We booked a table at Diva Italiana for a Friday night, dinner with G and V. Having read good things about this restaurant I have been keen to try it for a while.
The restaurant is tucked away down Booth’s Yard in Pudsey, and sells itself as a traditional Italian-owned trattoria.
They have a small outdoor patio so drinks were taken here, on one of the hottest days of the year so far (at last!). So Peroni beer and Bellinis were served all round. I went with the traditional peach bellini but V went with the watermelon bellini, served in a tumbler, with gold leaf topping. We all had to stick our fingers in poor V’s drink to see what the gold leaf tasted of. Nothing is the answer, more for decoration than flavour!
We were seated upstairs promptly at 8pm. I had already checked out the menu online but it was slightly different when we arrived – more decisions to make! The menu contains pizza, pasta and a range of meat and fish dishes plus a few specials were explained by our waiter. A huge selling point for this restaurant is that the pasta is made in-house, using imported Italian eggs and I was determined to try it. It also says on their website that if you want something special not on the menu, like Lobster or Dover Sole, to let them know in advance and they will cook it for you.
They also bring bread to the table and everyone gets a plate with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. I am always impressed by this gesture, as many restaurants expect you to order bread and it is put on the bill.
A and I chose to share the antipasti plate for starter. It seems to change depending on what is in the kitchen on a given night – we had a selection of ham, mushroom and tomato bruscetta and a tomato flavoured rice in breadcrumbs (I am sure this has an Italian name but am not sure what it is!). Overall, this was a lovely light starter and feels very traditionally Italian.
G had the goat’s cheese in pastry starter and V had the mushrooms in a puff pastry basket. These were good although V commented she had hoped for more flavour from the mushrooms.
For mains, I chose the tagliatelle with sea bass. Time to try the homemade pasta! It was excellent. Small chunks of sea bass with olive oil. A nice dish, not over-sauced so you can really appreciate the pasta.
A had salami pizza which was good. He ordered some chips to go with it.
V ordered lasagne, which she commented she wouldn’t normally order as she can make it at home. This was great lasagne, though, with many layers of pasta. It looked very similar to the one I had in Venice a few years ago – lots of pasta and not too much meat.
G had suckling pig – no photo of that, but G said it was outstanding, and passed on compliments to the chef!
We also had garlic pizza bread to go with our mains. There is a handy metal frame that they place in the middle of the table to balance it on!
V and I had pudding. Another chance for me to have panna cotta, which I also had at Jamie’s Italian last week. It was good but a bit of an overkill on the strawberry sauce.
V had the cheesecake, which also looked homemade and very tasty.
We managed to get through two bottles of reasonably priced pinot grigio with the meal, and the lads got through a fair bit of peroni.
I would highly recommend this restaurant – it is probably Pudsey’s best kept secret. The place was full on a Friday night, and this is not surprising. The food is very authentic and service is efficient and friendly. The bill came to around £40 each, but that included a lot of wine and food. You could have a much cheaper meal here, however, if you don’t drink as much as we do, or take advantage of the early bird special.
A side issue - G is on a mission to find Banoffee pie in Leeds - he says he is always disappointed when it doesn't appear on a pudding menu. Any ideas, post a comment!