavour. It has to be one of the best ravioli dishes that I have had to date.

Instead of a soft drink, I was in the mood for a cup of tea. The Earl Grey tea was served in a small silver teapot with hot milk on the side. The staff did not mind giving us a refill of hot water too.

Miracolo is a truly wonderful Italian restaurant and it should be proud of all the dishes that it serves. The food is amazing and of such a high standard. The service is great. Dining at Miracolo was a real joy and it is good to have discovered such a fantastic friendly restaurant.

Miracolo, 73 Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross, London, WC1X 8TP

Rating: ★★★★★

Miraclo on Urbanspoon

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

Giovanni Rana on UrbanspoonSquare Meal