Welcome to View Bristol
sign in
Datebar start
The Essential Guide to Bristol
13 February 2009
Datebar end

San Carlo Restaurant

Venue Image
Venue Image
44 Corn Street,

(0117) 9226586 

The ViewBristol Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byLucy Duggan18/11/2008
In the middle of bustling Corn Street, San Carlo is probably the most distinctive Italian restaurant in the city.

The Venue
The right word to describe San Carlo is lavish - one look at the huge, gas flame torch above the door reveals the grandiose, bordering on gaudy, nature of this restaurant’s decor.

The spacious dining area is a bit like the set of an eighties movie, it’s festooned with electric blue borders, marble and glass. Despite its slightly dated appearance, it nevertheless works to create a clean and chic feeling ambience in which to eat.

They have a mezzanine level to deal with overspill on busier nights, but the seating at the front is much nicer with larger tables and more space.

The People
The atmosphere is quite a complex one. On one hand, it has a very Italian, grand and lively feel to it, but on the other, if you are under thirty and not wealthy-looking, the attitude of the staff, particularly the management, is chilly and at times downright hostile. Complain about anything here at your peril.

It has to be said though, the staff are efficient. You’ll never be left waiting for your order to be taken or for your food to arrive. On the contrary, the over-zealous all-Italian staff have a tendency to make you feel slightly harassed and that you ought to get a move on, eat up and go.

One thing to the staff’s credit is their typically continental child-friendly attitude, something lacking in so many places.

You will find a real mix of people dining here - families with kids, conspicuously wealthy designer-clad patrons and courting students.

The Food
This has to San Carlo’s saving grace and the reason people tolerate the moody staff - the food is absolutely incredible.

They have a regularly updated specials board and the full menu has great starters, is really varied and original (who’d of thought pasta seasoned with vodka could be so delicious?) and they do fantastic seafood - the seabass and monkfish in particular are excellent.

The presentation is another strong point. Eating here does feel like a special treat. The salads are not quite as good as the rest of the menu though, so vegetarians watch out.

Prices are multi-tiered, and they have 20 different types of pizza and pasta options, both at the affordable end of the scale. They cost around £8.50 but you can get one as cheap as £7.95. However, the lobster thermidore is positively prohibitive at £25.95, but it is a whole lobster and it is fresh. It would be easy to spend a fortune here, but if you are careful it can suit any pocket.

The Drink
A bottle of Peroni is only £3.10 and a glass of house wine is £3.80 and if you’re after a bottle it’ll be £15.95. You can also get a glass of house Champagne for £9.70 They do cocktails on request but they aren't part of their normal menu.

One small gripe is that you are very much discouraged from using the bar area for a pre-meal beverage, as apparently it’s just for show.

The Last Word
The food is definitely worth checking out, but you honestly have to go a long way to find ruder staff. Get on the wrong side of San Carlo and you're left with mixed feelings as to whether to return.
San Carlo Restaurant has been reviewed by 1 users
add a review

Latest from the Restaurant Forum

Somewhere Cheap <
30/10/2008 @ 11:03
Other Cities
Useful View Bristol Links
Site Links
W3C Standards compliancy certificate