Heading out for a few relaxing drinks in Chester on a chilly Friday night, I suddenly had a real craving for an authentic taste of Italy.

Not pre-booking a table at La Fattoria on Lower Bridge Street (just opposite Oddfellows) normally means it’s game-over in terms of getting a seat at one of Chester’s busiest and most popular night spots.

But as the old adage goes, if you don’t ask you don’t get, and after a 10-minute wait we were sat down with drinks orders being taken. A great result, especially as walk-in diners began to be turned away by the apologetic staff shortly after. Booking is very much recommended if you’re calling in.

Now onto the good part: the food is absolutely delicious at La Fattoria. The starters looked plentiful, so we opted for some traditional bruschetta and olives, which made for a gratifying start to the meal, washed down by a rich glass of sauvignon blanc.

It was now well past 9pm, yet the restaurant retained it’s crackling atmosphere throughout the evening. It can often be disappointing if a busy restaurant floor quickly clears as the evening draws on, yet La Fattoria maintains a tremendous ambiance long into the night, even allowing for the long clanging of pots and pans from the staff to celebrate a birthday on the adjacent table.

Onto the main event, as I opted for the Ravioli Sofia, which consisted of perfectly textured pasta filled with lobster and crab meat, cooked with garlic, mushroom, prawn and cream sauce.

It was delectable and I’d have no hesitation in ordering the dish on my inevitable return, such was the quality of the food.

My friend opted for Tagliatelle al Salmone, with salmon, peas and a cream sauce, and the reports were instantly positive of a well-seasoned dish, with both mains extremely filling and leaving us pleased not to have overloaded
on the starters.

Both truly stuffed from a pasta feast, we turned down the option of a desert although I opted for an espresso to finish things off.

This was one slight disappointment on the night
as a 15-minute wait followed to bring the coffee over. However,
the staff had been most attentive to that point.

Overall it’s clear to see why
La Fattoria retains it’s status as one of Chester’s go-to restaurants and certainly would struggle to be beaten in terms of Italian cuisine in the city centre.

With a buzzing atmosphere and splendid food, it represents superb value for money and I wouldn’t hesitate to return.