“ 1 Rickergate, Carlisle, CA3 8XP. Tel: +44 1228 599 007 „
For my Mother's birthday I bought a ticket for her to see Cabaret, the live tour. Of course she couldn't go alone, so I bought myself one too. We decided to make a real night of it by eating out first. Adriano's in Carlisle was the perfect choice being just 2 minutes away from the venue. My mother suggested this restaurant, I hadn't been before but she had on a couple of occasions and had been impressed. I was happy to go along with her recommendation as she usually chooses well, and she didn't let me down on this occasion either. Adriono's describe themselves as being Carlisle's premier Italian restaurant...I'm now inclined to agree. Adriano's is situated in what at first may seem an unusual and unlikely position for a Restaurant. It's just out of the town centre and the main restaurant/pub area, opposite the not very attractive civic centre and next door to the magistrate's court. It's also the only restaurant within walking distance of The Sands Centre leisure centre and theatre, and so is actually ideally placed for daytime and evening diners working or visiting the theatre in this area. Entering the restaurant I was immediately taken aback by the contrast of the dark forbidding exterior and the airy, serene and pleasant interior. The walls are a distressed terracotta effect and the floor is covered in shiny white tiles. In the centre of the restaurant there is a glass dome in the ceiling with painted cherubs smiling from the border around it. All very renaissance! Statues and art work on the walls also added to the Italian ambiance and with a nice bit of greenery it has a distinct outdoor Mediterranean feel. It's not as ostentatious as it sounds though, and is, in fact, very tasteful. The only décor I wasn't sure about were the blue twinkly lights strung about here and there. At first it created a nice twilight atmosphere, but then my eyes started to feel a little strained by them. We were met at the door and shown quickly to our seat. It was clear that booking a table had been a good idea, as even at just 6pm the restaurant was almost full. Our wrought iron table with black marble slab on the top was underneath the glass dome and I noticed the tables where well spaced and we felt very comfortable. We were given menus by another young waiter and ordered a bottle of wine which arrived with a couple of minutes. The menu is huge and a little overwhelming as there is just so much choice. It is separated into Cold/Hot starters, Main courses, Pasta, Pizzas and Desserts. The pricing is a little on the pricey side, especially in the main course section with steak or salmon dishes costing between £15-£20. We both decided to order a starter of Bruschetta and then each chose a pasta dish from the happy hour menu, available between 11.30am and 1pm and 5pm and 6.30pm. The bruschetta arrived very quickly and was served on a tasteful square plate and was very well presented. You don't get much but it was absolutely beautiful, the tomatoes where so fresh. I love bruschetta and it is my usual choice of starter in Italian restaurants but I this was by far the best I have ever had. At £5.95 it seems expensive, but I felt it was worth every penny. Our plates where cleared away quickly and our mains were presented 10 minutes later, again quickly and efficiently. My Mother chose cannelloni and I chose a Fusilli with salmon and creamy tomato sauce. My mum enjoyed hers very much and had no complaints, neither did I. It was a good size serving considering it was from the happy hour menu and only cost £5.95, the same as the starter. The pasta was cooked to perfection, the sauce thick and tasty and there was plenty of salmon in the dish. After our main course we toyed with the idea of ordering desserts, but decided against it. There is quite a large sorbet selection, but neither of us is particularly fond of very cold desserts! Tiramisu or fudge cake was also available, but instead we opted for a calypso coffee each. This is the only part of the meal I was slightly disappointed in as the coffee was not as hot as I would have liked it and not presented as well as it could have been. I was a bit disappointed not to get a little chocolate or Italian biscuit as well. I was impressed by the overall cleanliness of the restaurant too. Everything was clean and shiny, but the warm décor stops it being sterile. The marble, stone and tile blend well with the soft terracotta colours and it really does feel as if you could be outside in Italy. There is a lounge area with leather couches and bar area, however we didn't make use of these, as we needed to leave when we finished our meal. I did pop to the loos and the black marble and white tile was continued in here and were absolutely immaculate! We were brought the bill very quickly after finishing and were pleased with the total cost of just under £40. This seems a very reasonable price for the high quality food we were served. I have eaten at many Italian restaurants, and this is definitely the best and most pleasant in Carlisle. The food was fresh, well cooked, presented nicely and most of all, delicious. The waiting staff were quick and efficient. I liked how they where unobtrusive to our meal, not bothering us every five minutes to ask if everything was ok or we wanted anything else, but were visible at all times incase you did. They were polite without being fawning, which I personally hate, and I have no complaints about any of the service we received. I would recommend Adriano's without hesitation, particularly to those visiting the theatre. I would advise booking in advance on an evening however, especially if there is a big show on as other people seem to use it for pre theatre dining too! Visit http://www.adrianoristorante.co.uk/index.html for booking information and menu's.