One of the best things being away on holiday is that you get to try different restaurants wherever you are. After a leisurely afternoon exploring the sights of Bath, we asked the hotel staff of The Royal Hotel where we were billeted for the night which Italian restaurant is the best in town. What a shame that she couldnt remember the name exactly but told us we cant miss it as its just beside the Theater Royale, on a last ditch attempt to be helpful she says, “all I can remember is that it starts with a La”. Right. Bear that in mind, as long as it starts with a La.
We decided to take a walk from the hotel which was just off Manvers Street, a few steps towards the train station. I thought it was a good choice of hotel and would be useful to get my bearings. My sister hates that expression. Anywho, it was a lovely walk towards the city centre, as it just had rained early part of the evening, the pavement was a little damp, but the air was crisp and cool. I wish I had brought a decent pair of trousers instead of walking about in my walking shorts. We did find the Theater Royal but the Italian restaurant beside it didnt start with a La but was actually Strada, a franchise of Italian restaurants that we also have in London. I am not a believer in franchise restaurants, a good example to this is Bella Italia. I believe that if you want to dine in a proper Italian restaurant or any type of cuisine for that matter, its always best to go the traditional way. But we are cold, and definitely in need of sustenance so we dared to try Strada.
As soon as we were seated you can sense the warmth and friendliness of the staff. Service was fast, not too fast that it gave you just enough time to mull over their wine list and the starters menu at least. We skipped the wine tonight and just opted for Coke, with lots of ice. I normally dont have starters but my sister ordered their aglio – basket of homemade garlic and rosemary bread.
I ordered spaghettini al ragu – spaghettini pasta served with a rich slowly braised minced beef, red wine, onion, tomato and herb ragu.
My sister got the risotto ai frutti di mare - traditional southern Italian risotto with fresh squid, mussels, prawns and fresh Palourde clams, finished with chilli, garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
Stacking up on our meat consumption for the day we also got the bistecca di manzo to share – 12 oz. Chargrilled lamb fillets served with roasted cubetti potatoes and a rocket and Parmesan salad.
To our surprise the food was very good. It didnt elicit the oohhs and aahhs as I had tasted better pasta but my ragu was just as rich and tasty. The portions were generous and because of the aglio I earlier consumed I had to struggle to finish my spaghettini. Be prepared to shell out about £20 per person (without wine) plus gratuities.
Strada Restaurant in Bath: ****