Roma To Stay Linwood dinner review by Suzanne Oswald
Suzanne Oswald takes a trip to Italian restaurant Roma To Stay, a Linwood favourite to sit-in or take away
It’s fair to say that the west of Scotland is not short of Italian restaurants – from fish and chip shops to gelaterias and much-loved family-owned establishments. It’s an affiliation that dates back to the late nineteenth century when the first Italian immigrants settled in Glasgow and the surrounding areas – and we can thank our lucky stars that they brought with them a long tradition of delicious, authentic and hearty flavours.
Of course, there’s so much to love about a cuisine that has simplicity and comfort at its heart – whether it’s at its most rustic or elegantly crafted. Italian food transcends mere sustenance; it’s more like an act of self-love, wrapped – more often than not – in creamy, starchy goodness.
And, judging from the sight of a busy restaurant on a back-to-school Monday at dinner time, it seems that many of Roma To Stay’s customers were seeking the same kind of post-holiday pick-me-up.
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Over the past few years, the restaurant has proved itself to be among the most popular in the area, cherished by residents far and wide – both for its takeaway operation which resides in one half of the building known as Roma To Go and for its sit-in restaurant in the other.
From the outside, it may not look like your traditional Italian – but don’t be fooled, the modest exterior belies the culinary delights that lie inside. The sleek décor, old photos on the walls and spacious leather booths instil a sense of familiarity to the place, while the menu is capable of catering to all ages, budgets and demographics – satisfying even the fussiest of eaters with an extensive selection of pastas, pizzas, risottos, meat and seafood dishes. From the outset, it was clear that we would not leave hungry.
So, after a warm welcome and much deliberation over the lengthy menu, I opted for a long-time favourite in the calamari fritti. The light crispy exterior gave way to tender, succulent squid – wonderfully complemented by a zesty basil mayonnaise. Meanwhile, the allure of the mozzarella in carrozza proved irresistible for Linzi – the breaded mozzarella, which was coated in rich Napoli sauce and accompanied by an ample slice of sourdough, was met with instant approval.
Courtesy of the generous chef, we were also treated to a large helping of light, fluffy and crisp focaccia – brushed in moreish garlic, salt and rosemary and topped with fresh tomato and mozzarella. Unsurprisingly, it was a resoundingly well-received addition to the table that we returned to frequently throughout the rest of the meal.
For the main course, my eyes were immediately drawn to the Mia Casa Penne, underlined with the words ‘You will never forgive yourself if you don’t try this’. Bolstered by such confidence and never one to miss a culinary challenge, I dived right in and can now firmly attest to those words of warning.
Rich and luscious with cream and garlic, and cooked with chicken, broccoli and a decent kick of chilli, it was an utterly devourable triumph – each buttery mouthful as moreish as the next. Confirmed: pasta is safe in these chefs’ hands.
Meanwhile, Linzi was quick to compliment the Risotto Primavera, which consisted of a plate of fluffy rice packed with refreshing Mediterranean vegetables and a rich tomato sauce. Then, after discussing the many merits of our respective dishes and threatening to figuratively roll out the restaurant, we were somehow cajoled into perusing the dessert menu for one final hurrah.
Featuring an array of classics like tiramisu, chocolate fudge cake and sticky toffee pudding, we opted for the lighter lemon cheesecake – a sweet, tangy end to a delicious (and very generous) meal.
Striking the right balance between excellent food and attentive service, you’d be hard pushed to imagine anyone leaving Roma To Go without a full stomach and a feeling of all-round satisfaction. There may be nothing revolutionary happening here, but it’s Italian food the way it should be made – wholesome and full of flavour. And with many more established names nearby in the way of competition, we’d recommend giving this one a try for your next meal out, or even a takeaway. We’ll certainly be keeping it up our sleeve for a return visit.
Roma To Go/Roma To Stay Linwood, 19 Bridge Street, Linwood, PA3 3DB, Facebook page.