From outside, Antica isn’t all that different from the other shops and restaurants lining Argyll St in Bath. It’s also next door to another Italian restaurant. But step inside, and Antica is a warm, welcoming little restaurant with gentle lighting and simple décor. It feels like being invited into the heart of an Italian family home, with the addition of cheerful, friendly staff and a few more options available on the menu.
As Italian restaurants go, the menu here is reassuringly short, offering some popular options alongside dishes I have yet to see in the average Italian restaurant, and was therefore excited to try. Having booked an early table with the intention of having drinks afterwards, we decided to skip starters and go straight for main courses. In our party of 8, we chose various plates, from fish, to pizza, pasta and steaks. Everything was perfectly cooked and arrived at the same time.
After a customary sprinkling with parmesan cheese, I tucked into beautifully cooked scallops in a garlic, wine and cream sauce, nested in linguine. The dish was delicious, and the sauce was good enough to eat on its own (and I did, after finishing the scallops and pasta). My friends were similarly happy with their food, and staff were attentive, bringing out extra bread to soak up the sauce from another seafood pasta dish at the other end of our table.
Drinks are reasonably priced, and there is a short wine list. It being a birthday celebration, we opted for a very good prosecco, as well as water with lemon and other soft drinks.
Desserts are perfectly sized for the right amount of after dinner indulgence, and ours were brought out with the addition of birthday fountains in mine and my friend’s (as we have close birthdays, we shared a birthday meal). While the honeycomb cheesecake from the specials board made a good foundation for her birthday fountain, the wobble of my pannacotta did cause a little worry on my part, though thankfully it remained intact while alight. The pannacotta itself was soft and creamy, complimented perfectly by the tang of a berry compote. I’m reliably told that the cheesecake was very good too, but I didn’t get a look-in for a taste!
Overall the meal was very enjoyable and we felt well looked after. For a choice of good food, friendly service and relaxing surroundings, I would thoroughly recommend a visit.
Antica Bath Restaurant, 5 Argyle St, Bath, BA2 4BA, 01225 444499
Open every day, 12pm-10:30pm
Costs £20-£30 a head for 2 courses, plus drinks
Value for money: 9/10