SAN CARLO, 42 King Street West, Manchester, M3 2WY, T: 0161 834 6226
RATINGS: Food 4, Ambience 4.5, Drink Selection 4, Service 4.5, Toilets 4, Website 3.5, Total: 24.5/30
THERE is a buzz about San Carlo. It has nothing to do with the celebrity pictures of footballers, WAGS, racing drivers and politicians which are everywhere, even on the stairs down to the loo. It has everything to do with atmosphere. If you are looking for a quiet Italian then think again. San Carlo, which is part of a chain, is big, noisy and busy, even on a wet, midweek night. However, it is comfortable. The service is slick and the menu is appreciated by those who want to savour fine food. The deal, however, comes at a price. The San Carlo story began in 1992 in Birmingham when Carlo Distefano opened his first restaurant. It is easy to see why they have spread to cities including Bristol, Leicester, Liverpool and Leeds. Our starters were interesting without being memorable. Pete and David shared the antipasto selection and I plumped for mussels in an aromatic tomato, garlic and basil sauce. For main. Pete felt his pizza was average but my eye-catching rack of lamb on a bed of mint sauce with sauté potatoes and bacon was superb. The cauliflower accompaniment was, unfortunately, bland. David’s halibut, new potatoes with a hint of mint, and spinach with a touch of chilli, was appreciated. And, for pudding, David indulged. Chocolate ice cream flamed. It was spectacular.