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A wonderful first visit
Member Name: linzeelou
Advantages: Good value, great food
Disadvantages: A bit cramped
Strada is a restaurant chain that I had never even heard of before until recently. There isn't one in Nottingham as far as I know and there definitely isn't one in Grimsby. However, while in London recently and not being able to find the restaurant we were supposed to go to, Strada seemed like the next best option and it was right where we were anyway. The Strada I will be reviewing is Strada Marketplace, London.
== Restaurant Information ==
9-10 Market Place,
020 7580 4644
== My Experience ==
This particular restaurant is really easy to find. The best tube station to get off at is Oxford Circus and you just need to head behind Top Shop in order to find Marketplace. Here there is a range of restaurants. Strada is on the left hand side and right in the middle of the street.
All I knew about Strada before actually eating there was that it served Italian food. The restaurant had an outside eating area although I definitely didn't want to sit there as it was freezing and had been raining all day. Upon entering the restaurant, we were asked if we had reservations (which we didn't) then shown to a tiny table shoved in the corner. The space around the table was tiny and although the table next to us was empty when we arrived, it was soon filled and there was a struggle for the other people to get in and for us to get out after we were done.
The restaurant was dimly lit, which did give it a lovely romantic and intimate feel to it although this made me wish I was there with my fiancé instead of my flatmate! The closeness of the tables added to the intimacy although for me this was not a good thing. It seems as though they just wanted to pack in as many tables as possible especially as the restaurant is quite small. However, I did like the setting of the restaurant and it also made going out for a meal feel more special than it actually was. This would be a lovely place to go with your other half.
After only being sat down for a couple of minutes, we were asked if we were ready to order and if we wanted any drinks. Having barely looked at the menu at this point, we ordered 2 cokes which cost £2.35 each. A glass bottle of coke was brought over along with a small glass with ice and lemon in. The waitress then left us alone for a good 5 minutes in order for us to decide what we wanted to order.
My flatmate opted for the Rigatoni Speck pasta which consisted of a creamy sauce of Gorgonzola cheese, smoked speck ham and rocket with rigatoni pasta and this cost £10.95. I went for a basic margherita pizza which cost £7.95. We always tend to share dishes when we go out to eat so I figured I didn't want to get pasta as well so that way we would both get something different. We also has Algio which is a basket of hand stretched flat bread topped with garlic & rosemary to share between us and this cost £4.95.
Considering that the restaurant was nearly full, it only took 10 minutes for our meals to arrive. My pizza was absolutely massive and it made me wish we didn't order the side of garlic bread as well. The base of the pizza was lovely and thin, making it crispy on the edges but softer in the middle. The top was loaded with cheese on top of a wonderful tomato base. Although this is a basic pizza, and with not much to it, it tasted great. My flatemate's pasta was even nicer though. The cheese sauce was rich and creamy and mixed with the ham and rocket, there was a good mixture of flavours and textures. The pasta itself was soft and extremely hot and that made it an all-round very nicely tasting dish. The garlic bread was soft and crispy at the same time in different places and the garlic not too overpowering.
We were not pressured to hurry up during our meal and someone only came over once to make sure everything was ok. I liked this about Strada because sometimes, a waiter or waitress can come over too much and it makes it feel like you should have been gone a while ago. The atmosphere at this restaurant was nice and relaxed although the service was spot on. After our meals we were asked if we wanted dessert but we were far too full so we asked for the bill, paid (with a tip) and left.
== Overall ==
Although I had never been to a Strada restaurant before, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit here and would now happily go again.
Summary: A great restaurant