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  • it is after all a chain eatery!
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      15.11.2008 16:11
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      A good cheap restaurant for nights out/lunches

      This is a lovely little Italian restaurant which I think is part of a large chain. They tend to have offers on at lunchtime so that you can get 2 courses for about £8, which is pretty good compared to most of the restaurants in Hertford. The atmosphere is really relaxed, and whilst the decor isn't the nicest in Hertford, you definetely feel welcome there. The food is typical Italian dishes, carbonara, pizzas, spaghetti, lasagne. It is really delcious, you get huge portions (so if you go there for lunch you won't need any dinner!) and you definitely leave satisfied. The normal (i.e. not on the deal) prices are really reasonable as well, two of you can eat there for around £20-25 depending on whether you have one or two courses. Most main dishes cost around £8-10. If you're looking for somewhere which has really good food, for a reasonable price and isn't too posh, this is a great place to eat.

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        17.09.2008 18:17
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        good place to go with freinds for a cheap meal

        This is a huge chain restaurant with cafe's (well restaurants really) all over the UK so you know what you're getting with this company which is good. They sell a wide selection of pizza/pasta dishes along with meat and fish dishes and risottos and have a good deal on a lunch menu where you can spend £7.95 (between 12 and 5) and get 2 courses (with a choice between starters, mains and desserts on a restricted menu). On the a la carte menu, dishes vary between £4.95 (for a margherita or a Penne Arrabbiata) and £14.95 (for steak) so there is something for all budgets. The service here is adequate although can go down hill when they are very full for have a large party in. They are a good place to go for a quick bite to eat with friends when you don't want something too expensive. They also accept luncheon vouchers so if you have any of these you need to spend bring them along. The food is nice but nothing special so don't come here if you are looking for the wow factor

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          19.08.2008 12:02
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          A great place for a meal with the family!

          Caffe Uno (yes it is spelt with 2 f`s) is an Italian style cafe restaurant, decorated in a fairly rustic style with wooden tables and wicker chairs (they may not sound too comfy but they actually are) and a bar area from behind which drinks are served, there is no seating at the bar so it gives an impression of being classy rather than having drunks propping the bar up. The restaurant serves a selection of pizza and pasta dishes, as well as meat and fish but even the fish is done to Italian styles and recipes. There is as many as 30 main dishes to choose from in all and some of them are suitable for vegetarians, the vegetarian meals are highlighted clearly on their very Classy menus. The quality of the food is great and the prices are not too expensive either, a main course will set you back about £7 and you can have a starter for less than £2, although there are also more expensive starters. The desert menu is not too comprehensive but still offers a decent choice and again at good prices. As well as main meals they have an extensive breakfast and lunch menu so it is a great place for anytime of the day, they sell a wide range of liqueur coffees as well as original coffees and it is one of the few places around where I am that you can have a meal and enjoy a drink with your kids that is open all day. I have never had either bad service or a bad meal from Caffe Uno and have visited more times than I care to remember so it is truly a place you can rely on and it gets a full five star rating from me!

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            10.03.2006 17:03
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            average itialian chain selling slightly overpriced food

