San Marco, Filey: Decisions, decisions – lots of choice on great menu

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Bellisimo – that’s the verdict on the food served at San Marco – an Italian restaurant in Filey offering great food and a warm welcome.

My friend Jan and I went early evening to the ristorante on Murray Street – but enjoying fine food – and plenty of it – and a bottle of a robust house red were still sitting at our table at 9pm.

By this time a couple who always sat at this particular window seat wanted their usual table – there was no fuss at asking us to leave or making us feel like we had out-stayed our welcome.

A polite request was made for us to move and a glass of wine offered on the house for us to change tables.

In fact we felt guilty at the proffered hospitality – though not guilty enought to turn down free vino. It was a compliment to the warmth of the welcome and friendly service that we felt able to stay on.

One of the reasons we had lingered so long was the range of choice – pasta, pizzas, specials, steaks, lamb, chicken, pork and fish – were all on the menu.

Dozens of starters are offered hot and cold – they range from calamari to pancakes on the hot range.

After deliberating over prawn c0cktail, pate, smoked salmon or tomato salad – I order melon and parma ham (£6.90) and Jan chose the antipasto (£6.90) and a garlic bread tomato to share (£4.90).

Both dishes, combined with the pizza-like bread, would have served as a main course. They were delishes and plentiful.

If the starters menu offered a difficult choice – then the mains were even tougher. There are more than 50 dishes to choose from – so it is worth taking time to consider and asking the staff what is recommended.

Pasta-wise there is almost as many vegetarian options as there are meat and fish dishes. They range from the hot and spicy to creamy and cool.

There are 20 different pizzas – again with plenty of veggy choice – to tempt the tastebuds and steaks which come with a choice of sauces.

Jan went for pollo cacciatora – chicken breast with mushrooms, onions, peppers, olives and tomato (£13.90). It was hot and delicious.

The beef stroganoff – strips of fillet steak with mushrooms, red wine and paprika on a bed of rice – was creamy and a touch of heat (£19.90). It was obvious the best cut of beef had to been chosen by the way the meat was melt-in-the-mouth tender.

Both dishes were served with sides of salad – crisp and fresh – and chunky chips.

The portions are superlative – and invite diners to take their time, savour and enjoy.

There is an extensive dessert menu – if you have room.

The restaurant runs a happy hour from 5pm to 6pm – and is open six days a week, closed on Mondays.

The ambience is warm and friendly with a true ristorante feel and the service from the second you walk through the door is perfect.

Our bill came to just over £60 which included wine. It was a good price when the portions were taken into consideration.

Filey, which also boasts Bella Italia, is blessed to have San Marco, too.

It is a place to go to again and again with always something new to try.

Ratings out of ten: Food 8; menu choice 8; service 8; decor 8; ambience 8; overall 8.