l'antica Locanda Italian Restaurant 33 The Shambles York - Reviews
Review by Kevin Ireson: To me and my regular dining partner David, this is the best Italian restaurant in the city. Consistently good, fresh food with a fabulous flavour and a great host at the heart of it all. Your host Gianni is a real character and will often be in the thick of it. Attending to and chatting in high spirts with all of his customers. We have never had anything here apart from a great evening out with some fabulous food!
For a small operation the menu that is on offer here is varied and large. There are around 10 or more starters to choose from, all of which sound great and from experience taste fabulous. Not only are there a good number of regular dishes on the a la carte menu but, there will also be some great specials to choose from. A personal recommendation is the gamberoni (king prawns) which comes in a delightfully garlicky and chilli based tomato sauce. Also, if they have any muscles available they will be very fresh. So fresh in fact, the last time I was there they literally melted in my mouth! These two dishes were our choice for the evening.
Next we had to choose from a vast array of delightful Puglian and Sardinian based main courses. The number of dishes on the menu can take some time to choose from. Now as a side note, we often ask for advice from the waiting staff. This trick of the trade gives you a clear idea of what they think and in fact, whether they know much about what they are offering. It is always the case in here they know a lot about the food they serve and are very happy to help you with your choice. So, David ordered his veal escallops in a pizza sauce, which is something I did have my eye on already to be honest. I was convinced by our waiter to try the spaghetti with shellfish, as I love seafood. We were also offered some bread for the table but, more about that later.
We then ordered a bottle of Italian red wine from a very comprehensive wine menu. It has 4 pages or more of red wines to choose from. There were a good number of white wines too but, under half the number. It seemed that the house preferred reds and to be honest, with a good Italian meal, red wine usually goes very well with it. Even if it is a seafood based main course!
Fabulous Italian Food
We didn't have to wait long for our complimentary bruschetta to arrive. Simple but effective, this is a great way to start a meal. A lovely light piece of toasted ciabatta with a delightful garlic, herb, olive oil and tomato topping. The authenticity of the restaurant jumps out at you at this point. The first time I was given one of these here, I flashed back to my first ever bruschetta. It was for me just like being back sat in front of the Pitti Palace in Florence. A real delight.
Next we were served our starters or as the Italians call them, antipasti. David's three large king prawns were lovely indeed. My muscles were cooked in white wine, with some herbs and garlic with a touch of chilli and some cherry tomatoes. Both of these were divine!
The service here is very professional and friendly. The are usually 2 or 3 people taking orders and serving your food, one of whom will be the host and owner Gianni.
You can usually tell him apart from the others as he is quite jovial and boisterous. Also if he has a glass of wine in his hand his passion for his restaurant just oozes out of him. They will often make suggestions to you from the specials. Always you will end up with a delicious plate of food here and often a good friendly chat too. As a host he really is great fun!
Now the only problem we had all night was getting hold of the bread we had been offered. Why was this so important I hear you ask? Well, the sauce with the prawns and the soup at the bottom of the muscles were both just to delicious to leave. I had no spoon and needed to get at it somehow. While I waited I got carried away and lifted up the bowl and drank the juice strait from it. Very naughty! Both host and head waiter were so busy it was hard to catch their eyes, but eventually the bread came and so a civilised dipping then transpired.
The Best Italian Restaurant in York
For us, L'antica Locanda is without doubt the best of all the Italian restaurants we have tried in York. Although there are a couple of others that run a close second. Every meal here you feel like an invited guest at an Italian family feast. You could not ask for more in the way of authenticity too. Everybody here, owners, staff and customers enjoy themselves thoroughly.
Please mention Hotels in York website when you call. Thanks.