Eat Out: A nostalgic trip down an Italian Lane at Vittorio’s, Newport Wales

Vittorio’s brings back so many happy memories from growing up in Wales and when I went back there recently for dinner I’m happy to report that not a thing has changed.  The food is still absolutely delicious, the restaurant is authentically Italian and the staff make you feel like you have known them for years they are so friendly – my boyfriend’s exact words on his first ever visit here!  I enjoyed this meal for a whole host of reasons and so much so I’ve chosen it for my 30th celebrations at the end of the year.

Mum’s favourite cuisine has always been Italian and she makes a pretty impressive lasagne to accompany that passion, but what it did mean growing up was that every birthday or family occasion we’d usually end up in one of the many family run restaurants in Newport. Some of you may remember them or perhaps even go to those that are still open; Gambarini’s, Villa Dino or Chez Giovanni? But Vittorio’s was always our families favourite and we found ourselves back there time and time again.  The menu is still  very similar to when I was last there which was at least 10 years ago and Anna, the original owners daughter, now runs the restaurant with the same passion and warm personality as her father.

Choosing from a menu of so many Italian classics is hard, I literally wanted to remain in this nostalgic place I found myself in and try everything. Opting for Polpette Della Nonna, Vittorio’s famous meatballs, to start I was praying they would be as good as they used to be.  Two large meatballs arrived perfectly seasoned, shaped and tender about 15-20 minutes after we ordered.  The meatballs had all the tell tale signs of being slow cooked thanks to the texture and flavour the meat still had. The accompanying tomato based sauce was thick and tangy and boasted a good amount of garlic coming through. They were every bit as good as I remembered, why oh why didn’t I order them as my main … and then my main arrived and I remembered exactly why I hadn’t. I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever had Diana sauce other than here and I’m not sure I’d want to.  My main of Grilled 8oz fillet steak topped with Diana sauce and served with vegetables and potatoes was even better than the starter.  The cut of meat was lean and juicy thanks to being perfectly cooked medium-rare and the Diana sauce stole the show.  Diana sauce is a red wine sauce with onions, mushrooms and flambéed in brandy  and if I’m honest I’m not entirely sure how authentically Italian it is, but it is very well known at Vittorio’s and I’d most definitely recommend.

I also got to try the Minestrone Soup to start and Lasagne as a main thanks to my boyfriend and family giving me a taste of their meals.  Both traditional classics the soup was packed full of vegetables swimming in a hot salty broth. Lasagne is always a good way to determine how decent an Italian restaurant is in my opinion and as I’m sure you’ve already gathered from my rave review this dish didn’t disappoint either.  Layers and layers of thin pasta sheets with mince meat filling and passatta is more than enough to keep me happy.

After two courses I really didn’t think I could find room for dessert and then we were told they had Nutella Cheesecake.  Never one to turn down Nutella three of us ordered the same with my boyfriend ordering White Chocolate Profiteroles, we awaited their arrival where we’d find our self in a sugary coma very shortly.  I don’t think any of us spoke until our plates were clean! There were a few mmm’s and argh’s and nods of approval but that was it for about 5 minutes.  The cheesecake had a thicker biscuit base than you’d usually get but it balanced and complimented the richness of the Nutella perfectly and certainly gave me inspiration to try this out at home first (coming soon!).  The profiteroles were creamy rich with a light milk chocolate cream filling served as a mini tower on a chocolate sauced plate.

Almost 30 years from my first visit here at only a few months old the restaurant has expanded in size without losing it’s true family friendly personality. If you live in the area and haven’t yet been I’d almost say you’re committing a crime so get there soon before the food police catch you 😉

Vittorio’s, 113 Stow Hill, Newport, South Wales NP20 4ED

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