Promising start for new Italian on the block

La Cantina Cafe Scarborough'Easting out Feature'PA1533-2
La Cantina Cafe Scarborough'Easting out Feature'PA1533-2

For anybody who lives in this town, Florios is as synonymous with Scarborough as a night on the lash watching Danny Wilde.

And after nearly 30 years of happy hours and happy birthdays, it appears the good people behind that red sauce have some new competition for the Italian crown.

La Cantina started as a shop in Aberdeen Walk selling the ingredients for the real taste of Italy, and just over a year ago it opened up as a cafe-cum-restaurant in Huntriss Row.

It isn’t the posh nosh of some others, but it pleasingly lacks hustle and bustle – and queues.

The first thing that strikes you about La Cantina is that it’s just a lovely, lovely little eatery, the sort of place you could imagine seeing the same smiling families tucking into the same meals every Saturday night.

It’s not been open that long, but while it’s very much early doors for the quaint cafe and grill, our first course was almost heading for them.

We opted for a mixed antipasti platter. I wasn’t a fan.

The bread wasn’t like anything I’d had before, a crispy sort of cracker. While I’m sure it’s traditional, there’s probably a good reason I’ve never seen it on my plate before.

In fairness, a couple of cuts were very good. One peppery ham was so good it almost made up for the failings of its neighbours.

But at its worst, some of the meat tasted like Billy Bear pork, and while the seven-year-old me would have lapped that 
up, in 2015 my boat was not floated.

The dish also came with olives, which, to my partner’s delight, there were an abundance of. I hate them, but she thought they were nice enough, and to be fair while the quality was lacking I couldn’t knock the size of it.

The mains were, thankfully, much better.

My main of boar ravioli was a cut above.

I’d never had boar before, but it was as rich as I’d expected and the taste has lingered with me since.

It was drenched in a thick, hearty ragu and was as meaty as a dish with two different kinds of red meat should be, although if I was to be critical, I thought the pasta was probably a tad too soft.

My partner’s prawns and tagliatelle were tasty, although she admitted she was a wee bit disappointed by the size of the prawns.

But the portion of the meal itself was generous and it was served in a well seasoned, moreish sauce.

Everything else was spot on at La Cantina.

The wine was delicious, the restaurant looked superb and the menu choice was plentiful.

The service, probably 
the highlight, was beyond 

Our waitress, who I recognised from Florios, was attentive, chatty, kind and just couldn’t do enough despite it being a Friday night.

With a shared bottle of wine, you are looking at about £20 a head at La Cantina and, overall, there’s definitely room for improvement, but it’s doing a lot right.

But after chippies, Italian restaurants are probably what Scarborough does best in terms of food and it probably needs to do a bit more in order to stand out – but the potential’s very much there.

Overall Rating: 7