Food review: The Italian Connection on Cold Bath Road

Chocolate truffle cake at The Italian Connection.
Chocolate truffle cake at The Italian Connection.

When you’re making that critical choice of where to eat out, you ideally want to find somewhere you can feel totally at home.

In a world of lavish eateries where style often goes before substance, it’s refreshing to discover a place where you can choose food with confidence and relax without being baffled by a needlessly over-complicated menu.

Being able to do that puts you immediately at ease and means the only thing you have to think about is immersing yourself in conversation and enjoying your experience of the restaurant.

The Italian Connection on Cold Bath Road is one of those places - the food is fantastic, but what gives it such an edge over a lot of other places is the incredible warmth and friendliness of its staff, and its easy to digest menu.

On a Saturday night the restaurant is full of families gathered around the dinner table like they would be at home, with children picking out familiar favourites they have come to love over their weekly visits.

It’s a place where the waiters know their regulars very well and gently ask how someone dear to them is keeping.

It’s also a place where the staff will go above and beyond to make sure you are having the perfect evening. No request is too small or large. “No asparagus with your pasta? No problem. Can we replace that with another vegetable for you?” - Just taking it out would be fine, but they show just that bit more thought which other places can often lack.

You don’t feel rushed, either. All too often nowadays you can go to a restaurant and feel a bit pressured to eat at a ‘normal’ pace and vacate your table for the next booking, but here you feel so welcome and relaxed that you forget the time.

Even when they’re busy they don’t press you or gently hint about whether you would like to order your next course or pay the bill, you can just chat to old friends with your surroundings as a cosy backdrop.

From pasta dishes to deliciously fresh salads, the menu has a wide range of dishes for the whole family. And if you go there every week and fancy a change from what you usually go for, the specials board has some good options to mix things up a little.

If you are looking for somewhere to have a big family get together or a catch-up with old friends, this might just be the place for you.