            It was a Thursday evening just after pay da. Duskman and I had met for a drink after work and I could not be bothered cooking. The idea was a cheap and cheerful meal out. A nice bowl of pasta would hit the spot exactly. Manchester has a number of reasonable independent Italian restaurants and pizzerias. However we decided on Caffé Uno which is part of a chain. I had been past it plenty of times but had never eaten there. I chose it because I thought the name café made it sound reasonable value. The Manchester City Centre branch is in a prime location facing the Town Hall on Albert Square. It’s usually buzzing in the summer with its cosmopolitan outdoor seating. It had a different atmosphere on a gloomy March evening. It was very quiet with only a handful of tables occupied. I really felt the place had no personality or atmosphere at all. Perhaps this would have been different on a Saturday night. Caffe Uno serves your usual range of pizzas, pastas and salads. I do not eat red or white meat so was quite pleased with the number of vegetarian and fish dishes available. I was tempted by an unusual prawn Caesar salad but opted for one of the specials, Gnocchi with gorgonzola and basil pesto instead. I accompanied this with a mug of mocha. Duskman ordered a Spaghetti Carbornar and Appletise. This cam to nearly £20. Our drinks came first. The mocha was not too bad at all. It was prettily presented in one of those nice glass Irish coffee mugs with large bit of quite hard Italian style biscuit. When my mail course arrived I was very underwhelemd with my dish. It’s one that I used to order all the time at Leonis, an interdependent restaurant just round the corner from Caffe Uno. This dish was very inferior. It was nicely presented but it seemed quite a small portion. The sauce was probably the best bit. It was a nice texture but perhaps the gorgonzola was that little bit overpowering. The Gnocchi seemed to come straight out of a supermarket. The basil was lightly scattered over the top of the dish. I thought it was very unmemorable and almost grudged paying £8.50 for it. I thought the price was a bit over the top. There is another small independent restaurant 10 minutes walk from Caffe Uno where you can get a three course special meal for that price. Luckily there were free bread stick to nibble on. To fill me up a wee bit more. Duskman commented that his Spaghetti Carbonara both in portion size and taste was average. I was going to get a dessert but most of them were near enough £4. I know that is the going rate but I still feel that is too expensive for a non special occasion. We did have some nice mints with our bill though which suited me fine. The service was no too bad. It was friendly , quick and efficient but nothing outstanding. We were lucky as on of our friends has had bad experiences when they forgot one main course altogether. The restaurant was clean but as I said I could not think of a word really to describe it. There were no quirky features or even annoying fake Italian features . The music if I remember rightly was just chart pop music. Would I recommend this restaurant? I might for a quick coffee in the daytime. I though my mocha was reasonably priced compared to high street coffee chains but for anything else I would not. There was nothing wrong with this restaurant as the food and service was ok. However I felt that it was not value for money for a quick supper out nor was it good enough for a special occasion. This restaurant would be ok if you had no choice (say in a smaller town) but Manchester has number of decent restaurants such as Leonis, Croma and Stock, where I have had a much better, more memorable dining experience.

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              01.03.2002 14:37
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              University has taught me so much. I’ve learnt how to sleep any time of day in any place, where to find the cheapest Warburtons in town and how to make seemingly understandable notes from lectures given by professor types who only appear to know a smattering of English. The most important thing I’ve realised though, is that there’s more to Italian Restaurants than just the Tiggis I grew up with. -- The Background -- Over the last 5 or 6 months, Quy and I seem to have spent a lot of time eating, and 99% of those occasions have been in Italian restaurants. There’s Michelangelos (which I’m not writing an op on since he has already), Est Est Est, Ask! and Tiggis (all reviewed by yours truly), Via Roma and Don Antonio’s (too bad to even think of it) and Don Giovanis and Cocottoos (will get around to it one day), to name a few. The last one we went to was Caffe Uno in Didsbury – my choice based on the fact I was craving their garlic bread, in the way only a garlic bread connoisseur can…. -- The Food -- Typical Italian fare including salads, pasta, pizza and meat dishes and various appetizers and puddings. Their pasta is wonderful - you know how you can just *tell* when it’s ultra fresh? Their Parmesan comes in one of those tiny graters and so doesn’t leave the wedge until your meal is in front of you, thus retaining all it’s flavour - full marks there. The garlic bread is unusual for this area in that it’s not a pizza base style one: instead it’s made from a ciabatta roll sliced in half, lightly toasted and topped with just the right amount of garlic and butter, plus a sprinkling of herbs. Mmmm mmm good (what was that an advert for?). Being vegetarian I didn’t sample his steak or starter on either occasion, but I’m told it was “fine” if not spectacular. They have a decent selection of alcoholic and non alcoholic drin ks available, and a small but delicious looking pudding menu – I can’t comment though since as always I was too stuffed to try one. -- The Setting -- Our local restaurant is, I would imagine, typical of the chain (have a look at the website – address below – for your local branch). There are sparking wooden tables with candles, and a paneled wood floor. The walls are decorated with large blackboards showing the specials and interestingly enough, dinner plates and empty vases. It might not be wonderfully romantic or typically Italian, but it’s certainly nicer than Pizza Hut. -- The Service -- We’ve been to this branch twice. On neither occasion did we encounter terrible service, but the last time we went (mid week, not near valentine’s day, not all that late) it was a bit slow, although it appeared they had very few waiting staff working so no doubt a few had called in sick. Still, we’ve never had to wait long to order, the food arrives before you get to the point of wondering whether your order’s got lost, and the bill arrives the second you click your fingers. -- The Cost -- Probably average for the places we go to, it’s somewhere in between pure fast food pizza/pasta, and fancy posh, waiters-who-look-down-their-nose-at-me-employing Italian places. As a guide, 4 courses and 4 drinks would usually cost between £25 and £30 depending on your choices. We have a great system where he pays and I, ahem, leave the tip…. For more info on all the dishes available, and their prices, have a look at www.caffeuno.co.uk. -- The Extra Info –- Unlike some local restaurants, they do take bookings, and don’t seem to have a minimum party size. Last time we went we got a “Book Now for Mother’s Day” stuck on the bottom of the bill. They have a reasonably sized children’s menu and offer lunch time offers throughout the week. They’ve also been known to have all-you-can-eat buffet style deals on. -- The Verdict – Mi piace. What can I say? It serves Italian food. They have Coke not Pepsi. It’s in Manchester. Works for me. I only wish there was a branch at home.

