Italian inspiration

L’antica Locanda – York

I absolutely adore Italy! From the culture to the people and most of all…THE FOOD it is a lifestyle I admire and throw myself into fully when I am there. I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to eat in some wonderful restaurants both here and in Northern Italy and I must say the use of seasonal fresh ingredients does inspire a lot of the dishes I cook.

This weekend I went exploring the lovely sites of York and was advised to try an Italian restaurant called L’antica Locanda. The restaurant is on the cobbled streets of The Shambles, slap bang in the centre of York so be careful if you’re in heels, needless to say I wobbled about a bit and this was BEFORE wine! Behind the restaurant is the market and I had the chance to have a great nosy round in the morning looking at all the lovely fresh produce. The array of colourful vegetables and seafood in particular caught my eye and pretty much summed up my food choice for the evening then and there!

Scallops with ginger and leek
I am and will hopefully always be a seafood lover. From oily fish to shellfish to whitefish, you name it I’ll try it. With that in mind and knowledge of the offerings from trawling the market earlier I was hugely looking forward to dinner. The restaurant is as it says… cosy! We’d bagged a table by the window so we could gawp at passers by (don’t judge me for people watching I know you all love it) The décor was lovely and the background music very subtle which I loved. It made a change being able to carry out a conversation in a restaurant at a normal volume without having to yell across at each other.
King Prawns with rocket and cherry tomatoes
Between the pair of us I am pretty sure we sampled most of the seafood on offer! For starters we had, king prawns at £7.95 and the special of the day, scallops at £9.25. As far as starters go I did think this was pricey but then we did opt for seafood.
I was not disappointed! The prawns were butterflied and cooked so they were full of flavour, meaty and not chewy. The sauce was well seasoned and buttery with a lovely pepperiness from the rocket. The scallops were also cooked wonderfully, they were translucent inside and melted in your mouth with not a single taste of grit. They were served with sautéed leeks in a white wine sauce and a bit too much ginger if you ask me. Be aware though they do come with the roe if you’re squeamish! 

After such a positive start I had high hopes for my main. I truly believe you can tell a good chef by how well they prepare dishes with a range of meats or seafood in. Because different cuts have different cooking times it is an art to do it right and do it well. This being said, I narrowed it down to two choices, mixed seafood risotto or mixed seafood linguine. I asked the waiter his opinion and he said hands down the risotto so that was what I went for. Interestingly, it was the cheaper option at £11.25. I was pleasantly surprised at the value of the main, especially in comparison to the starters. The waiter was clearly advising on flavour and not profit…round of applause to the man!

Mixed seafood risotto

When the risotto came out it was vibrant and looked wonderful. It was clear to see a range of seafood, mussels, clams, octopus and tiny shrimp. The sauce was rich and packed with flavour and had just a little warmth from chilli rather than giving me an overwhelming urge to swill my mouth out with milk (it has happened in the past)! The restaurant included seafood both in and out of the shell which made eating it a bit easier although I did quite enjoy getting stuck in. The mussels were tender, clams sweet and the octopus soft and not in the least bit chewy. I was beyond happy with everything except the rice, it didn’t seem to have the starchiness of an Arborio and seemed to lack the creamy consistency I was expecting of a risotto. This didn’t detract from the flavour though and I still managed to polish it of haha!
All in all, it was a lovely evening in a comforting and rustic environment that reminded me of the warm spring evenings in Bussolengo : )

Published by Bea's Bites Online

Hi! I'm Bea, as well as being new to the world of blogging I have been a food teacher in secondary schools for four years. I live just outside Manchester and all its foodie offerings. I'll be posting all about travel, food I enjoy, whether it's at a restaurant, a recipe I've trialled or something I have knocked up myself. I will also add a few drinks here and there because let's face it, it's got to be done! I am lucky enough to have grown up with a variety of influences, my mum is from Zimbabwe, my dad is from Ghana and I grew up in a village in the North West, so food has always been a blend and balance of cultures for me. From being little, food has played a large part in our family, whether it be for celebrations, commiserations or comfort. I began helping out in the kitchen from a young age and was fortunate enough to be given the reins on occasion from about the age of 11. I love being in the kitchen and having the opportunity to create something to make others smile. Whether it be an autumnal main or a gooey dessert :) I have 3 bottomless pits I call brothers as well as a fiance and they are more than happy to try what I make and be extremely blunt so I welcome all comments : ) I am a total believer in happy eating. Food should put a smile on your face no matter if it is a weekday after work dinner or a special occasion. I love following recipes and do think it is sometimes a necessity but I also think that food should be personal and geared towards what you like and I hope this comes across in my blog. I hope you enjoy reading my posts, let me know if you stop by, it will definitely put a smile on my face! Please don't hesitate to get in touch, my email is: If you have any posts you'd like to see then please feel free to Email me, DM me on Instagram, Facebook or Tweet me and I'll do my best : ) I hope I'll get a chance to chat to you. Bea x

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