Italian is by far one of the best foods. I could live on fresh pasta, parmesan, pizza, antipasto every day, any day. When going out for food, Italian restaurants are always guaranteed to have something for everyone’s taste. I’ve recently visited two here in Leeds (Livin’ Italy & Jamie’s Italian) and I had different experiences in both, which is another reason Italian is one of the best foods.
After my mum and I had had our nails done at Pastille Beauty Bar in Granary Wharf (blog post here), we walked round the corner to Livin’ Italy for some food and drinks. I’ve heard good things about this place so I thought we should give it a go and since we were in the neighborhood, why not. It took a while before we were seated as they were prepping for the daily afterwork (drink and buffet) and prior to opening had had training for new staff. Normally, I’m sure getting a table on arrival shouldn’t take long at all.
We were seated upstairs, next to the window and it’s red vespa. I love the atmosphere the brick walls and arched windows give, it brings a lot of character to the place, without even trying. Not to mention the music, brilliant mix of old and new Italian songs, Paolo Nutini and similar. The upstairs soon filled up so it’s proven to be a popular restaurant to go to after work for a bite to eat but also downstairs for commuters to grab a drink whilst waiting for their train home.
My mum and I quickly decided to have pizza as our main but after hearing the specials, we couldn’t resist not trying their arancini for starters. It was massive so definitely enough to share between two. We both had the same pizza, La Tonna, which has tuna on it. I’ve been reluctant to order pizza with tuna for a long time but recently discovered it’s delicious and this sure didn’t disappoint. My mum still thinks about this pizza sometimes, ha. In hindsight, we should have ordered two different pizzas and shared them but when you’re hungry you don’t always think straight. They were really filling so we decided to take what we couldn’t eat with us home and eat another time.
We couldn’t stomach desserts so instead, we ordered a cocktail each. I had a Spritz Punch as it would have been rude not drinking Aperol in an Italian restaurant. It was the perfect choice to end a lovely evening and next time, I’d love to try their breakfast menu!
I’ve only been to Jamie’s Italian in Leeds once before, when they had just opened up. That’s such a long time ago now (where does time fly off to?) so when I got an invite to try their ‘Evening Favourite Menu‘*, I was excited to go back. My date for the evening was lovely Charlotte and there’s nothing better than to go for a bite to eat with someone who loves food, even more than I do, ha.
We went on a Tuesday night so I was really surprised to see how busy it was and by the time we left, even the bar was full with people enjoying drinks. Maybe I’ve missed a trick not going out on a Tuesday night, or again, having a restaurant so close to the train station and offices is the way forward.
Despite being busy, the staff had plenty of time for us and we were well taken care of. As mentioned, we ordered from the set three course menu which is a really good deal – £18.95 per person!!! It’s a really good deal considering on how much food you get so perhaps this is the main attraction for a busy Tuesday evening.
From my last visit, I’d forgotten how big the restaurant actually is. I love the high ceiling and the grandiose atmosphere with huge chandeliers and roman windows. An open space seating plan with the option of more private seating.
The main and dessert were easy choices for me but it took us a little bit longer deciding on what starters to get. We order two different so that we could share it all. We finally decided on the Cured Meat Plank and with some help from our waitress also the Fantastic Fried Gnocchi (never learn how to properly pronounce these). The meat plank was nicely served on a wooden platter and balanced on two cans of crushed tomatoes to give it a bit of height. A nice touch.
We both decided on the sirloin steak for our mains, which is an extra £5 each but it was so worth it. The steak was perfectly cooked, medium rare (just the way I like it). It didn’t look much served on a wooden platter but oh boy did it fill me up.
Normally, I would have settled for a starter and a main but since the dessert was already ordered, I couldn’t resist. I always like the sound of Tiramisu (Charlotte ordered it) and could it get more Italian? Because I can’t stand the taste of coffee to drink or in bakes, even so much as a little hint, I went for the white chocolate cheesecake instead. It was the perfect way to round off such a lovely meal. The clementine curd and mint it was served with gave it a really fresh taste.
Afterwards I didn’t feel that full, until we got up and I walked home. I guess it’s a true sign of a good night with delicious food and great company. Next time, I want to enjoy their lunch menu deal!
Have you been to any of these Italian restaurants? Have you got anymore to recommend for me to try?
*Invitation for review. All words and opinions are my own.