I love food.

This is an established fact.

What you might not be aware of is that, since moving to London, I’ve become a leeeeettle bit of a food snob…

Just a little bit. And it’s not something I’m proud of.

But I’m generally just a little bit sceptical of chain restaurants.

Like, there are so many AMAZING new places opening every month, not to mention exciting limited pop-ups and fantastic street food stands… so why on earth would I choose to go to a standard chain restaurant!

Well you know what?

I was wrong. Am wrong. Whatever. WRONG. SO WRONG.

The team at Strada* invited me and some of my best blog buds down to try their sexy new Spring menu and I’m going to be honest and say that I very nearly turned it down. I KNOW. What an idiot.

But I didn’t. And I’m so glad I didn’t, because Strada has completely managed to change my opinion on chain restaurants.

The decor was lovely, the service was five-star, the drinks frequently topped up, and the food… well. See for yourselves!

strada flatlay

prosecco and olives

tomato and pesto flatbread

strada canton street menu

garlic and parsley flatbread

The Pre-Starters

We started the evening with glasses of chilled prosecco, green olives and a couple of the schiacciatellas (flatbreads) to nibble on while we browsed the menu.

On the recommendation of our lovely waitress, Sophie, we chose the garlic, and the tomato and pesto.


Hot, crispy and perfectly toasted. The garlic was yum, but the tomato and pesto was my fave! So flavourful.

tomato and pesto flatbread

mushroom bruschetta

The Starters

We ordered 7 starters. Between 4 of us.

I know.

I’m not even sorry.

The mushroom and truffle bruschetta was my requested dish, and it was great! Perfectly seasoned pan-roasted mushrooms cooked in butter and truffle oil, and served over crunchy toast.

The caprese salad was so good we ordered two! Grilled avocado is something I’d never even have thought of and it is GAME CHANGING. Served alongside creamy burrata mozzarella and roasted tomatoes, this was one of the standout dishes of the night.

We also ordered two lots of the crispy squid, sprinkled with paprika and served with a parsley and caper mayo. It was (again) great, but I wasn’t as wowed as I was with the other dishes. However, AJ doesn’t actually like squid and she did actually really like this so there you go!

Our last lot of starters was a double portion of the arancini: crispy, cheesy, tomato-y rice balls served with a deliciously spicy tomato sauce. SO. GOOD.


caprese salad

crispy squid

The Mains

For mains, I once again followed Sophie’s recommendations and ordered the pumpkin girasoli. And I’m going to put it out there right now and say that I won that night’s round of Who Ordered The Best Dish.

Fresh pasta stuffed with soft pumpkin, drizzled generously with sage butter and sprinkled with crushed amaretti biscuit. YES. I KNOW.

I’ve been to Italy and eaten my body weight in pasta and this is still one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had in my life.

It’s very rich, what with all the butter and what not, and I have to admit that I didn’t actually finish it (not that the girls complained – more for them to try!). But it was soft, sweet and utterly delicious.

pumpkin girasoli

seafood linguine

Erica went for another delicious pasta dish: seafood linguine. Pasta noodles tossed in a lovely chilli tomato sauce with king prawns and mussels. Erica had never really eaten pasta until she went to Italy last month but she loved it and she loved this. Big thumbs up!

AJ chose the delicious pan-roasted chicken and mushrooms. Perfectly cooked chicken served with the most amazingly thick and savoury mushroom sauce and topped with greenery.

And Claire was the smart one and ordered the Goat’s Cheese Market Salad! Fresh and flavourful, but light enough to not leave her rolling around in her seat like the rest of us – it had tons of greens, mixed with orange pieces, beetroot, butternut squash and creamy goat’s cheese. A real five-star salad!

We also ordered side dishes of crispy rosemary potatoes and mixed leaf parmesan salad, which were both delicious – though in hindsight may have been a mistake because SO MUCH FOOD.

chicken and mushrooms

goats cheese salad

lemon ricotta cheesecake

The Desserts

But we didn’t stop there. OH NO.

We all ordered desserts. All of us. Four desserts. All the desserts.

I had the lemon ricotta cheesecake. Light and creamy, served with a berry compote and utterly yum.

Erica had the lightest, fluffiest, coffee-est tiramisu I’ve ever tried.

AJ went for a classic bowl of mango sorbet, and Claire had the pear and almond tart.


mango sorbet


The Wine

One more quick thing: I never usually mention wine choices at restaurants.

Usually I go for red, but apart from that I’m not really fussed about what I’m drinking. But Strada completely bowled me over with this one.

We ordered two bottles of wine between us: one white and one red. AJ and I were on the red and weren’t fussed so we let Sophie pick for us. She ordered us her favourite and tried to tell me it had chocolate notes in it.

And I was like: Ha! Yeah alright mate whatevs…

Because let’s be honest: wine never tastes of chocolate or berries or mushrooms or whatever it is they try to tell you is in it.


I got a bit overexcited and I think there’s a photo of me out there somewhere grinning like a loon at my glass but thankfully I can’t find it so hurrah for that.

red wine

All hail Sophie the Waitress for knowing exactly what she’s talking about. She absolutely nailed it on every single one of her suggestions!

The service was actually one of our favourite bits of the night. The entire staff were so friendly and helpful, not just with us but with absolutely everyone in the restaurant.

