San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo is an Italian restaurant that has two bases, one in Gosforth and one in Washington. This review is from the Washington restaurant.

With very few options for a bite out, San Lorenzo has taken it upon themselves to create a modern, Italian dining experience in the heart of Washington’s community.

On arrival, we could tell the restaurant was busy as the carpark the restaurant has available to its customers was almost full. When we walked in, our initial impression was correct – the place was rammed! Considering it was only midweek, I couldn’t believe my eyes particularly at how many groups there were. A good sign of things to come… Although our table wasn’t ready, we had drinks (from the vast range available) at that bar whilst we waited. I went for a refreshing Hendricks Gin and Tonic and my colleague went for a pint of Italian lager Peroni. After around ten minutes, Kara – our waitress on the night – took us to our booth and handed us our menus politely.

The main menu consists of various Breads and Olives, Starters, Meats, Fish, Salads, Sides and the two main powerhouses of Italian cuisine, Pizza and Pasta. I would like to point out with pleasure that San Lorenzo does gluten free options which include bread, pizza and pasta! Wonderful, fabulous, grazie mille! As I’ve just returned from Sorrento, locating gluten free bread, pizza and pasta over there was tricky and even then, I was fairly disappointed when they were available. Therefore, we couldn’t resist and ordered gluten free Garlic Bread at £4.50 along with a starter of Pollo Asiatico at £7.50 which was marinated sesame chicken skewers, cucumber and spring onions and a peanut dipping sauce. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for our starters to arrive as my anticipation was building and my excitement was growing by the second. Yes, it’s been a while since I last ate garlic bread as it is rarely available gluten free in restaurants but I can safely say this garlic bread was the best I’ve ever tasted, like ever! It was brilliant. It was like my subconscious was applauding to the joys of my endorphins. Not only that, but for a moment, it was like I didn’t have Coeliac Disease and I could be happy eating bread again! Tutto Bene San Lorenzo! The trio of succulent chicken skewers – complemented by the thick, smooth and golden peanut sauce – enhanced our delightful start to the evening. Passionate for more, bring on the mains!

Kara, who was a good-humoured and considerate host, brought us back the menu to order our mains. Feeling quite filled but extremely content with our gluten free bread starter, I kept pizza and pasta for another time and we decided to take on San Lorenzo’s meat and fish. We ordered a medium rare 10 ounce Steak with sweet potato fries, tomatoes, mushrooms and salad garnish at £18.95 along with Dianne sauce at £2.50 (it would have been served with onion rings but not for me as they contained gluten) and my colleague went for the Salmon Alla Barbabietola which was oven roasted salmon, crushed new potatoes with olive oil, beetroot salsa and spinach fritter at £15.95. Hung for a minimum 28 days, the local Hadrian’s Heritage steak was cooked perfectly. Juicy and tender with its entire natural flavours bursting out – it was everything you’d want a steak to be. Additionally, I absolutely adored the combination of the steak with the Dianne sauce. No words were required; I was smiling through my eyes. I was in my glory. Cute, vibrant and alluring, my colleague was also in awe of the picturesque presentation of his salmon dish. Crispy on the top and a melt in your mouth base, the salmon was magnificent. The beetroot salsa gave it extra colour, depth and refinement. My colleague thoroughly enjoyed the taste combinations. Both mains were incredibly satisfying but substantial. So much so we couldn’t even attempt dessert.

San Lorenzo has pulled off a masterstroke at their Washington restaurant as it is the only one in the vicinity that delivers awesome food at a good price with superb customer service. If you live in Washington think yourself lucky you have this great restaurant on your doorstep. If you live further afar, it is worth a trip in the car for a couple of drinks and some satisfying scran. I for one cannot wait to return to try some gluten free pizza or pasta and for more garlic bread! Buon Appetito!

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