santino outsideThe new academic year, and that means finding new places to eat! And what better area to dine in than the area right on your own doorstep? Smithdown Road, the student area of Liverpool, has a surprisingly large amount of restaurants and cafes on offer, and what’s more is that lots of them are of high quality and at student prices. So if you’re looking for a place to have a nice sit down meal with friends, a hot date or even a respectable restaurant to go to for family visits look no further for your fortnightly fix…

For our first week, we visited Santino restaurant. Santino is an Italian restaurant on the corner of Borrowdale Road, where the café Ginger used to be.

When entering the restaurant you are surrounded by beautiful Italian décor with an authentic atmosphere, along with native speaking waiters it really is hard to remember you are still on Smithdown Road.

As a seafood lover I am always drawn to the fish section of a menu immediately, so instead of resisting the temptation to avoid said section I decided to get Spiedino di Gamberi alla Mediterranea, otherwise translated as King Prawn Pepper and Shallot skewer with chilli & basil, finished with lemon juice as my starter. As it was so wonderfully put by Oscar Wilde, I really can resist anything except temptation when it comes to food. The presentation of the food was spectacular, having the vegetable and prawns mirroring each other on each of the four skewers. Nothing much could be faulted with the taste either, with the succulent prawns and vegetables full of flavour. The only complaint I found myself having was that there were not enough prawns, but I had to remember that this was only a starter!

For a main course my companion ordered the Grilled Salmon served with sautéed spinach with garlic and extra virgin olive oil and lemon. This too was delightful with the salmon being beautifully cooked and spinach cooked to perfection on the side. We both commented how generous the portions were, especially in comparison to price. Pasta and pizza prices start from just £4.95 – a price affordable for any student as a mid-week treat! Another bonus for students is that Santino offers cocktails, and even breakfast!

Finally we both finished the meal with some delicious traditional Italian cakes, and what’s more is that they were gluten-free. It is not just the cakes that are gluten-free, however, but also gluten-free pasta, paninis, bruschetta and even breakfast are all available upon request.

Students who print this article and show it to the staff get 15% discount so be sure to take advantage of the opportunity! Because of its popularity, Santino can get very busy so make sure you book in advance for evening meals. For more information go to http://www.santino-restaurant.com/