Italian restaurants in Essex

This post is basically a moan about Italian restaurants in the UK, in general in the Upminster/Brentwood area. Where I live there is five Italian restaurants – from chains to small independent Italian family-run ones. The chains do good pizza but normally the pasta dishes are something you can create at home. The independent family-run restaurants have a very eighties feel to them with prawn cocktail for starters. Last night I went with friends to a local Italian restaurant in the Brentwood area and had mozzarella, tomato, avocado with a twig of basil (yes, it was like a mini basil plant on the plate) for starters followed by Risotto con Fungi which arrived slopped on a plate. It had too much cream added to it and whole peppercorns, which didn’t do anything to the dish. A sprinkling of paprika on the edge of plate tried to give it some class! A glass of wine and one beer added to this meal cost me £36! The main course alone was £9. All I can say is that I won’t be going there again – where is Gordon Ramsey when you need him!

Why is Italian food so expensive when I can buy a bag of pasta, tinned tomatoes, a basil plant and some garlic for around £2 or less. Most restaurants would charge around £7-8 for a main course of pasta. I’ve been to Italy and the food was nothing like what is served at Italian restaurants – the food tasted nicer and was a lot cheaper! The best Italian chain restaurant I’ve been to is Strada (my personal opinion) but as there are so many where I live that I go to others often and I’m always disappointed in the pasta dishes. I wonder if my cooking has improved so much that my own pasta dishes taste better than restaurants (I doubt it). No wonder so many tourists think the food in the UK is rubbish and expensive for what you get. Saying that the best pasta dish I’ve ever had is at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in Cornwall – it was yummy!


1 Response to “Italian restaurants in Essex”

  1. 1 calabriataste May 3, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Hi there,

    I can feel your pain, I’m Italian and I feel offended every time someone calls a plate of pasta Italian! Most of the food you find in this country is not really Italian cooking, besides, a lot of the so called Italian restaurants are not even owned by Italian people but my arabic, muslims, and alike….

    After a few years of being in this country and unable to find proper Italian food I decided to create my own import business of proper Southern Italian food, and since the I haven’t gone back to rubbish so called Italian food that you find in this country!!

    Check out my blog at or visit my website where you can see all the available products on the on-line shop.

    Good luck!

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