San Carlo, Manchester

It is undeniably the celebrity hot spot in Manchester, all the framed pictures in the bar area lay testament to it. Rihanna, Ronaldo, a Beckham or two, they’ve all eaten here, so you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s massively expensive and impossible to get into. It maybe on the pricier end of the Manchester scene but certainly is not the most expensive and as for getting a table, they will do their best to get you sorted.

Why is this? Because in my opinion, San Carlo’s customer service is the best in the city. It doesn’t matter if you’re an A lister with vast entourage or getting a quick bite after Christmas shopping, everyone gets the same cheery, non-hurried experience.

The menu is intimidatingly vast and if, like me, you find choice a burden you have to employ some seriously good elimination skills to finally decide.

For a starter I went for prawn diavolo and definitely won the prize for best choice of starter. It was heaven in a bowl, massive prawns in a creamy chilli sauce. It was so good and just the right sized portion to make your taste buds jump alive for the next course without being anywhere near full.

Strangely enough I’ve never had rack of lamb before so for main, I thought I’d give it a try and I loved it. It was perfectly cooked and the meat just fell off the bone. It was really delicious. In fact, my mouth is watering typing this.

Even though I was pretty full, I gave a dessert a go, just to provide a fully rounded review you understand. I went for a strawberry and Italian meringue affair which was OK if a little boring. It didn’t match the previous two courses if I’m honest and I probably should have quit but I do tend to suffer for my art.

Other than that, the only gripe I have is the acoustics in the place. Years ago, they were so bad that you could barely hear the person next to you speak, then they fixed it with a clever ceiling panel system and lo, I could hear my companions. Now they appear to have stuck Christmas decorations all over them and we’re back to nodding and smiling sweetly and making a mental note to ask what they were saying when we get home.

But to be fair, when you’re eating food as good as that who wants to be disturbed by conversation?

San Carlo seem to be taking over Manchester with two other properties and a pizza place in the offing but long may it continue I say. It is always an experience going there, especially if you want a touch of glamour to your meal.



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