Girl in Bristol reviews Europa, an long-standing Italian Restaurant in Bristol.
It’s unsurprising to learn that Europa has been in Bristol for 25 years after scouring the internet for information about them. Trip Advisor scores Europa a 4.5 stars out of 5 and they were also shortlisted for Bristol Good Food Award’s “Best Front of House” and “Best Italian Restaurant” this year. A promising start.
Europa serve an extensive range of dishes which span over three different menus; a £6.50 lunch menu, a pre-theatre menu and a main menu. The food is not all strictly Italian but all the Italian restaurant essentials are there including pizza and pasta dishes which are listed under their proper Italian names, lasagne della casa and so on. There’s also gluten free pasta available too for anyone with intolerances.
With regards to the venue, Europa is totally up my street, full of character and charm. Inside, there’s a really cosy feel with tables divided up by arched walls which are painted a warm yellow colour with wooden panelling on the bottom half. There’s also a great little al-fresco dining area in what was a bikers layby which looks over the bustling Baldwin Street. The overall feel is rustic and neighbourly, every table is populated by friends laughing over a glass of wine with a slice of pizza in their hand as the staff move between tables embracing every customer with a smile and a little small talk. You just feel completely at ease and that’s probably why we ended up staying for over three hours!
Whilst the pizzas and pastas did sound divine, we’d both had a pretty carb-heavy day prior to arriving at Europa that evening (amateurs) so my Dad and I chose the pan-fried duck and sea bass for our main courses, skipping past the starters.
My Dad’s sea bass was an instant hit. Delicate in texture and taste, the oven-baked sea bass was lightly seasoned with lemon, rosemary and a splash of white wine. A bowl of chips was also brought to have alongside the fish. There was no way my Dad was having any of that salad nonsense!
My pan-fried duck though well presented was not quite so popular. Though flavoursome, the meat was tough and overly chewy which was slightly disappointing. Although, the rich port sauce layered on top of the meat was delicious, as were the wild mushrooms and roasted vegetables which I had as a side. The portion of meat I was given for the price I also felt was very reasonable. We certainly weren’t hungry at the end.
That said, we weren’t going to say no to dessert. Especially when we spotted the apple pie and vanilla ice cream.
Our dessert ended up being delivered by the chef himself, Pietro, who came to Britain 32 years ago from Napoli and now co-runs the business with Theresa. He went on to discuss his passion for Europa, its menu and the importance of buying the freshest ingredients which he likes to source from Bristol’s vegetable market. Although all the wine comes from Italy.
Now, I don’t know what parts of our apple pie came Bristol’s vegetable market but I can tell you they were divine. Encased in buttery shortcrust pastry, our pies were full of juicy apple, sultanas and a pinch of cinnamon. The subtle vanilla ice cream helped to cool the palate and the whole thing was a joy to eat.
We remained outside for a while longer and enjoyed the whole ambiance of Europa which continued to welcome diners and drinkers late into the night.
37-38 St Stephens St, Bristol, England BS1 1JX
Please Note: Whilst our meals were complimentary, this did in no way impact upon my review of Europa. Additionally, the photography is mine so please do not reuse without permission.