Restaurant review: Rico’s, Roundhay, Leeds

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I’ll be honest with you, I’ve driven past the parade of shops leading up to Oakwood Clock, Roundhay umpteen times and not really noticed the Italian at the bottom corner.

It’s opposite what used to be the Co-op but which is soon to become a B&M. And it’s lovely. Truly lovely.

It has been in situ for many years apparently. I did ask and the waitress did tell me but since then I’ve asked the same question at a few other restaurants and the figure is now lost in memory. Suffice to say, I recall being somewhat taken aback by how long it had been there. It’s double digits, let’s just say that.

The fact it has become part of the furniture is probably one of the reasons I missed it but don’t let that be your excuse, because the food and service here are delightful.

The menu gushes: “The atmosphere we have created for you should remind you of those long balmy evenings from your vacation abroad.”

Well, it was sunny when we went and I have to say we did feel relaxed from the off. Service was prompt, polite, sociable. This is a family-run independent which has obviously flourished thanks to those personal touches which are often lost with larger or chain establishments.

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I kicked off with the goat’s cheese from the specials board(£8.25). What a marvellous dish. Salty, creamy, with a lovely mellow sweetness coming from the figs. The goat’s cheese was not overpowering but perfectly balanced, the whole thing wrapped in wafer thin parma, itself full of that lovely, slightly gamey aroma, all of it grilled and served on a bed of mixed leaves. For a starter, it was a large dish. Other places would get away with serving one portion of goat’s cheese (they put out two) but that said, I could have quite happily eaten it again.

My dining partner opted for spaghetti bolognaise (£8.40), which was good, with that home made touch, although the beef she found a touch ‘grainy’. A moot point, no doubt.

My main was linguine marinara (£9.65): prawns, calamari, muscles, cockles, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, all swimming in a wonderfully warm, aromatic white wine sauce. Together with a fresh orange (£1.70) and two Peronis (£3.20 each), the bill came to £34.60.

We had a lovely window seat, which while it might not look out over rolling hills, vineyards or some other cliched Mediterranean backdrop, nevertheless offers you a view of the hoi poloi, which it turns out are mostly joggers (serious ones), chugging away while I tucked into two of the nicest dishes I’ve had in ages.

Opening times are Mon-Sun noon-2.30pm and 5.30pm-10.30pm, Fri-Sat 5.30pm-11pm and Sun 5.30pm-10.30pm.

FACTFILE

Rico’s

450 Roundhay Road,

Oakwood,

Leeds,

LS8 2HU

Score 4/5