Gino's Restaurant, Harrogate
Graham Clark, Features Writer
My first experience of the Gino D'Acampo restaurant was at the Leeds restaurant earlier this year and to be honest I wasn't too impressed: the seating was lousy, the portions far too small, the food nothing to write home about and the music way too loud.
The recently launched autumn menu and the new Harrogate restaurant seemed a good opportunity to give the restaurant a second chance.
They seem to have learnt from the Leeds restaurant as the Harrogate restaurant is a different kettle of fish altogether: the atmosphere in the Harrogate restaurant is warm, welcoming, the seating comfortable and the food portions big and most importantly good quality.
The music playlist seems to concentrate on Depeche Mode, R.E.M., Ian Dury etc, perhaps these where the acts Gino used to listen to in his youth?
I did notice our fellow diners at the Harrogate restaurant were older than those at the Leeds restaurant.
Upstairs there is a roof top bar with sliding ceiling that can open fully to the elements, great for a summer's evening. A bit chilly for an autumn evening even though the heaters on the wall kept the room warm.
On our Friday night visit there was a DJ playing dance classics and creating a good pre-dining vibe.
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Service was quick and efficient, perhaps too quick at some points as our server rushed off before we had time to finish our sentences.
The drinks arrived swiftly though our requests for ice and lemon to be served with the water fell on deaf ears.
At least I learnt how to pronounce Ghiaccio from our very friendly server, which is ice in Italian .
My starter of Garlic bread served with Buffalo mozzarella and Fontina cheese came on a long board and underneath was a copy of a page from the Italian sports newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport. Priced at £5.00 it was excellent value. Cheesy, tasty and filling the huge portion was an unexpected surprise.
My partner's Parma Ham and Melon was again a big serving with the Parma Ham fresh and had the smell you get when you go into the local cheese and ham shop when in Italy.
My main of 8oz Aberdeen Sirloin Steak was served cut into slices and accompanied with Hand cut Chips; not very Italian I know but beautifully cooked, though I did find the rocket a bit too oily for my liking.
My partner's Crispy Chicken Breast stuffed with Mozzarella and Basil Pesto might raise a few eyebrows when priced at £15.50 when sides are extra, but the two pieces were thick and tasted fantastic. Tender and delicious was the verdict.
Desserts of Chocolate Chestnut Cake served with cream for me tasted better with an extra serving of pistachio ice cream, whilst my partner's Panna Cotta was as good as anything you would be served in Italy.
It took a few reminders for the coffee to arrive but when the Americano served with hot milk did arrive the taste of the coffee brought back memories of visits to Italy, top quality coffee.
I did notice that between 12noon and 6pm every day they do a 2 course meal priced at £12.50 and a 3 course meal at £15.50 which is excellent value, however it is not available between 23 November and 31 December.
The music still might be a bit loud for some older diners but I am happy to say that the Harrogate restaurant is as they say in Italy, Molto Bene (very good).
Gino D'Acampo Restaurant 46-48 Parliament Street, Harrogate, HG1 2RL
Telephone: 01423 705777
Gino's Restaurant, Harrogate, 28th October 2017, 10:11 AM