Bournemouth's Best Italian Restaurants
They say there is really no such thing as one Italian style because their cuisine is extremely varied and influenced by the best culinary styles from so many regions. Popular Italian cuisine has influences from Roman, Greek, Norman, Gaul, Goth, Germanic, Turkish, Slavic, Hebrew, Frank, Arab and even Chinese civilizations.
- Ristorante Barolo
Location: 586-88 Wimborne Rd, Bournemouth (01202-547-213)
Situated just outside the city centre of Bournemouth, Ristorante Barolo is one of the best, if not the best, Italian restaurants in town. It is well-known for its traditional Italian cuisine such as pizzas and pastas, prepared in a deliciously home-made style. The waiters are always friendly and eager to please, and even the owner is usually at the door to welcome visitors. At night, live music fills the air, including an original Italian song or two.
- La Strada
Location: 20b Exeter Rd, Bournemouth (01202-558-902)
La Strada is close to the Bournemouth International Centre, situated atop the hill near Bournemouth Pier. The menus comes either as an a la carte menu or seafood menu. Everything on these menus is prepared with the freshest ingredients around. The day's specials, regularly written on a blackboard up front, are always a culinary delight. And during lunch time, you may even get a special rate. Two words of caution, though: call first. The place is so popular on certain days that you won't find a place to sit.
Location: Exeter Rd, Bournemouth (01202-293-332)
From the entrance alone, you can immediately tell that this is an authentic Italian restaurant: there's a shrine out front to the iconic Italian Casanova, Rudolf Valentino, after whom the place is obviously named. All types of people patronize Valentino's, whether they're locals, students or travelling tourists. The best things on the menu are gnocchi and veal offerings, which their chef prepares in his own unique way.
- Sal e Pepe Ristorante and Pizzeria
Location: 43 Charminster Rd, Bournemouth (01202-291-019)
With its red trim, large windows and green awning, you can tell from its appearance alone that Sal e Pepe is a classic Italian restaurant. The interiors are tastefully decorated with candles, Italian photos and faux Roman columns. Their menu features quite a large number of Italian offerings, including all the standard fare as well as several seafood dishes and novel fish entries such as monkfish and prawns. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily, weekdays to weekends. The day's specials are listed on a blackboard up front.
- Alcatraz Brasserie
Location: 127 Old Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth (01202-553-650)
This popular brasserie, located at the Bournemouth Centre, is famous for its spinach, Alcatraz pizza and ricotta tortellini. Their in-house coffees and desserts also have quite a following, especially the mouth-watering flute limoncillo and a special blend of cocoa and hazel nut ice cream known as tartufo. Al fresco dining is available at the restaurants patio area.
- La Piccola Italia
Location: 23 Holdenhurst Rd, Lansdowne, Bournemouth (01202-551-510)
Since it was built in 1981, La Piccola Italia has enjoyed a reputation as one of the leading Italian restaurants in all of Bournemouth. Situated near the Lansdowne on Holdenhurst Road, this restaurant is widely patronized by both tourists and locals alike. They have an excellent a la cart menu as well as a wide array of pasta and pizza offerings. Reservations are recommended.
- La Gondola
Location: 9-10 Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth (01202-558-079)
If you're looking for the quintessential Italian restaurant, you might find what you're looking for at La Gondola. The restaurant's interiors are dominated by the colour red, except for the walls of the dining area, which are white and filled with photographs featuring various scenes that are distinctly Italian. On any given day, you will likely find a number of locals and students in the place, eager to enjoy such popular dishes like veal pizziaola and cannelloni al forno as well as occasional specials such as gnocchi al pasto or pollo con banana. The prices here are very reasonable.
Location: 272 Old Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth (01202-317-007)
For home-made Italian cuisine of the highest quality, the Amaretto restaurant is the place to visit. Located just a stone's throw away from Bournemouth Centre, Amaretto has a unique feel brought about by its distinctly Mediterranean interiors and soft, live Italian music. Dinners have a choice between a seafood menu or an a la cart menu as well as enticing daily specials. Perhaps the most popular items on the menu are the desserts, which are always fresh every day.