Saturday, 29 January 2011

Florio's Pizzeria, Malton, North Yorkshire

Over Christmas on a visit to North Yorkshire we had an evening out with a friend to meet her new partner and reason for a forthcoming move to Australia.

We decided to go to perhaps the most popular restaurant in town, Florio's, after a couple of drinks at Suddaby's.

Whenever visiting Malton, I try to get to Florio's. The restaurant is always busy, full of couples, families, and parties. During a night there you are pretty much guaranteed to here the background music change to "Happy Birthday" and the whole restaurant joining in the singing, while a large desert of some nature complete with sparklers is carried across to the party table. My first visit there in fact was for a friend's birthday, and that was rather more years ago than I would like to mention as I'm sure it was for a 10th birthday party, or similar.

The menu has a large choice of pasta, pizza and meat and fish dishes as well as a generous selection of specials displayed on boards. Before my gluten/wheat free time I adored their baked pasta dish of Penne Alla Sbirraglia, only one time straying to try their lobster ravioli. And in fact this baked pasta was almost ordered by my friend. The staff in the restaurant are/speak Italian, and the kitchen is open, allowing you to see the fact that the pizzas are handmade, as the chefs toss the dough with flare! The food here seems to be consistently good, generous in size, and all made from scratch - making it far easier to cope when people like me come along asking for no gluten/wheat.

I ordered the mussels in a cream sauce from the specials board for a starter while the rest of the table shared a Rustica bread. This was a large pizzas-sized garlic bread with a tomato and herb sauce and anchovies and capers. If you weren't to know, you may order a garlic bread for one as a starter, but clearly, this would work for three! I had told the waitress about gluten/wheat free, and she instantly understood, saying that no bechamel would be added to anything I ordered and that most choices (outside of the pizza and pasta, obviously) would be fine for me.

The mussels were lovely. Very large and juicy, and the sauce beautiful. I did actually want to drink it from the bowl. The Rustica bread went down well too, delivering the right amount of saltiness to satisfy the cravings.

My main - to carry on the salty theme was Pork Puttanesca. Two generous pork steaks covered in a tomato sauce with capers and olives. This came served with rosemary and garlic potatoes and I chose the option of a side salad. The meal was very nice but there was no way I could finish it.

Tim ordered his normal for Italian restaurants of spicy meatballs. I think that is a rule. When meatballs in a spicy sauce are on the menu in whatever format, they have to be ordered.

We decided against desert as we simply had no more room, but the range on offer always includes fresh fruit and Italian ice cream as well as other specials. The bill came to around £30 per couple including a bottle of wine (our first bottle had been paid for by a friend who didn't eat with us).

Florio's is definitely recommended, and I'm sure we'll continue to visit every time we're in Malton. Just make sure you're very hungry before you go!

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