Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Rosemarino Italian Bistro, York Place, Clifton

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Good news for Bristol’s Italian food lovers: after standing empty for a few years, the site formerly home to the York Cafe (1, York Place, Clifton) reopened as cafe/bistro Rosemarino on Friday, November 5th.

Business partners and friends Sam Fryer and Mirco Bertoldi have over 20 years’ experience in the restaurant industry between them, having worked in a variety of restaurants – both local and abroad – including managing some established Bristol venues such as Glassboat, Riverstation and Goldbrick House.

Tom Green, owner of catering business The Flavour Smith and previously of Riverstation, is Rosemarino’s newly appointed head chef and has been responsible for creating menus with an emphasis on freshly prepared food using a range of local artisan suppliers and producers such as Bath Fine Cheese and Castellano’s.

Realising the importance that the York Cafe had as a local breakfast venue, Sam and Mirco will be opening the doors at 7am Monday-Friday and 9am at the weekends for their breakfast and brunch menu. In addition to offering speciaity teas and coffees (with or without an accompanying pastry), Rosemarino features a substantial breakfast/brunch menu starring British favourites such as scrambled egg on toast and bacon butties, alongside dishes with a more Italian twist, such as sauteed mushrooms, parmesan and sage on toast. At £2-£7  for items on the breakfast/brunch menu, it won’t break the bank.

The lunch and dinner menus have more of an Italian feel, with a combination of well-known classics such as lasagne al forno (£3.95 small/£7.95 large) and dishes less commonly seen in British Italian restaurants including the delicious arancini di zucca – fried risotto balls with pumpkin, sage and mozzarella (£3.95 small/£7.50 large). Customers can also choose from a range of ciabatta sandwiches and bruschetta, antipasti selections and a dessert menu including a daily-changing variety of cakes. Those wanting something more substantial can check out their specials boards downstairs (yes, the site now has a basement!)…


…and they’re even doing Sunday roasts, with the opening week’s special of slow roast topside of beef priced at £9.95.

Decor-wise, the place is interesting, the downstairs  consisting of a combination of a fantastic gold and blue patterned wallpaper and bare walls. Oh, and this:


Sam and Mirco are also introducing the concept of aperitivo: from 5pm daily, early evening diners and drinkers will receive complimentary antipasti with their drinks.

We headed to Rosemarino for lunch on the first Saturday of trade – luckily we’d booked a table, as the place was heaving with Italians and Brits alike. We were seated downstairs by our super-friendly waiter: the guy was seriously fantastic, laughing and joking with the customers, and definitely added to our positive thoughts on the place.

After much deliberation, I opted for one of Rosemarino’s selection of ciabatta sandwiches: an enormous fresh, crusty roll filled with goats’ cheese, baby spinach and caramelised onions and served with a crisp side salad of mixed leaves, peppers, cucumber and carrot:

A definite thumbs-up from me: the slight tang of the goats’ cheese and the sweetness of the onions are always a winning combination for me…and I don’t know what they’d dressed the salad with, but it was absolutely fantastic.

My fellow diners were equally impressed with their orders of a tomato, mozzarella and pesto bruschetta with added Speck, and a small portion of the lasagne (a bargain at only £3.95!)

Being the glutton I am, I’d also ordered chips with my ciabatta, meaning that I was too full for dessert. Instead, I sat and watched as my friends demolished a cheeseboard (goats’ cheese, Keen’s Cheddar and Gorgonzola) and a chocolate panettone bread and butter pudding:

Both plates were wiped clean, which says it all 🙂

At under £10 for a main plus a drink, I can guarantee that I’ll be heading back for another leisurely lunch in the near future. Unfortunately, Rosemarino aren’t currently open for dinner bookings, but hope to be able to offer evening meals by the end of the month.

If you’re interested in booking a table or finding out more, have a look at the Rosemarino website for contact details.

Find Rosemarino on the Bristol Bites Directory…

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