Fans of Italian food are spoilt for choice in Scarborough.
The town has an array of eateries offering various degrees of the Italian experience, so how does the bambino on the block, Bella Ciao, fit into the picture?
This restaurant, located opposite the Town Hall, has had a few guises over the years.
The newest incarnation has been open for a few weeks now and has been sharing its new menu the modern way – on Facebook.
I was intrigued to see how it would differ from its predecessors and from other restaurants in town.
The first thing we noticed was the warm, friendly welcome. Despite the venue being very quiet during our midweek visit, we were made to feel at home straight away.
The decor is classy but simple – and feels very authentic.
As I sipped an Aperol spritz and pored over the menu I felt like I was in a “proper” Italian restaurant, not a themed one.
The menu is extensive, offering all you would expect, from pizza to pasta, carne to calzone and everything in between.
We shared a cheese garlic bread to start (£4.95), which was thin, crisp and delicious, with a generous topping of garlic and mozzarella.
There were lots of other options, such as bruschette with various toppings, garlic prawns, fried squid and parma ham with melon.
As far as main courses went, we were again spoiled for choice, with a large selection of classic Italian dishes.
The specials board also listed some tempting options, such as linguine with prawns and mushroom (£9.90), tagliatelle with fillet steak and tomato (£9.90) and tagliatelle with duck (£10.50).
We opted for cannelloni di ricotta (£9.90) and calzone ripieno (£9.90), a folded pizza filled with tomato, ham and spicy sausage.
The calzone was a sizable offering and was tackled with gusto. My spinach and ricotta pasta dish was smaller in size, but proved very filling.
It was a lovely mixture of creamy ricotta filling, stringy mozzarella on top and a tangy, fresh-tasting tomato sauce.
I felt throughout the meal that quality ingredients had been used and the food had been prepared with attention to detail.
And so to desserts – and for this part of the review I need to engage my memory as the menu is not written down.
But this, I think, is always a good sign as it means the dishes are changed regularly and based on the best, freshest ingredients.
The list featured panna cotta, Italian apple cake, apricot tarts, ice cream and Ferrero Rocher cheesecake (£4.90).
There were more, but my brain switched off after the cheesecake was mentioned.
And so it arrived, with an extra scoop of ice cream, and it proved a naughty but nice end to the meal. My only quibble was that it was tricky to share, as it was served in a glass dish rather than on a plate, but this is a minor point. And maybe a bonus for those who don’t really want to share!
We really enjoyed our visit and would go again on a weekend to see how the atmosphere differs from midweek.
The meal came to £52.50 with a couple of amarettos and a Baileys each to round it off.
Rating: 8 out of 10