Still on a quest to find decent Italian restaurants in Bristol, we decided to try Filini, attached to the Radisson Blu Hotel on central Bristol’s Broad Quay. A modern restaurant rather than a ‘just like mama used to make’ type venue, we booked a table for a midweek three course meal…
As you’d probably expect, Filini does have a bit of a ‘hotel restaurant’ vibe. Situated on the first floor of the Radisson Blu, it’s a smart and sophisticated-looking venue, with large windows facing into the Centre and immaculately-laid – but very small – tables.
Despite having sections of the menu featuring pizza, pasta and meat and fish mains, Filini have done a good job of ensuring that there’s a decent amount of variety in their dishes but without the overwhelmingly long menus that you’ll find in many Italian restaurants. As you’d expect, the menu does feature some classics, such as lasagne and linguine carbonara, but there’s a wide range of more ‘interesting’ dishes to choose from. Prices may be a little higher than many Italian restaurants (starters £5 to £10, mains from around £9 to £24), but still reasonable for a restaurant of this type.
Laura went for a classic starter of buffalo mozzarella with plum tomatoes and basil (£7.50) – a generous and beautifully-presented portion, drizzled with olive oil and served topped with a rocket salad. No complaints here…but it’s a hard dish to get wrong 🙂
Having seen the king prawn and asparagus salad (£9.50) on the menu, my choice was a no-brainer. Once again, a beautifully presented dish…three large, succulent prawns accompanied by asparagus spears – still with a nice amount of bite, a side salad and an orange and mint dressing. Delicious, all in all…although I think I’d have enjoyed it even more without the mint.
For her main, Laura decided to have an antipasti platter instead of choosing from the main course menu. Her meat antipasti (£7.95 – also available for two to share for £13.95) was far larger than she was expecting! Bresaola, carpaccio of beef, Parma ham and vitello tonnato jostled for attention on her plate, alongside green beans, olives, salad and Parmesan shavings. Fantastic value at the price.
I chose from the Secondi menu rather than going for a pasta or pizza dish, opting for the breast of chicken with artichokes and salmoriglio sauce (£11.95). The chicken, with skin intact and served on the bone, was moist and tender, served on a bed of mashed potato topped with chunks of marinated artichoke and tomato alongside a smear of artichoke purée. A fantastic plate of food and a deceptively large portion! We struggled on through dessert, though…
…well, the cheeseboard, in Laura’s case! The selection of Italian cheeses (£5.95) consisted of generous servings of Parmesan, Gorgonzola and Ricotta, accompanied by crackers and dense, crystallised honey. A thumbs-up from Laura, whose only niggle was that she felt that ricotta was an odd choice for a cheese board.
Renouncing my normal choice of tiramisu, I decided on the fritelle di mele (£4.50): described on the menu as apple doughnuts served with vanilla cream or ice cream. As it turned out, I wasn’t given the choice, and the plate turned up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.
I’d have described my dessert more as fritters than doughnuts in all but the shape – rings of apple coated in batter and deep fried until crisp and golden. Once again, no scrimping on the portion sizes here, and a great balance between sweet and tart. An enjoyable end to the meal, but I must admit that I was defeated by the sheer quantity of food and had to leave part of my dessert…
I’d definitely be keen to head back to Filini and sample more of the menu, but I think it’s more of an ‘occasion’ restaurant than an everyday dining choice. Whether this is a subconscious belief because of the decor and apparent formality of the place I have no idea, but it’s certainly worth a visit. And if you’re a Tastecard holder, make sure you mention this when booking for a discount! Recommended.
Filini Italian Restaurant
Telephone:0117 934 9500
Address: Radisson Blu Hotel, Broad Quay, Bristol BS1 4BY