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                30.09.2001 18:59
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                When I found out that my daughter was on her way I started to think that my social life was all but over but then I thought no I will take my daughter out with me and so began the search for the ideal restaurant. I tried loads such as Pizza Express,Cafe Rouge,Ponchetta,Pappa Dels but all seemed to be fine during the day but in the evenings I got the feeling that kid's were not really welcome then I found Cafe Uno. Cafe Uno have lot's of restaurants all over London and serve a wide variety of dishes all Italian but all delicious(believe me I have tried them all). But not only do they have excellent food and wine at very reasonable prices but the service is of the highest order in all the branches I have visited. But the real draw for me was the child friendly atmosphere with plenty of highchairs,kiddies menu which has more of a selection than just chips and sausages,child play packs called the secret squirel and crayons do do colouring in. The staff do not seem bothered what time you take your kid's in with you and always talk to and interact with the kid's when taking orders etc and if they are lucky even get a balloon which always goes down well with my little one. Childrens meals cost £3.95 and for that you get a choice of main,desert and juice which is not bad at all. The food is generally cheap but the wine as with anywhere is inflatted in price but of good quality. This place has been a god send especially when I feel like going out and I can't get a Minder,great for parties as well because again those with kid's who would not have been able to make it can bring them along. Cafe Uno gets a 10/10 from me and if you want to go out and have a stress free evening then I suggest you give them a whirl.

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                  02.07.2001 00:05
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                  Being a couple who loved to go out to dinner me and my partner thought that we would have to cut back drastically when our daughter was born then we discovered the Cafe Uno. Not only do they serve great food but they are very accomidating to children and even have little activity packs for your little ones containing masks,pictures to colour and crayons. They are very good value for money and the three of us have starter main and desert plus wine and coffe for about £35.00. There is a kiddies menu of which my little one finds the spagghetti pomodoro very tasty and the ice cream even more so. She also finds the balloon she recieves everytime amazing,i personally find the choc brownies with cream and ice cream irresistable. A very friendly atmosphere with plenty of other familys eating and drinking,excellent staff and service in all the different branches we've been to and although they are all over the place they all have their own personality and look. We can now go out have a nice meal and a good drink whilst also keeping our daughter happy and amused. A must for all those parents who want to wine and dine but are not sure if little will be happy or welcome.

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                    02.06.2001 06:21
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                    • "it is after all a chain eatery!"

