Convivio: Authentic Italian treats

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Convivio is an Italian restaurant which aims to be authentic and distinguish itself from Italian chain restaurants in Chester. The two owners, Giovanni Caggianelli and his Greek business partner, opened the restaurant six years ago and have since run it themselves.

The name of the restaurant originates from Latin and means gathering or feast. This is all the Convivio is about. It tries to combine art and food. Italian art and the classic atmosphere created by high ceilings, candlelight and dark leather sofas really set the mood of a traditional Italian restaurant and allow you to escape into its world. As part of this concept, Convivio presents an Opera event every three to four months where guests can watch an opera, while they eat a three course meal including cocktails for about £75.

The restaurant prides itself on serving healthy, homemade food which is highly connected to the Italian culture.

When I entered the Convivio, a Mai Thai greeted me, as I was led upstairs by the quiet indistinguishable sound of Italian music. The sweet flavour of fresh ingredients and the enthusiastic barkeeper welcomed me to the bar area. After I had finished my drink, I went downstairs to taste the food. I decided to have the set menu which includes two courses for £10. The deal offered different choices of pizza, pasta and other Italian dishes.

I chose Polpette al Ragu (Meatballs in tomato sauce) for starters and Pollo Champagne as the main course. Before starting the actual meal, the waiter brought two different types of pizza bread, one with garlic and one with tomato, to the table. Both appeared to be freshly made and tasted great.

From the seating area it is possible to look into the open kitchen and watch the Italian cooks prepare your food while you are waiting. They did, however, not leave you a lot of time to admire their skills, as the food was served shortly after my order had been taken and the starter was nicely arranged with a slice of Italian bread. The sauce was very well seasoned, but the portion was quite small.

This was followed by the main course which was served in a creamy mushroom sauce with potatoes. Both were cooked to perfection and had a unique and refreshing taste. Although the food was not heavy, it was well portioned and did not leave me hungry.

Overall, not only was the food of great quality, it was also reasonably priced and the customer service was excellent. I would happily revisit Convivio.

by Lisa Meller

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