La Lupa has been down on Poole Quay for as long as I can remember. It’s stood the test of time when so many restaurants (even on this tourist hotspot strip) haven’t seen out a year.
It’s easy to see why – the decor and food is no-nonsense, traditional, authentic Italian, run by an Italians and frequented by Italians. If that’s not a testament to the place’s authenticity I don’t know what is!
The menu consists of all the Italian classics that you’d expect, along with some more lavish seafood dishes and hearty steaks if you really want to treat yourself.
I visited La Lupa with a friend following a long cycle ride from Bournemouth to Poole Quay (a lovely route along the seafront, through Lilliput and across Whitecliff into Baiter Park – a lovely route if you fancy a long-ish cycle!), so I was famished by the time I arrived. I demolished the complimentary breadcrumbs as if they were plankton and of course opted for a starter of cheesy garlic bread along with my main.
The starter on cheesy garlic bread was very rich indeed. The cheese was mozzarella which was seasoned lightly with herbs, salt and pepper. The bread tasted like it had been shallow fried in the smallest amount of olive oil, which was really delicious, but I certainly couldn’t have polished off more than the two small slices included in the portion. It was just the right amount without spoiling what was inevitably going to be a carb-fest of a main course.
I’m not a huge fan of seafood (read: fish fingers is about all I can stomach!), so the menu is cut down quite a lot for me. There’s still plenty of choice for a fussy eater like me to select from!
For my main I went for spaghetti carbonara – one of my all-time favourite Italian dishes and one that I ate almost daily when I went to Sorrento quite a few years ago. Spaghetti, bacon, and a rich egg sauce – what’s not to love?
I was initially shocked by the size of the portion. The way the food is presented is with a small circle of food in the centre of a large plate. It’s a trick of the eye, however, as the central part is in fact more of a bowl so there’s some depth to the portion… more than enough to have you ‘over-full’. Just as the Italians like their food served!
The meal was delicious, with a perfect amount of seasoning, al dente texture on the spaghetti and a more egg-based than cream-based sauce, which is my preference. The lardons were extremely salty and flavorsome which permeated throughout the entire dish beautifully.
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My companion opted for a humble tomato-based pasta dish, which I was assured was deliciously simple in flavouring. No-one does simple yet mouth-watering food quite like the Italians!
La Lupa is the perfect destination for some brilliant authentic Italian food (from memory I can vouch that the pizzas are also fantastic!). The atmosphere is also really warm and inviting, and the staff are very accommodating for large parties – with a room towards the back of the restaurant which is often booked out for large parties and can seat approximately 25 people.
Have you been to La Lupa? Where would you suggest I visit next on Poole Quay?