Restaurant Review: Bosco Pizzeria
Having been open for nearly six months, Bosco Pizzeria on Whiteladies Road is no longer the new kid on Bristol’s ever-expanding Italian restaurant block but is by far still the most original addition in recent years.
It appears that the team behind Bosco have looked at their competition throughout Bristol, venues such as Aqua Italia (with their Whiteladies’ restaurant only two minutes away) and opted to go against-the-grain of the traditional watered-down Italian experience you often find in the UK.
Upon arriving last Friday evening, my ears were greeted by a hum of activity that instantly reminded me of my many hours spent in Roman trattorie; excitable conversations between guests and staff alike, atmospheric background music overlaid with clinking glasses and the roaring open-air pizza oven.
Whilst the environment may sound traditionally Italian, it does not look it. At Bosco, you will not find painted frescos or stuccoed ceilings. Instead, Bosco is a very slick and contemporary venue with a minimalist décor, subtle lighting and artfully arranged restaurant supplies lining the walls. Audio and visual combined, it’s traditional Italy meets modern Britain.
However, one area that does live up to Italian expectations is the service. Whilst very friendly and attentive (and not in an overbearing way), staff efficiency left something to be desired. From being seated at our table and placing our initial drinks order, for which there was a 15-minute wait between, to paying il conto (the bill) we were served by three different members of staff. Add to this the fact we could not see an authority figure such as a manager overseeing the restaurant, this method seemed to fall short and resulted in lengthy waits between courses. In Italy, long periods between courses are normal and accompanied by a ‘go with the flow’ atmosphere that is often encouraged by the staff. Last Friday evening however we did not feel like this and instead felt the sense that we needed to vacate our table as soon as possible, a feeling all too familiar in British restaurants.
Service aside, the food at Bosco has to be some of the best Italian I have had outside of Italy. The menu boasts a large range of both traditional and contemporary Italian foods, with a focus on pizza. I ordered the Bosco Carne, a tomato-based meat-heavy pizza, whilst my partner had the Porchetta Bianca, a tomato-free meat and cheese pizza, both of which, along with all items on the menu (including drinks) are priced modestly. It’s worth noting also, when the bill was presented a service charge had not been added automatically, something which I found personally refreshing.
The first things you notice when a Bosco pizza arrives in front of you is its size and appearance; they abide by the traditional Italian style of thin bases, stretched out and fire-baked so the dough bubbles and blackens in places. They are cooked perfectly, with the dough still soft underneath but crisp around the edges which when combined with the rich and generous toppings result in a meal both incredibly satisfying and filling.
In summary, Bosco serves up an alternative experience to the Anglicised-Italian norm, providing possibly some of the best pizzas in Bristol. Its atmosphere has a refined charm that infuses Italy with Britain and could only be improved by addressing front-of-house efficiency.
This article originally appeared on Bristol #PROSPECTUS.