We were in there for FOUR hours and at no point did we feel like they were trying to get rid of us. Do you know how rare that is in London?!

So yeah. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I will absolutely be going back to Strada asap.

And I would totally encourage you to do the same.

Order the pumpkin girasoli. Thank me later.




*We were gifted my meal in exchange for a review.
As always, all thoughts, words, photos and opinions are mine.

  • We don’t have a Strada in Manchester, but I think I will have to check out next time I’m in London as that food looks delicious!

  • I have to confess I thought the same as you about chain restaurants, but I think you’ve sold me on Strada for a try next time I’m out with my buddies. Your pumpkin dish sounds delicious.

  • Mmm I would never think to go for anything with pumpkin in but that sounds amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Strada but I’m definitely checking that there’s one near me now.

    Pretty Mad Things .. xo

  • I only ever ate in chains when I lived in London (in fact my first date with Simon was in Frankie and Bennys – ha ha!). I really really regret it now as I missed out on trying so many independents and now I live far away I’m always getting food envy. In my defence the 5 years I was in London it was the recession and the constant vouchers made it the only option for dining out really!

    Now I barely ever go to chains! Love the look of Strada though, will bear it in mind xx

  • I only ever ate in chains when I lived in London (in fact my first date with Simon was in Frankie and Bennys – ha ha!). I really really regret it now as I missed out on trying so many independents and now I live far away I’m always getting food envy. In my defence the 5 years I was in London it was the recession and the constant vouchers made it the only option for dining out really!

    Now I barely ever go to chains! Love the look of Strada though, will bear it in mind xx

  • Those arancini ristotto balls literally make my mouth water even just at the sight of them…not ideal at 10.46 on a Thursday when I only have a banana to quench my appetite. xxxx

  • So gutted I missed this :( everything looks delicious, so I think a date night at Strada might just have to happen!

  • ninegrandstudent

    I have always been tempted by the menu, but I had an absolute nightmare with Strada when trying to book a Christmas meal there last year. The manager refused to give me allergy information prior to coming, but wanted an order in advance, and even though head office told me what to avoid, the manager refused my request to have sauces etc omitted from dishes. So no Christmas dinner for me, and it has put me off. But your dishes should and look lovely so maybe I should get over myself and go! x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog

  • Cat

    Oh I love Strada, the food is always amazing! I live for their puddings :) xx


  • Haha, I’m a bit like you and can be a little bit snobby about chain restaurants with some many great independents in London! But I have to say Strada is one of few I make the exception for. Food is always good and perfect for a girlie catch-up!xx

  • Kate Drury

    I’ve never been to a Strada before but I adore good Italian food and good service, I’m such a slow eater and I hate feeling rushed, so you’ve really sold me! It’s definitely on my go to list now! :) x

    Kate | katedruryy.blogspot.com

  • Charlie Elliott

    This reminds me of watching one of the girls’ Snapchats and you exclaiming, ‘I CAN ACTUALLY TASTE THE CHOCOLATE!’ Adorbs ;) xx

  • Wow! Looks so nice! Not my kind of thing as I’m so fussy and boring when it comes to food but it certainly does look appetising! I’d probably just go for the chilled prosecco!

    Chelsea – http://www.lifeinthenorth.com

  • Unfortunately not a fan of Strada here from me (been here a long time ago while in uni and more recently) but it just doesn’t do it for me??? I just don’t like the taste or the mains – they just felt bland to me. Ok or maybe I’m just being a food snob hahahaha. Glad you had such a nice time though, saw all the super cool / excited snaps ;-)

    Cherie | sinonym

  • megsiobhan

    This all looks so damn good! And yet again I find myself drooling. Way to go Meg, looking at a post when you are peckish!

    Meg | A Little Twist Of…

  • I always order the pumpkin girasoli. It’s literally the best! xx

  • I think it all depends on the chain, the size of the chain and their passion for the food. There are a lot of dodgy chains out there, but OMG THAT CHEESECAKE JUST DISTRACTED ME xx

  • Brooklyn

    This is looks so tasty! I want that pumpkin pasta :)


  • Uuuuh damn this looks SO GOOD. I know what you mean about chain restaurants, I’m always a bit skeptical too! But Strada are definitely on to a winner here, amaretti biscuits on pasta sounds INSANE. Immy x


  • Mmmm this post has made my mouth water. I’ve never been to Italy but love Italian food and I’m always wondering how ‘authentic’ it really is, so it’s good to know you thought it tasted better than some of the food you had there! The arancini sounds like heaven!

    Jodie x

  • Well, I’m bloody hungry after reading all that! The pumpkin pasta looks and sounds drool-worthy. And wine that has chocolate notes?? Sign me up


  • Aw man, we don’t have a Strada here in Exeter anymore. Pumpkin and sage pasta is my faaaavourite!! (On the other hand it’s very easy to make, I always serve it at my NYE dinner party cos it’s so simple and a crowd pleaser!) xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Food, Travel, Italy

  • That tiramisu looks GORGE, now I have major cravings. Gimme x


  • I’m usually the same way about chain restaurants: a little skeptical, and much more likely to go to someplace independent… BUT I’ve also been proven wrong and found some nice chain places!

    Nellwyn | http://www.thecardinalpress.com