Food: Europa Independent Italian, Bristol

After wandering all over Bristol and with a three hour performance of King Lear at the Old Vic Theatre ahead of us, Ad and I decided to have a hearty lunch to see us through the play and to dinner. 

Knowing we fancied our favourite (Italian) we walked past Europa on St Stephen's Street. A quaint restaurant with seating outside and an open front door with cheery staff working away, we headed in for their advertised lunch menu of starter and main for an impressive £6.50

Firstly, the staff were lovely and our server was very welcoming and clearly happy to be at work. After ordering a jug of water for me and an iced coke for Ad, we got down to the order of the day - the food! 

With the choice of salad or garlic bread, we ordered one of each to go half and half. With starters ordered, we chatted about our morning exploring the city and compared angled snazzy iPhone photos alongside other diners; friends catching up over lunch, working / meeting lunches and locals grabbing a bite before their afternoon of being back in the office. 

The tables have fresh flowers, wine glasses ( ideal for a cheeky afternoon vino ) and oils, inviting, traditional and uncluttered leaving plenty of arm and people room!

With plenty of space, Europa is one of those restaurants that could fit in more chairs and tables if they wanted to but would prefer diners to have personal space, arm and leg room and a little privacy. That said they do have the ability to make larger tables and have a cute section upstairs that would make a great party dining space with a handy bar.

Our hearty salad and garlic bread starter arrived and with two forks, we tucked in. The salad was crisp and fresh with mixed leaves, tomato chunks, green and black olives and slices of red onion. When served we had the option of adding a soup like sauce to the salad, but I fancied having the vinaigrette and oil as a dressing instead.

The garlic bread was flat, thin with a light and crispy edge with soft melted butter on top with garlic topping. So incredibly delicious. 

Saving just a small amount of bread and salad to accompany our mains, we realised when the mains arrived that our mains were large enough to stand as mains, without sides on their own! (See what I mean!?)

The Pizza had a rich tomato, typically Italian sauce with perfectly cooked mushrooms embedded within the cheese and sauce. The pizza was hard to cut (with my baby hands anyway) despite my best efforts with my pizza knife Ad had to lend a hand. Also worth adding is the fact  the traditional flat pizza had heart melting mozzarella bubbles, yummy!

We didn't split meals this time (although Ad helped finished mine!) because Ad was having salmon and very fresh salmon at that!  Baked chucks of pink fish in a creamy sauce weaved into a bed of tagliatelle with garnish and garnish sticks to aesthetically finish the dish and a sprinkle of black pepper and parmesan for good measure.

There was more food than expected for the exceptional price of 6.50 (you wouldn't get that in London !) and the quality and service was very impressive. The bill came to £15. 

Overall Europa was a lovely experience for Ad and I and our very satisfied taste buds! With great food, well presented traditional decor, great staff and clean toilets it's the whole package for a chilled lunch or a romantic dinner over wine.

We'll be back!

Discover more information about Europa here.

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