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Italian Restaurants in Maida Vale

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      16.10.2001 23:11
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      If you are looking for an Italian restaurant with reasonable prices and excellent food then look no further.... The Red Pepper is part of a chain of of restaurants including The Green Olive, The Purple Sage and The White Onion. I kid you not! The difference between them is the style and price. For instance The Green Olive which is located near to The Red Pepper is more upmarket, more expensive, therefore, and is a much more formal, intimate atmosphere. But I will review the Red Pepper in this op. It is in Little Venice/Maida Vale on Formosa Street set in a small parade of shops. First impressions are good. It has a bustly, vibrant atmosphere and is always full. The clinetele range from the obviously well off, to tourists, to young professionals, in short no one feels out of place there. There is seating outide with outdoor heaters if that takes your fancy. This is an Italian restaurant. Most of the staff are Italian and there is a very friendly mediterranean air about the place. The decor is modern without being overly trendy and pretentious. Here comes my first criticism. The menu is a bit limited. There are six or seven starters, six or seven main courses and about ten pizzas. So in the main courses, although they have a wide range of specials, the basic menu consists of a couple of pasta dishes, a vegetarian option for a main course, and a fish and meat main course. Having said all that, I have never been disappointed with the food. The variety of dishes means that no one visit is always the same. The warm baby octopus salad starter is absolutely divine! The specials are also excellent ranging from venison to tuna, to veal depending on the day. Starters range from five to eight pounds and main courses range from eight pounds to the specials which can be over fifteen pounds. The food is excellent. I have eaten there over twenty times and had most dishes on the menu and can confidently say
      that I have never found the food to be wanting. The pizzas have a lovely base and fill the entire plate. They range from the goats cheese, sun-dried tomato and rocket pizza which is delicious, to the parma ham, rocket, and pepper vinagraitte, to calzone(folded pizza), there are simply too many to mention. If there is no other reason to visit the Red Pepper then it is to try the tiramasu. It is simply the most gorgeous dessert in any restaurant I have ever tried. Home made it sits in an elegant wafer shell and is the closest you will get to an orgasm from a dessert! They also have a range of ice creams and special desserts. Overall with wine(incidentally, the house wine is excellent) the meal, depending on how many courses you have comes to £20-£30 a head on average. But it is possible to eat there for less. The service is always charming and they go out of their way to be of assistance. One added bonus is that The Red Pepper also does take away pizzas. They don't deliver but a pizza each usually comes to about £16 and you get good quality food as opposed to the routine pizza hut or dominos. Yes you have to go and collect it, but they ring you when it is almost ready and there is no waiting around. As a first date place, The Red Pepper is ideal. There is no pressure, a lively but non-intrusive atmosphere and friendly surroundings. Also a great place to go with a group of friends, where you want to chat and have a laugh without worrying about someone telling you to be quiet. There is are no unsavoury or rude characters there so it is just as good to take the kids. In summary, a reasonably priced, great venue, great atmosphere restaurant with high quality food that is suited for all occassions. Check it out.

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