Newest Review: ... positive) due to a recent unpleasant experience. I visited with my family, including my 7 year old daugher. While they generally make ... more
Member Name: juicy_lucy
Date: 12/03/06, updated on 04/07/07 (4303 review reads)
Advantages: Great food, lively atmosphere
One place we like to eat is Francesca’s, mainly because it has been there for years and is within our “comfort zone”, so it was to this little pizzeria that we adjourned last night. It was too cold to go walking around town, and there was a definite need for cosiness and some good food.
The restaurant is situated in Jesmond, about 10 minutes from the bar lined Osborne road, so on warm evenings, it’s a great place to eat and then sample the delights of Jesmond!
The area is residential and as such, it’s quite difficult to get parked- in fact, it’s chaotic; the restaurant is on a junction and everyone seems to be trying to find a parking space ion a small area. It’s easier to get a taxi because it’s not close enough to the Metro for this to be an option unless you genuinely like to walk!
Big glass windows let you know that you are at the restaurant, and regardless of the time you get there, it is always busy, and it’s obvious just from looking in that it’s lively.
Walk inside and straight away you are met by a queue of people. For “newies” this can be a bit confusing. There is a tiny bar area and people appear to be filling this area but in fact, this is the queue, snaking round from the arch leading to the restaurant.
The whole area is full of what appear to be reclaimed items, bird cages, gates, fire places and an assortment of large pictures and ivy draping everywhere. It is indeed a chaotic area but has a certain rustic charm, even the toilet sign is an old one and points you down the stairs, which have a rusty gate half opened at the top of them.
Once you have snaked round the bar area (this took us from 7.30- 9pm last night) you enter the actual eating area. Again, an assortment of items and tables dotted around the rooms, sporting the almost obligatory checked table cloths. The restaurant has actually been extended and there is a second room accessed by an arch way- just as well because as one member of our party told us, if there had been only one room we would have got seated at 10pm.
The menu is quite extensive and offers a range of starters, poultry, meat, pizza and pasta dishes. These are all good value, and as an indication, 6 of us had 2 courses each and the bill was £70.
Of course, I had to have a try of everything and the swordfish was especially good, this being priced at £9. There was a complaint that the beef was over cooked, but otherwise, no complaints.
The staff do try to accommodate different needs, and should you select a pizza dish and then want additional toppings, these are added at no extra cost. They also serve dishes such as half a pizza and chips which is a favourite of mine on a lunchtime.
OTHER BITS OF INFORMATION…
TOILETS are downstairs, so not good access for disabled. They are not the best toilets I have come across and apparently, the men’s were a bit whiffy!
A TAKE AWAY service is available and if you have any food left, they will box it for you- for the next day I assume.
OPENING HOURS Monday to Saturday noon-2.30pm, 5pm-9pm
This seems early to close but this is actually the last time they let people through the doors to start to queue.
It is actually testimony to the restaurant that it has been able to survive all these years with a no booking, and queuing policy. In fact, it’s about the only restaurant I know of, where people happily stand and queue. I have never found this a problem as the atmosphere is great and it’s really just like going for a drink somewhere before going for a meal. However, I can appreciate that it wouldn’t appeal to everyone, especially if you want your pre dinner drinks sitting down.
The food is very good- tasty and large portions, and well priced. Whenever we have been here, we don’t feel as though there is a huge hole burnt in the old pockets.
The service is fast and efficient but don’t expect silver service- it won’t happen.
The restaurant is child and party friendly, and if it’s your birthday they dim the lights and sing happy birthday, and give you cake- we know this as we got some cake last night.
There are separate smoking and non smoking areas and whilst people were obviously smoking at the bar, the non smoking area was definitely not smoky. This is an improvement to before the extension when smokers and non smokers mingled at the tables.
This is a great restaurant if you want a night fun night out in one place, with good food and a good atmosphere. It’s not for those occasions when silver service and “straight to table” is required and in fact, I would say that it’s the kind of place to go with a group of people. There never seems to be many couples although there are some. However, for a party atmosphere, it’s excellent.
Thanks for reading.
Summary: Good restaurant for parties