It was only going to be a matter of time before I came to review La Bisboccia. This mainstay of the expat circuit has been recommended to me on numerous occasions. However more than once when I've suggested it, the other party groans and says - oh not there! Well finally I made it and I have to say it was nothing like what I expected. I was expecting a kind of faded luxury - a place that's been around for so long it's just going through the motions.
Actually the place does not even offer faded luxury. It's done out in theme-park Italian style with wooden tables and chairs. The crowd is loud and largely foreign - lots of parties and groups. Certainly not the place for a date or important business discussion. It's pretty fun actually and you have to admire the practical approach of a place that, when asked for wine by the glass, has no list but allows you to choose your wine "full bodied" or "light bodied" (which I supposed is a bit like offering art by the square inch - but I'm not classy enough to mind).
The food is actually rather good, if a bit pricey. My dining partner and I ordered deep fried zucchini flowers stuffed with fresh mozzarella and baked scarmoza to start. The zucchini flowers were so-so. I didn't really think they were much to write home about and the cheese filling tasted kind of fishy (maybe it was meant to!). My dining partner thought they were pretty good though, so I'll give it a "pass conceded". The scarmoza was pretty nice, but I felt could have been left in the oven a bit longer, but then again I tend to like baked things a bit overdone. This was followed by a very tasty taglierini with mushroom, prosciutto and pungent truffle oil. My main was a veal scallopini with mozzarella, tomato and white wine sauce. I'm sorry that veal is cruel, but this was delicious. Dessert was a "Boscaiola" prune and almond tart, which was served with out cream or ice cream and was probably better for it. I finished off with a rather nice glass of grappa.
I'd recommend La Bisboccia if you've got a work group or family to entertain. It's not the best value for money for what is really high quality comfort food but the staff are very willing, and after you'll be able to say, like me now, you've been!