When it comes to Italian food, the more garlic the better as far as my man and I are concerned. It’s a good job we both love it as after we left Pizzeria Francesca in Jesmond on Friday evening, after an early Valentine’s date night, we were certainly smelling of it. It was 100% worth it though of course, as let me tell you, it was fabulous!
The place, more affectionately known by Newcastle locals as Francesca’s, is a highly renowned restaurant in the area and one that consistently receives rave reviews. My boyfriend has talked about this place literally since we first met and finally he took me this week. I love going to places that he suggests and gets excited to take me to, not just because I really enjoy his company but because I feel as though I get to learn a little more about him too.
Located just outside of Newcastle city centre in the posh meets Sloane student area of Jesmond, you’ll find Pizzeria Francesca. Queuing is compulsory as bookings cannot be made in advance but since this has been the norm here for years upon years, no one seemed to mind. We enjoyed a drink from the bar and chatted about the gorgeous decor while we waited to be seated. The surroundings are beautiful in Francesca’s, think; lots of dark wood, earthy tones, low lighting and authentic glimpses of Italy through decorations and artwork. Traditional in the best way.
It didn’t take too long for a table for two to become available although I think you’d have a little longer of a wait should you arrive with a larger party. We got there for around 7pm and through the course of our meal, I did see the crowds begin to die down at around 8.30 so it might be a good idea to get there either really early on when they open or to wait and go a little later.
There’s a real buzz about this place and it was great to see such an awesome mix of people inside the restaurant, some really dressed up, others smart casual. It’s large but has a really authentic, cosy feel to it and although there are a lot of tables inside, we didn’t feel as though we were sitting on top of one another or worrying that our conversation could be overheard.
For the occasion, I wore my new navy satin shirt from Pretty Little Thing. This is a real statement piece that looks and feels sumptuous and luxe. Paired with black jeans and navy accessories, I felt so glamorous and relaxed . I loved getting all dressed up and really taking my time to get ready as it made the night feel all the more special.
The menu was vast and packed full with everything that you’d expect from a traditional Italian. The service was swift, attentive and thorough. I had no qualms querying what I could and could not eat containing dairy and I felt really assured by the staff that my meal would mean I could dine safely.
To start we opted for two that we both love to share. Firstly the tomato garlic bread which I have to say is the best that I have ever tasted; light and fluffy dough that had a crispness to the outside, piled high with fresh garlic and tasty tomato. Secondly the king prawns with garlic in olive oil. These had a light, crispy coating to them and were absolutely delicious. Very simply done, which meant that the full flavour of each ingredient could be appreciated.
Since we both choose a steak dish for our mains, sharing needn’t be on the agenda for our mains at Pizzeria Francesca. My man went for the sirloin with peppercorn sauce and I chose the fillet surf and turf with a light tomato and garlic sauce and we split a side of vegetables and homemade chips between us.
Our steaks arrived cooked to perfection, as did everything else and made for a really tasty meal that we struggled to finish but successfully ploughed on through until we had devoured every last morsel!
Francesca’s seems as though it could be one of those places that we could return to time and time again, always finding something on the menu that we would love to try. What seemed to be really popular was the half pizza, half pasta option which in all honesty, looked like a full portion of pasta to my eye. The carbonara in particular looked absolutely incredible and had me salivating at the thought of days gone by when I would enjoy dairy and suffer afterwards!
The dessert menu at Pizzeria Francesca looked vast; a real treat for those without an issue with cows milk protein like me but neither of us could fit anything else in. Full as guns, we finished off the rest of our drinks over endless chat before making a move back home to South Shields, promising ourselves that we wont leave it too long before returning. Before our visit, it had been at least 15 years since my boyfriend had been to Francesca’s and he said that it was still as amazing as he remembered all of those years ago. A place has to be really special if you’re still thinking about it that far down the line!
For a couple of pints of Peroni, a glass of wine and a half of coke, two starters and two steak mains, we paid around the £50 mark which we didn’t think was too bad for the quality, taste and beautiful surroundings. We’d pay it again in a heartbeat as we enjoyed our visit so much.
You can visit Pizzeria Francesca to see what all the fuss is about on Manor House Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 2NE.
I’d highly recommend a visit and we’ll certainly be back.