Food – Hamilton: Cafe Eataliano. Excellent food at very reasonable prices.

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Eataliano is located outwith the main town centre area of this South Lanarkshire town, therefore requires a short walk to get there. It is situated directly opposite Hamilton Sheriff Court and the University of the West Scotland buildings, and as a result, can be very busy at lunchtime.

This was my first visit to this establishment, and I am pleased to say it was right up there with the best. You will receive excellent service, a great choice of food, but the drinks, in my opinion,  are overpriced. £4.85 for a pint of lager shandy and £1.85 for a half pint of lemonade and lime was, to me,  unacceptable.

There is private parking located to the rear of the business for approx 10-20 cars, be aware however at busy times this is full. The restaurant has disabled access via a level entry main door.

Upon entering we were shown to a table by a pleasant waitress. The main area of the restaurant is open-plan, although there are some private window booths available. I suspect if you want to have a more private dining experience then you will have to book in advance.

The restaurant is fairly new as is the décor which provides has a modern, yet authentic rustic Italian feel predominantly through the use of natural earthy colours and the incorporation of wood. The whole place had a clean look and feel to it.

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The interior has a modern airy feel with many Tuscan elements thrown in.

The staff here know the business of food service, which was obvious from the moment we stepped through the door. Helpful, attentive, knowledgeable and pleasant. We were provided with menus, both the a la carte and the lunchtime special, and then left to browse same at our leisure. A short time later drinks orders were taken and duly delivered. My order for a pint of lemonade and lime had been mistaken for a half pint. Without fuss, this was promptly changed. Thankfully I was only charged the half pint price of £1.85!!

We opted to eat from the a la carte menu, which has an excellent selection including pizza, pasta, meat, chicken, and fish; – there should be something to suit everyone here.

The business is owned and operated by the Loia family, who have a truly authentic Italian pedigree, owning their own vineyard in an enchanting corner in the Montalcino region of Tuscany where their Palazzo estate can be found. Bought as a farm in 1983 they planted their first vines and pursuing their dreams in 1995 they celebrated their first vintage Brunello. One of their sons Manio moved to Scotland and opened Eataliano’s which serves all the wines from the family estate. The pizza oven and coffee machine the business uses was shipped all the way from Italy.  The wine bottles on the wall are from the family vineyard, and the wall art is actually images of one of the Cellars at their family home in Italy.

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Top image: The family Vineyard in Italy, and one of the cellars, which features in wall art of the restaurant.

Our starters were a bowl mussels in a white wine, cream and garlic sauce served with two slabs of garlic bread at £6.95 and a serving of king prawns in a tomato and chilli sauce, again served with the garlic bread. The latter was priced at £6.50. There were no complaints whatsoever with the starters which were delicious and promptly scoffed leaving clean plates all round.

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Mains were a tagliatelle carbonara and a tagliatelle gamberoni. A nice wee touch here was the option to choose from 4 different types of pasta. Again no complaints, the pasta was cooked to perfection, soft but still with that bite, and coated in delicious sauces. My gamberoni dish contained five king prawns which to my mind could have come out of the pan two minutes earlier, but hey, this establishment isn’t pretending to be Michelin quality, and what I received was of a very high standard indeed. Cost of the mains was £8.95 and £9.95 respectively. Given my five king prawns, this was excellent value for money. We also opted to have a side order of garlic bread and mozzarella cheese at £3.50.

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I had the dessert of the day. A meringue with vanilla ice cream and strawberries with whipped cream, while my dining companion had a cappuccino. This, along with the drinks prices was the only complaint of the whole meal. I know I’ve said this before, and no doubt I’ll say it again, but why oh why do kitchens, who have excellent chefs who go to the trouble of making their own meringues, topped with a lovely creamy Italian ice cream then insist on using canned cream. It surely cannot be beyond the capability of a kitchen to whip up some cream as opposed to using this poor excuse of a substitute. Take note management – ditch the canned cream, you’re so much better than this!

So all in all, it’s a well-deserved four stars, only kept off that top five-star review by the drink prices and the elusive whipped cream.

For further information, bookings and menus, visit the website here.

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