Lancaster Lunch: Italian

Can these two restaurants pas-ta test?

Pizza at Marco's by Sarah Pennington

Yes, we’re back. This time popping a bit of the Mediterranean sunshine back into the cold Northern climate of Lancashire. It’s time to have a gander at some of the Italian places that Lancaster has to offer. In a twist of events, pizza is one of the very few foods that I dislike. (I know, I know. It’s a melted cheese thing.) So, to prevent any pizza induced bias, I have yet again called upon my top team of food reviewers and put them on the case. They’ve been inhaling margheritas and slurping spaghetti like nobody’s business, all for the benefit of you and your eating. (You can thank us later.)

Pizza Margherita
A popular chain restaurant located just off the ring road in the city centre. Classic food, with prices to match.

Courtesy of p_margherita via Instagram

“The best way I can describe Pizza Margherita is like a posh Bella Italia or equivalent chain. Its food is rather lovely, with a decent pizza range and some options for other Italian dishes like pasta, and it has a classy atmosphere for a meal out with friends or family.
It is quite pricey for what you get food wise, but it aims to make up for this in atmosphere and customer service quality. Saying this, I think it’s menu, while good, is overdue a switch around. It’s starting to lose its edge as a classy independent restaurant by not offering anything in the way of new or exciting menu choices. I’d recommend it for somewhere to take your parents when they come to visit, but my visit didn’t leave me excited for another trip there.”

Ruth Walbank

“I’m torn. On the one hand the staff were really friendly, I enjoyed the place’s appearance and the overall atmosphere was rather nice. On the other, I can’t be as complimentary towards the food itself…
It started well enough; the restaurant does offer vegan-friendly cheese for their pizzas, which was great to see (although they could do with pointing that out on their menu), but unfortunately said cheese left a lot to be desired. It might sound really picky to get so hung up over one ingredient, but it left a very literal bad taste in my mouth. The rest of the meal was alright; nothing spectacular, but it was nice enough.
Overall Pizza Margherita wasn’t for me, I have to say. Then again, my experience was a bit skewed; but still, I’d say there are better Italian restaurants out there, whether you subscribe to a diet like me or not.”

Isaac Rolfe

“There are various types of pizza place, ranging from the expensive and classy, to the

Pizza Margherita Dessert by Ruth Walbank

cheap and undeniably convenient. Pizza Margherita places itself in the middle of this range; a nice environment, quick service and excellent food.
They have made good use of space; despite all the tables being clustered together, they didn’t manage to become a hinderance. I still felt like I and my friends were able to talk without bothering any of the other customers. Dessert was strong and agreeable; just as agreeable as the price. For a meal out, Pizza Margherita certainly delivers an enjoyable experience.”

Benjamin O’Rourke

A family friendly Italian situated on North Street Lancaster. Claims to be Lancaster’s best Italian restaurant.

Marco’s Interior by Sarah Pennington

“On the face of it, Marco’s restaurant looks stylish and modern. You walk in and the waiting area is scattered with leather couches, and on your left is the bar. We were seated at a table with mood lighting (which in all honesty, is a bit dark when you’re with friends/family) and a small candle and then waited a good 10 minutes for our food order to be taken. They don’t have an allergen menu, so I had to go up and ask before ordering what my options were. I got the raw Romana with a side of homemade chips. One thing I can say is that Marco’s are very generous with their seasoning, shame they don’t share the same generosity for the cooking time. I always thought you could never go wrong with an Italian, turns out I was very, very wrong.”

Sarah Pennington

“Oh, deary me, I certainly had hopes for Marco’s after hearing good things about it from friends. However, my experience was not a particularly pleasant one. Upon arriving, my expectations grew as the dining area had a calming ambience and an element of style about it. Unfortunately, that is where the positives end. The annoyingly slow service complimented the poorly executed food.
My starter was called “Fritto Misto” which composed of various pieces of seafood deep fried in batter; despite the fact the seafood was fresh, it was disappointingly under-seasoned and served with a completely unnecessary, boring side salad. My main was Seabass served with a random assortment of vegetables, which was once again extremely under-seasoned – in contrast to my friend’s starter and main which were both overloaded with a ridiculous amount of chilli drowning out any other flavour. We decided not to stay for pudding.”

Joe Thomas

“Uncooked, unseasoned and chewy: all themes shared in the food my friends and I ordered from Marco’s Italian restaurant.
Having high expectations from seeing good reviews on websites such as Trip Advisor, alongside recommendations from fellow peers, I felt sheer disappointment when it came to the quality of the food. The presentation was fair, but the taste of the meals… merely bland. I ordered the linguine Bolognese, but sadly the mincemeat was utterly tasteless due to lack of seasoning, although, the pasta was at an acceptable standard.
Customer service was mediocre, not exceptional; idle waiting staff appeared to walk past us numerous times. Overall, Marco’s is a highly overrated restaurant, as the food quality does not match its reputation. Don’t be fooled by the long queues outside!”

Michael Hoi Ki Chan