San Marco

Contact: 114 Far Gosford Street, Coventry, CV1 5EA
Tel: 024 7663 4776
Full restaurant guide

Best bit: The smell of freshly cooked mussels
Worst bit: The prices

"San Marco is the Italian's Italian", a friend had told me so I was expecting good things.
I'd canvassed opinions at work to find the best Italian restaurant in Coventry, and San Marco got some glowing reviews so I booked a table for a weekend double date.
The moment the four of us stepped through the door we were hit by the smell of freshly cooked mussels. Good start!
Ushered to the waiting area by a waiter, I was doing my best not to drool.
Unfortunately what followed was 30 minutes of torture, as we sat being tantalisingly teased by sumptuous smells from the kitchen while the waiters seemed to completely forget about us (strange as the restaurant wasn't half full).
After 15 minutes I made a move to get the menus myself. And after a further 10 minutes we were finally asked for our drinks order.
There was some uncomfortable shifting in our seats as we opened our menus and saw the prices.
While the mains prices started at around £12, the majority of dishes carried a hefty £18 tag, with several others at £22.
Half an hour after arriving we were finally greeted with our bottle of red and our table.
My partner ordered the lasagne which he described as 'alright'.
We all agreed the food was good - it wasn't anything earth-moving but it was simple, nicely flavoured, good Italian nosh.
More memorable was the service and perhaps here is where the "Italian's Italian" title has come from.
Our waiters - all men with strong Italian accents and none a day younger than 50 - rapidly recited the specials from memory, rushed briskly around the table, and quickly corrected our Italian pronunciation.
Usually I'd find their banter charming, but after feeling we'd been forgotten and paying a lot for food that was good but not great, it ended up feeling just a bit... rude.
Maybe my party was just too British for such an Italian Italian.

Alex Jackson, October 3, 2008

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