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String or spaghetti?
Spago (Jesmond, Newcastle uopn Tyne)
Member Name: juicy_lucy
Spago (Jesmond, Newcastle uopn Tyne)
Advantages: Lively restaurant
Disadvantages: Hard to get parked
WHERE IS IT?
The restaurant is on Osborne Road, a busy road in Jesmond, so to get to the restaurant, you have to find somewhere on one of the side streets to park (find a place which isn't residents only).
I always think the outide of the restaurant is a bit "tired" looking- outside it looks as though it needs some tlc. No matter, though, it's usually busy so who am I to say anything?
There is a small garden with a little path and then in you go, to be greeted, prettily enough, by little orange trees at the door, which is a nice touch, although little miss is always confused because she didn't think oranges could grow in England.
The restaurant is in two parts, divided by a pull back curtain and a couple of steps. The lower part houses the bar which has a good selection of spirits and cocktails and the upper part houses the television. Yes, I do wonder about the logic of this; why would people chose to go out for a meal and watch the live sport on tv?
There are large colourful pictures adorning the walls- all of people and if I knew what type of art they were I would of course say so but as far as art is concerned, i am a bit of a Philistine. Suffice to say that they are bold and colourful paintings of larger than life people and they are in perfect keeping with the rest of the decor.
There are tables dotted about with plenty of space between them apart from the one in the corner by the window which, judging by the expressions on the faces of the people last time we were there, is a bit difficult to get in and out of.
One good thing which I must point out-there are no candles dripping wax down a bottle. Probably not relevant but an observation- actually it may be relevant because there are few things which irritate me more than when hubby sits picking wax off bottles.
Strangely enough, to get to the toilets, you have to walk past the kitchen, and the door is usually wide open (thankfully, the kitchen is clean).
The toilets are very basic, and like the outside could do with a bit of a make over...bring in the Restaurant Doctor. There are bits falling off the side panels of the sink, and in my opinion, having outdated toilets, however clean, is not a good look.
We have usually been served by Italians- or they are doing a very good impression of being Italian, and the service is always speedy and efficient without being intrusive. A big plus is that they are always very pleasant to young children , so you actually don't feel that you are being looked down on for having taken a child (God forbid!!) into a restaurant.
The main menu is varied, serving hot and cold starters, a range of pizzas, risottos and pastas, as well as lamb, beef, fish and chicken dishes.
Something for everyone unless you are vegetarian in which case, it looks like it's pizza, risotto or pasta.
The pizzas are mostly £5.95, with a few at 6.95, and the pasta dishes are similarly priced.
Prices for the main dishes vary; I will give a few examples for an idea of the price range: Beef Pizzaiola costs £14.95, Lamb alla brace, £12.95, salmon, £11.95.
Side dishes are also available, although the main courses do come with fries or salad.
This costs £5.95 for one course, £7.95 for 2 courses and £8.95 for 3 courses; obviously you are free to have any combination of courses- make mine a starter and dessert.
For starters, there is the choice of soup, sauteed mushrooms, pate with melba toast or melon and prawns.
There is a good selection, but for the main course we are usually real traditionalists and all go for the roast beef, Yorkshire puddings and gravy, all served with very nice, not over cooked vegetables. Main course offers 4 choices with a vegetarian offering, this being sauteed mixed mushrooms, peppers and paprika in sour cream sauce with rice.
Finally, dessert changes but is usually the usual of ice cream in a range of flavours, and last time, little miss and himself had a very delicious looking chocolate gateau cake with cherries and cream through the middle. i say delicios looking as I can't bear cream, but judging by the way they cleaned their plates, the dessert was a hit.
Monday- Saturday 12 noon-2.30pm
And not forgetting happy hour, when the pizzas and pastas are cheaper:
Thursday and Friday
Yes, very long Happy Hour, but a great marketing device to draw in the customers.
There is a 10% charge added to your final bill for service (I can't decide whether I agree with this- I think not as I believe it should be discretionary)
Minimun charge for credit card payment is £10.00
ADDRESS AND CONTACT
15 Osborne Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 2812990
Fax: 0191 2819161
WHAT I THINK
I read somewhere that the average price for a meal is £21, but we have found it to be alot cheaper than this. Perhaps it's because we don't drink too much on a Sunday lunchtime.
The restaurant does offer but not advertise, half portions, and for young children, the full meal would be too much.
I would comment, though, that they could be a bit more generous for the adult portion...the vegetables are a bit sparse on the ground, especially on Sunday when we want to eat and eat.
Wine is quite reasonable, running as it does at £10.95 a bottle and the rather more expensive £2.60 a glass...rude not to get a bottle.
The staff are friendly and helpful and the atmosphere is busy and family orientated without being over run with children or anxious parents as alot of the themed pubs are.
If you want a relatively inexpensive meal somewhere relaxed and close to the city centre, it's worth trying. Go for Happy Hour and then try the bars along Osborne road; with summer on its way that's a fairly good night out.
Thanks for reading.
Just as an added extra...spago is not a particularly pleasant name if said with a hard "a"; the Italian word "spaghetti" is the diminutive of "spago" or "string"
Yes...irrelevant, I know.
Summary: Lively restaurant with ok prices