Frascati, Mickleham, Surrey RH5 6EH - restaurant review

Nestling at the foot of Box Hill, Frascati offers a truly authentic Italian experience - and their Mafia Gateaux is to die for... JOHN HUGHES went along to give it a try

Almost everyone I know has dined at Frascati at one time or another and I've lost count of the recommendations I've received. Yet it was only when invited to review this well established and thoroughly traditional Italian restaurant in Mickleham that I discovered for myself what appeals to so many. Now I wish I'd done it years ago. Dinner at Frascati is about as Italian as you can get - the ambience, the service, the cuisine, the humour, it has it all, and once seated it's hard to imagine that the busy A24 and not a view across the Bay of Naples exists just outside the door. Mouthwatering menu The menu (written in Italian with English subtitles) is comprehensive and frankly mouthwatering. For starters, I chose Insalata Tricolore, the ingredients of which - avocado, mozzarella and tomato - reflect the colours of the Italian flag. Meanwhile, Helen, our photographer, enjoyed a generous portion of Calamari Fritti - fried squid. As a main I was tempted by the Saltimbocca Romana - veal topped with Parma ham, sage and white wine - chiefly because I had the same dish the week before in another Surrey Italian and was curious to compare the two. Frascati won hands down with more flavour in both the veal and ham, not overpowered by herbs and sauce. Helen had Petto di Pollo Milanese - chicken in breadcrumbs cooked in butter and served with spaghetti, another generous dish that had her struggling to finish. We shared a selection of vegetables and fried potatoes - the former was also potato based and could have been a greener selection for my taste, but good nevertheless. Then, with the arrival of the ubiquitous dessert trolley came the highlight of the evening - not just any old homemade dessert like mamma used to make, but nothing less than Mafia Gateaux - yes really! A great mound of a pudding, reminiscent of a cherry-studded bomb, and when a generous slice came my way the taste was no disappointment - in fact it would be a crime to miss it! Helen's strawberry cheesecake looked positively meek by comparison. Perusing the wine list earlier, I had been drawn to the house special, which seemed highly appropriate - Frascati Superiore 2007. A crisp, clean, refreshing choice, it was also available in a half bottle, always a welcome sight for the driver of the evening. We went along to Frascati early on a midweek evening. On arrival, the dining room was fairly empty but by the time we left it was packed, an indication that here is a restaurant with a reputation and satisfied regulars that has passed the test of time. I should imagine booking is a must at weekends. I found it a welcoming and very relaxed place to dine, and as Arnie would say: "I'll be back."

What we ateStarters Insalata Tricolore �5.50 Calamari Fritti �6.00 Main Courses Petto di Pollo Milanese �8.75 Saltimbocca Romana �9.75 Selection of vegetables �3.50 Fried potatoes �1.00 Dessert Mafia Gateaux �4.00 Strawberry Cheescake �4.00 Wine Frascati Superiore �8.00 (half bottle) VERDICT Food & wine 8/10 Service 8/10 Venue 8/10

3 other traditional Italian restaurants in SurreyTrevi, 31 Station Approach, West Byfleet KT14 6NF: 01932 336606 At this family-run restaurant, the traditional Italian cuisine is outstanding and you can always be sure of a warm welcome. The Spaghetti Tree, 1 Walton Street, Walton-on-the-Hill KT20 7RW: 01737 819919 With beautiful views overlooking Walton Pond and Walton Heath, The Spaghetti Tree is another family-run business that prides itself on food that is traditional, fresh and affordable. La Veranda, 18-19 The Parade, Beynon Road, Carshalton SM5 3RL: 020 8647 4370 Specialising in authentic Italian cuisine, La Veranda boasts an exhaustive menu and an extensive wine list - which brings people back time and time again.

Reviewed in Surrey Life magazine September 2008REVIEWED: Frascati, London Road, Mickleham, nr Dorking, Surrey RH5 6EH Tel: 01372 373950Nestling at the foot of Box Hill, Frascati offers a truly authentic Italian experience - and their Mafia Gateaux is to die for... JOHN HUGHES went along to give it a try 

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