                    What am I doing, abandoning my book-ops domain to venture into chain eateries' reviews? Is this the discovery of a new Michelin writer? ... I think not. This is meant as nothing more than a highly personal opinion of a face-stuffing exercise. Now I know we're all meant to snob chain eateries and anything not purely "independent". Heck, I even penned a "independent bookshop against chain bookstores" op meself, so I'm in a rather precarious position to throw stones, wouldn't ya say guys? Oh well, contradictions are the spice of life... or something of the sort, anyway. Being in London even if for a short stay means being on a somewhat tight budget, given the exorbitant cost of living there, so a decent chain eatery is the equivalent of a two-star Michelin restaurant for me - the high point of a visit, the ultimate indulgence. And therefore I choose carefully! Ha! For you must know another thing about me, my dear dooyooers - I'm an incurable glutton. Oh yes I am - as anyone who's been to lunch/dinner with me can attest. Life without food is only marginally better than life without books. There's nothing I won't do, and no-one I won't kill if I have to, to get to an al dente plate of pasta, piping hot and enriched by some knock-out sauce. So don't say you haven't been warned, fellow diners! As I was saying therefore....... ah yes, the eatery. The eatery in question, to come to the point ["finally" I hear - yes that's right, make fun of me and you won't get any of my freshly-cooked spaghetti, ha!], is Caffe Uno. This is a chain eatery with branches literally all over London and beyond. A branch even opened recently on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. So what is it all about? Is it a glorified McDonalds experience? God forbid, no! Basically, and without further ado, keeping in minds the constraints imposed by its being a chain not a personal chef-customer experience, there's not many places in London you'll get a better-tasting plate of pasta (for that price, that is... there are always the ultra-expensive boutique-restaurants). And take my word for this - I come, after all, from the next door neighbours of the Lords of Pasta (and some talent has rubbed off on us, I hasten to add rather immodestly). The prices at Caffe Uno are on the steeper side, given its being a chain pizza/pasta place, however the portions are ample (larger and better than chief rival "Bella Pasta") and the presentation by and large genuine. I say "by and large" because, on a few occasions, the food was slightly sub-standard compared to its usual self - but that of course depends on the branch visited and the time of day. I find there's a better chance of getting genuine al dente pasta when the place is medium-to-slow busy rather than when it's jam-packed with customers. Each dish comes with a multitude of ingredients. None of the cliched "spaghetti napoletana/bolognese", "pasta marinara" - of course those options are available to the unadventurous, but I highly discourage you from pursuing that path. More likely to be enjoyed: penne with a delicious lamb concoction, a heart-rending cottage cheese/sun-dried tomatoes/rucola medley, pasta with chicken slices cooked in the most incredible wine/sauces. And on and on we could go [this is killing me! It's past midnight and I'm before a computer screen with no access to a plate of pasta - of course I could always trot off to the kitchen and prepare myself one - wouldn't be the first time (shhhh)]. For anyone not so hot on pasta (of course this defeats somewhat the purpose of trotting along to Caffe Uno, but anyways....), there are other choices. The pizzas, I'm told, are decent, though nothing to write home (or to dooyoo!) about. A few alternative main courses looked appetising enough on fel low diners' plates (especially the italian sausage dish). However the best part of the menu, apart from the pasta that is, would be the antipasti. Caffe Uno present a selection (again, quite pricey) of starters to die for: the usual bruschetta/garlic bread/mushrooms in garlic, but also bocconcini of parma ham and goats' cheese. Get my drift?... All this may be washed down with some decent wines, in an unhurried and comfy atmosphere. The decor, in most if not all branches, is based on the warmer pastel colours engulfing the tables - painted ceilings and all. Beware, though: a few of the branches, namely the High Street Kensington one, verge on "over the top" (frescoes on the ceilings and the like...) - but hey, the food's equally good there, so who's complaining? Not me! I'd rather be eating.

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                      20.02.2001 04:56
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                      Whatever your age this is the place for you, it caters for all tastes. This is an Italian style cafe and I've been to a few in different areas around the UK, they are all basically the same. The food is varied and has a good choice of vegetarian meals. The theme may be Italian but I found the Spaghetti Bolognese rather bland, and would probably disappoint many Italian cooks. The prices are about average, approx £6 for Spaghetti Bolognese and £1.50 for coffee. I went to one in Chester and the staff were great with the children, even helped sort out the baby in the high chair. Tried the garlic bread for the first time as it had been recommended, it was huge. The only thing that put me off my meal was glancing over to the serving hatch where the waiters collected the meals from, and seeing the chef using his fingers and helping himself to food from the pan.Yuk! Another one had a dirty dish cloth hanging on his shoulder. Come on boys people don't accept this kind of behaviour anymore! If that hasn't put you off, then it's worth a visit.

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                        27.10.2000 01:43
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                        Caffe Uno is a chain of italian theme restaurants, in the middle price range, casting aspertions for a higher class of meal. Being an italian chain, it has all the staples one might expect, pasta, pizza, garlic bread etc. Generally, though, the food is of a high quality, and it certainly sounds very good on the menu. There is a good choice of vegetarian options as well, highlighted with a star beside them on the menu, as all nut-related products are noted too. The garlic bread does deserve a special mention, it is a very large portion of ciabatta, coated with garlic, and then optional cheese, ok, so that description would suffice for most garlic breads, but it was very good!! As for the entrees I've tried, there are some of the staple pasta dishes, such as pesto, plain tomato sauces, but also sauces with chicken or lamb and various combinations thereof. I can't remember all of the dishes, but I know it's always a bit of a dilemma when the menu appears and I have to bite back the 'one of each please' comment! The dessert menu is also probably painfully tempting, but the crepe with banana, cream and chocolate sauce was very good! The wine list is a little overpriced and not the best, but the house wine when I have been, has certainly been passable, and unsurprisingly, the tilt is towards italian wines. As for costs, a three course meal with wine comes to roughly £20 a head. However, you can do it much cheaper, with main courses costing between about £5 and £8. Generally, it is one of the better chains I have eaten it, and for that, it is possibly a bit more expensive than most. The food I've eaten has been of a good quality and the menu always looks a bit more interesting than some other, comparible chains.

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