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There's a fine meal to be had
Member Name: daniash
Advantages: True to real Italian food
Disadvantages: Prices can appear off-putting (but they're actually fair)
Having spent several years in Italy, I know what to expect from Italian food. I also know, from friends working in restaurants, that a lot of so-called Italian restaurants here are actually owned by people who are not only Italian, but not even European!
While the basic concept of Italian food is not hard to understand and can be replicated by anyone, perfecting it is quite another matter, and satisfying the demanding taste of the pleasure eater is harder than just filling a drunken stomach with any greasy pizza.
Alright - So I don't know who actually owns Strada, and if they're Italian or not. But if they aren't, they must have spent ages researching the subject, because it's as close as it gets to real Italian food. At least out of the big chain restaurants, Strada is the one I prefer.
Let's get straight to the point; their pizzas are good. consistent with how an Italian restaurant would cook a pizza. Now, there is a huge variation even within Italy how this is done, but there are things an Italian pizzeria would never do, and Strada's pizzas stay within the boundaries. I don't know what exactly it is, but there is a balance of flavour and texture that is so often lost in cheaper 'italian' eateries in this country, and this is certainly not the case here. Not only they are faithful to the real thing, but these pizzas are actually good. They won't necessarily be loaded with ingredients, they will tend to be simple but that's the whole point. So, if you eat there, make sure you have one.
The non-pizza elements of the menu are also very satisfying. While there has been an adjustment made to better meet the target audience, the recipes used are very much the classics, and my impression is that the ingredients they use are fresh.
Their appetizers are also definitely worth ordering, even if some of them sound humble and appear overpriced for what they are. You'll realise they were actually priced in the right range. The beauty of Italian food is that even a bowl of olives can add a great deal of satisfaction to a nice meal, if the quality is up to scratch.
The drinks they have are nice in that they include a few lesser known items such as some Italian beers that the connoisseur will recognise and appreciate.
I like these restaurants. I don't tend to go there if I'm hungry and I have an itch to scratch for Italian food, no, there's better places for these cases. I tend to go there when I really want a fine meal, because that's what I usually get.
I tend to spend around the £20-25 mark without wine for a full meal; I would not suggest going there just for a pizza. I would rather recommend sitting down, taking your time, looking at the menu and making your pick of appetizers, main course and pizza - although it may be a good idea to share at least one of these items with your partner if your stomach isn't so big.
Summary: Italians themselves give Strada the thumbs-up.