One of the best things about Italy is its food. You can wander into the most ordinary looking of places and get an extraordinarily good meal at a reasonable price.
So hurrah that the ethos is now becoming established over here through restaurants such as Gloria’s in Chesterfield.
A restaurant joined onto a pub overlooking a main road into the town centre doesn’t exactly scream fine dining - but never judge a book by its cover. Despite its no-frills atmosphere - bare wood tabletops and paper napkins - Gloria’s offers some of the best and most competitively priced Italian meals you’ll find in town. We booked the day before - and just as well because the place was full all night. Even though the restaurant was busy, the two front of house staff were friendly and helpful. From an extensive menu we both plumped for starters of mozzarella, both were good sized portions. My carrozza was four deep fried triangles of cheese in crispy breadcrumbs encircled by a spicy, tangy tomato sauce which had a chllli kick to it. My companion opted for insalata, the slices of cheese interleaved with pieces of juicy tomatoes, garnished with basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Pasta, pizza, seafood, chicken, veal and beef options made picking the main course much harder but, again, we weren’t disappointed with our choices. I chose the calzone chef’s special. The dough was fluffy and light and encased a treasure trove of taste sensations including ham, salami, onions and peppers with plenty of rich tomato sauce. My companion opted for pollo valdostana, chicken breast cooked in a tomato and cream sauce which was equally delicious. It was accompanied by roast potatoes, carrots and fine green beans. The generous portions meant we were too full for dessert even though lemon ice cream with a limoncello sauce had me wavering...definitely one to try next time we visit. An espresso, a medium glass of white wine and 500ml carafe of house red took the bill to £47.80….good value for this taste of Italy just a short walk from our home.
St Helen’s pub,
tel. 01246 201749