La Lupa (guest post by Matt Cornelius- Eat Out In)

La Lupa is a quaint little Italian restaurant found in the heart of Canton, Cardiff.

This restaurant may be situated in the middle of the Welsh capital city, but has every feel of wining and dining in the beautiful streets of Italia.

Upon entry you get the instant warmth of an authentic Italian-run establishment, coated by the sound of Italy’s music.

The staff are passionate and friendly and effortlessly make you feel comfortable and willing to relax.

The restaurant has an open plan kitchen, so it’s possible to see the chef work his magic. Whilst on the subject of the chef it would be rude not to mention the pride that he/she takes in the food they cook, from the presentation to the quality of taste.

Sirloin steak with generous helping of veg and wedges

Being a man who will only eat a meal if there is some form of meat accompanying it, I went for the lamb skewers to start, followed by a sirloin steak, and both were cooked to perfection and melted in my mouth. The steak was accompanied by a very generous side dish of potato wedges and vegetables.

As well as a wide selection of meat based dishes, there were plenty of other options on the menu, for all those pasta and pizza lovers.

My partner went for the simple but effective pesto pasta, each dish covers all the basics of a good tasty dish and more. They have clearly added their own, La Lupa edge that leaves a happy, satisfied taste in your mouth (thankfully not overwhelmed by garlic) and we’re looking forward to the next visit.

Classic pesto pasta

This restaurant would be perfect for any occasion, as due to the quirky layout, you have the chance to hide in a corner and enjoy a romantic night with your partner or you can move to another part of the restaurant where you can be joined by parties of friends and family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giovanni’s

Giovanni’s is a small Italian restaurant in the busy Cardiff city centre.

It is surrounded by the impressive library and a handful of designer shops, with a feel of “little Italy” about it. A trattoria style restaurant in the heart of a busy capital city.

"Little Italy" (courtesy of http://www.eatout.co.uk)

We walked into the restaurant and, as it was busy, awkwardly waited to be seated. The seating was very informal and open, with a family orientated atmosphere; a central theme of Italian dining.

I ordered the Risotto Modo Nostra, which I felt I could judge with some degree of authority as it is virtually the only meal I can cook to an edible standard.

It consisted of peppers, smoked bacon and moderately spicy sauce. The risotto was cooked well and had a creamy taste to it, preferred by many chefs including Jamie Oliver. It was also a good-sized portion.

My two guests both ordered pizza, which I was skeptical of, but they rightly pointed out that an authentic Italian restaurant should make exceptional pizzas. However, they were divided over their selections.

The restaurant has a very local Italian feel to it. The restaurant manager, Massimo Fraioli, explained to me how he was trying to, and indeed succeeding to, export classic Italian cuisine from Sorrento on the Naples coast, where Massimo is from and bring it to Cardiff.

Much of the menu does, rightly, consist of seafood dishes and pasta; common to that area of Italy.

The restaurant was established in 1983 and has hosted a number of celebrities. Tom Jones, George Best, Enrique Iglesias, Anthony Hopkins and Pavarotti have all dined there.

The late Pavarotti at the restaurant (courtesy of Giovanni's)

Unlike many restaurants that claim authenticity, Giovanni’s has weighted credibility. They have cheesy Italian music simmering in the background, there is a communal atmosphere, the service is very efficient and well rehearsed, but more to the point, they genuinely seem passionate about the food they serve you.

The experience was complete when, as we were leaving, the waiter cheerfully exclaimed: Ciao!

 

 

Money Spent: £10.95

Rating: 8/10