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Good service, food nice enough but pretty average
Member Name: helenc72
Advantages: Convenient, quick and friendly service, food is nice enough, decent menu range, reasonable price
Disadvantages: Food can be a bit bland
Strada is an Italian chain restaurant which I have been to a couple of times. I tend to see it as similar to Carluccios, Zizzi etc. Last Friday I went to Strada opposite Spitalfields market in London and my review is talking about that branch.
--- Location ---
This is a great convenient location which is easy to walk to from the City, Shoreditch or other nearby areas. The closest station is Liverpool Street which is about 5 minutes walk away or less (if you use the Bishopsgate exit). There are also plenty of buses.
--- Look and Cleanliness of Restaurant ---
The restaurant has a pleasant but non descript look to it inside. I could hardly even tell you about the interior now because it was not particularly memorable! We did not see any hygiene or cleanliness issues which caused concern and everything seemed clean.
However the toilets were not great as the hand drier did not work and they did not keep them fully stocked with toilet paper. The only toilet I could see was one disabled one, so if there are others they are not clearly signed at all.
--- Staff ---
The staff were polite and friendly, and they were pretty quick to serve whenever we needed anything. They checked back during the meal to see if everything was okay. They all looked smart in uniform but my sister complained to me that one waitress really smelled of cigarette smoke which put her slightly off her meal as she hates this smell, but I did not notice it. Then again I was sitting on the "inside" seat by the wall, and my sister had her back to the aisle so she was always closer to the staff, so had more chance to notice these things. On the whole I didn't really have any complaints with the staff.
--- Menu and choice ---
The menus were given to us straight away along with a separate drinks menu. There is a fair range of food to choose from. For staters they have bruschetta, mozzarella and tomato, various sea food and fish items, soups and more. There are also olives and breads that are sides but you can order them as starters. We got bruschetta to share.
For mains there is also a very good choice, I would say maybe a bit wider than Carluccios. They have a number of pasta dishes, pizzas, and main meat and fish dishes. There are also salads. There is a fair range of vegetarian offers for each type of food as well.
As far as deserts go there are about 6 or 7 things to choose from but a lot have alcohol in them so some guests who don't drink are a bit more limited in their options.
--- Food quality ---
The bruschetta was nice, crisp and not soggy. It came with plenty of tomatoes which were nice fresh and flavoursome. It was no problem to share the starter between two as we simply cut it in half with no difficulty.
For mains I got a risotto verdure which was a vegetarian risotto which had asparagus, peas, mint, edamame and various other veg (mainly green) in it. This was pretty nice but not the best I've had as it was a little bland. I was offered Parmesan to go on top and some of this was grated on by the waitress, which did make it a bit more flavoursome. The texture of it was okay but after eating a lot of it it started to feel quite heavy. On the whole I liked it but I wouldnt rush to order that dish again.
My sister got penne buffala which was a penne pasta dish with mozzarella and tomato. This was also quite plain but she liked it. I also tried a bit and liked it. However I would find it a bit boring if I ordered that as it something very easy to make at home so doesn't feel special, but for a reasonable convenient dinner out it does the job.
We decided to get a dessert to share and this was the ciocolate fondente, a hot chocolate pudding with melting middle of chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. The ice cream was really nice and creamy with a strong vanilla flavour. The pudding was a bit stodgy but still very nice. When sharing it started to get a bit too much as I was nearing the end of my half so I don't think I would rush to order a whole one for myself, and I am a person who normally loves puddings.
--- Price ---
We paid £40 for a starter, two mains, a dessert, 2 diet cokes and 2 coffees. I think this is pretty reasonable. The mains were about £11 each which is fairly standard for this type of chain restaurant.
--- Overall ---
It's a convenient restaurant with quick and friendly service. The food is fine and nice enough but in my opinion nothing to write home about. I would happily go again but it's not the first place I would pick out if I wanted a really amazing meal.
I would give it 3.5 stars but since I can't give halves, it gets a solid 3 out of 5 from me.
Summary: Decent option for a dinner out but not the most exciting