Restaurant review | Pitigliano, Southsea

In among a sea of Italian cuisine in Southsea, stands Pitigliano, a modest but serious competitor which offers a secret door to Italy via its position on a quiet street corner.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 4:15 pm
Pitigliano, Marmion Road, Southsea.

On this occasion the Dish Detective had an appetite for freshly-made, authentic food and after a last-minute booking cancellation for Pitigliano’s sister restaurant, Catalan Barcelona Tapas Bar just a few doors away on Marmion Road, DD and their companion were led here and consequently transported to an intimate Italian haven.

Welcomed warmly by an Italian waitress and told to pick any seat that suited us as, on a quiet Tuesday evening, the restaurant had hit what can be assumed to be a relatively common lull. We chose a table of four for just the two of us, as if the abundant throw cushions and blush coloured flora suspended from the ceiling wasn’t enough to make our outing seem decadent.

Having had no peek at the menu before arrival because the website was not displaying one, meant my companion and I were not able to pull our usual trick of scouring the selection and having a pre-established answer to the question ‘Are you ready to order?’ No, this time we were getting our first look at the menu of carefully selected dishes, an experience lost in a world of barcode menus and ordering on your phone.

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The pasta main course at Pitigliano, Marmion Road.

While the food selection was missing any obvious indications as to which choices were vegetarian, ingredients were listed and there was a fair selection, although none for vegan visitors. The authenticity of this venue, however, is clearly its unique selling point and our attentive server was keen to help and provide recommendations.

I started with a simple Italian classic, Bruschetta Tomatoes (£6.95) which was light, presented beautifully and packed full of flavour. My companion chose the Crisp and Tender Calamari (£6.95), a generous portion with a side of chilli jam, the perfect touch to complement the savoury crumb of the calamari’s batter.

After a slightly misguided choice regarding the degree of heat, I requested the pasta Tagliatelle Mari & Monti, king prawns with wild mushrooms in a light spicy tomato sauce (£12.95), and my companion the Chicken pizza comprising shredded chicken, red onion, rosemary and mozzarella (£12.95).

Despite several mops to the brow in an attempt to subdue the effects of the fiery sauce, I can say having ordered many different variations of this meal in chains such as Bella Italia and Zizzi this was the very best. I would have gladly repeated the experience as soon as the last mouthful was taken, the portion size was generous and flavours unmatched.

Accompanied by a glass of pinot grigio Valdadige (£8.50) which was crisp, full and sweet with a top of lemonade, my taste buds were truly satisfied.

My companion, although suffering from a bad case of food envy, could not fault their dish either, which they enjoyed alongside a bacardi and coke (£8.95).

Following a check-back from the waitress in which she questioned how I had handled her recommendation of heat and apologised profusely for possibly misleading me, I assured her that spice is relative to each individual and my choice would not have differed regardless, as the flavour and quality of the dish outweighed all other elements.

Despite being utterly stuffed, we share the popular opinion that there is indeed a separate part of the stomach reserved solely for dessert and managed to make enough room to share a Belgian Chocolate Brownie (£7). This comes with a dollop of tasty vanilla bean ice cream and is, again, presented attractively with enticing drizzles of chocolate sauce.

Pitigliano, quiet and understated, is an absolute find. Serving freshly-made cuisine which, when considering the quality of the decor, ingredients and service, is overwhelmingly good value.

RATINGS (out of five)

PITIGLIANO, MARMION ROAD, SOUTHSEA

Food: 5

Value: 5

Ambience: 4

Child-friendly: 3

Tel: (023) 9286 2660

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

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