Where to go, after watching Forbidden Planet at FACT, for supper? Not so very long ago the top half of Bold Street was a bit of ghost town, barring the odd Indian or Chinese restaurant and a walk down towards town or across to Duke Street would have beckoned.

But the answer seemed fairly obvious having left FACT by the front door; the Italian Club opposite always looks tempting and makes a good cup of coffee. It has a real ring of authenticity about it and looked warm and appealing on a chilly weekday night.

It wasn’t warm as it happened, but the staff did everything they could to seat us away from the draughts and even turned some mobile heaters on us. It was still a bit nippy – the new smart, high-ceilinged extension doesn’t have any radiators – but it was extremely cold out and it constituted a warm welcome.

The Italian Club looks lovely. It feels jolly and relaxed and the service is laid back and friendly. A deli of superb-looking Mediterranean ingredients is laid out at the front of the cafe, which can also cater for your pasta, biscotti and San Pellegrino (so bitter, yet so sweet) needs. The new extension at the back is simple and elegant; a vast map of the Med on the wall and vaulted ceiling visible.

The Italian Club’s menu is reassuringly simple. Rearrange fresh veg, olives, mozzarella, fish, paninis, pasta, pizza, olive oil and bread and you could probably make most of the items on the menu. This just seems right.

We were tempted by Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina (£7.50) – gnocchi with tomato sauce and cheese – a parmigiana (£7.95) and a couple of the burgers, which looked alarmingly enormous, the Super Sandwich (£8.95) layering chicken, sausage, bacon, egg mayo, tomato and lettuce would have defeated us, we were sure.

We went for the Insalata Di Mare starter (£6.95) with a Bruschetta Al Pomodoro (£3.95) – hardly winter fare but very tempting if the ingredients were good. And they were – the calamari, octopus, mussels, prawns and clams were fresh and dressed in olive oil and garlic on a bed of leaves. Simple, light and very tasty, though perhaps a little tart and a little oily.

Our dining partner had a Valterino pizza – goat’s cheese, pesto and sundried tomato. A thin crust and a tasty topping were good, but at a tenner you’re really reaching the limit of what you can charge for a pizza. Its high cost seemed a little odd considering the ample – and cheaper – seafood salad.

A couple of Bira Moretti brought the price to £26, which is reasonable. We’re always on the look-out for inexpensive foody places in town, away from the madding crowd of Liverpool One and its chains, and The Italian Club fits the bill very well.

When we went, The Italian Club was fairly quiet and relaxed but it’s easy to imagine a busy, noisy place with steamy windows and delicious aromas wafting down the long, narrow cafe-cum restaurant. Either way we liked it. With sister restaurant the Italian Club Fish up the road – and a wealth of inviting, inexpensive cafes and bars flourishing nearby, the top of Bold Street is becoming something of a microclimate for independent hang-outs (we’ll ignore that ghastly Tesco for the time being, eh?). And that’s a very good thing.

The Italian Club
85 Bold Street
Liverpool

  • VindalooQueen

    @7streets im dying to go there, went to their sister restaurant in Edinburgh, absolutely amazing

  • 7streets

    @vindalooqueen we’ve got a trip to the fish iteration coming up too

  • VindalooQueen

    @7streets looks nice there too! Talking of Italian food, did Buca di Bacco ever reopen? Best garlic bread in Liverpool

  • HollyGolightly

    Stunning place – one of the prettiest restaurants in the city…unfortunately service has always been a bit dodgey when I’ve been. First visit, the staff were audibly moaning about workers at their fish eaterie over the rd. and other times, orders were incorrect. Bit overpriced too. Shame really as I wanted it to be as good as it looks and would always choose an independent restaurant over a chain.

  • 7streets

    @vindalooqueen Don’t think so. Gone, like last week’s garlic bread.

  • VindalooQueen

    @7streets shame 🙁 how is it that loads of good restaurants have died in the recession/L1 development and CHICKEN BAZOOKA survives?!

  • http://www.sevenstreets.com/ Robin Brown

    @HollyGolightly Actually, I’ve heard people saying the service hasn’t been that great. It was fine when we went though. I’d say the pricing is a bit odd – the seafood salad was good value, I thought. But the pizza very expensive. A bit mixed up, perhaps.

  • 7streets

    @vindalooqueen Ha! Deli Mamma, a cheapo pizza place where we’d befriended the owners closed recently too. Most unfair.

  • VindalooQueen

    @7streets where was that, in town? I miss the Kebab House on Hardman St, nowt like smashing plates after a raucous meal out!

  • 7streets

    @vindalooqueen Pretty much across the road from Chicken Bazooka – proper wood-fired oven – food excellent. Beer and pizza a fiver.

  • RobOb

    Love The Italian Club but i’d definitelly agree that the pizzas are weirdly expensive, and no better than what you can get from Tribeca or The Peacock for three or four pounds less. I know The Sink do a cheap pizza, too. Anyone tried it?

  • VindalooQueen

    @7streets just googled it- looked lovely! it’s next to Egg, right? Used to be a nice Italianate breakfast caff/greasy spoon before!

  • Holly Golightly

    I’m pretty new to Sevenstreets so you may have done so already, but have you ever reviewed The Academy restaurant at Lpool College, Duke St. V interesting place.

  • Sevenstreets

    Don’t believe so. Is it open at night?

  • Holly Golightly

    Sure is! When I’ve been I’ve found it to be great value – food’s good quality and they have interesting theme events. There’s one on tonight actually called Old School Days (favourites from the school dining room) – which I personally can’t remember having any of but hey ho! Obv the staff are training… learning about waiting on etc. but they’re already at a good standard before being let loose – and the Irish lady who’s the Maitre d is lovely. I honestly don’t work for them, just think it deserves to do well and would be of interest to your readers.

  • Sevenstreets

    That sounds fascinating – we’ll definitely look it up at some point. Thanks (Robin)

  • LiverpoolRR

    @7streets @VindalooQueen Italian club fish is really good as well, there’s a review on my blog.

  • bridgetandbetty

    @7streets #theitalianclub my brother met his girlfriend there and they loved it so much that now they live in Italy !

  • LiverpoolRR

    @Robin Brown@HollyGolightly I’d been a week or so earlier and really liked it, service was good however it was a Sunday evening with only four other customers in the restaurant. Food was very simple, which is what I expect from an Italian and done well. My review is up on my blog.

  • originalbignev

    Have to agree, a place that offers no nonsense and good, simple food. We visited a while back, before they had the alcohol license at the rear so had to walk out with the wine and go back in….will certainly visit again soon.

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