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Food Review Via Verde

We find a Meanwood Italian restaurant that punches way above its weight

Food Review: Via Verde

It’s not too often that our reviewing team heads out to a small, unassuming neighbourhood restaurant, but after a couple of very impressive trips to this family-run Italian eatery (it should be noted that this doesn’t mean it’s run by an Italian family) it seemed only right that we tell you about Via Verde.

Situated on what amounts to a highstreet in Meanwood, an attractive Leeds suburb sandwiched between Chapel Allerton and Headingley and boasting a glorious park, Via Verde is a very small restaurant hosted in an old shop front. As you walk in, you’ll spot an open kitchen with a very relaxed looking chef manning it, making his job look easy, some six or seven small tables and compact bar area.

A blackboard above the kitchen shows Via Verde’s regularly changing specials (including duck breast, lamb, seabass and swordfish, and all for less than £11) while the menu holds a half dozen pizzas and pastas priced around the £7. So far, so cheap.

Between the prices and ever so-slightly fussy décor, you’d never expect Via Verde to serve up anymore than an adequate Anglicised approximation of Italian food. But you’d be wrong. We start with a giant garlic pizza base (for a meagre £2.50), soft, thin dough, a well seasoned tomato based and generous cuts of garlic gives you way beyond what you’d expect, while their anti-pasti platter (£6.50) comes with three different cured meats and a nice smattering of olives, sundried tomatoes and salad.

The real surprise though, comes at the main course. My calzone (£6.95) turns up a gigantic roll of dough, covered in a rich tomato sauce and stuffed with salami, mushrooms and mozzarella. My partner is similarly impressed with her ravioli. The best dishes of the night, though, fall to my two other co-diners who order the duck breast and lamb (both £10.95). Both are served pink as standard (always a good sign), although you can ask for them to be cooked differently. The two dishes really impress, tender, juicy and coming with great sauces as well as a good array of Mediterranean-style vegetables and crispy potatoes.

The generous portions mean that dessert is out of the question, but we do each pick up a large espresso to finish the evening off. As we sip the coffee, that bill arrives coming in at just over £60 – which for a quality dinner for four along with a fair bit of wine, is very impressive.

Via Verde may lack the slick sheen and native staff of some of Leeds’ more well known Italian eateries, but the combination of hearty, tasty, no-nonsense food at excellent value, makes this place well worth a visit.

Posted on Wednesday 31st March 2010

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Comments on Food Review: Via Verde

Comment by Leeds Guide Features

Posted on Wed 14th Apr 10 5:01 pm

Mmmm, love this place. One of the best Italians in Leeds - and half the price of most of them!

Comment by Judith Micklethwaite

Posted on Sat 7th Aug 10 8:50 am

Tried Via Verde for the first time yesterday evening after driving past it on a regular basis. We were very impressed with the food, the friendliness of the staff and the prices

Comment by Rachel De Souza

Posted on Mon 22nd Aug 11 5:37 pm

We’ve been here several times since this lovely place opened, but I’m a bit loathed to give the glowing review this wonderful local restaurant deserves, as I want to make sure I can get a table when I want to go!!  Superb cooking by a chef who obviously knows his ingredients and how to best treat them. Wonderful, friendly service too.  Faultless - just don’t tell everyone!

Comment by Cathy Chattaway

Posted on Sun 29th Jan 12 1:03 pm

Tried Via Verde for the first time last night on our third attempt to get a table!!. It was everything that we expected from the reviews we had read. From the wonderful food to the warm welcome, friendly staff and fantastic value for money. We will definitely be back very soon.

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