Review: Vitoria


Emerging ‘Vitorius’! Alex Chase (he/him) reviews one of York's newest Italian restaurants.

Article Image

Image by Alex Chase- Vitoria smoked salmon penne with Napoli sauce

By Alex Chase

Occasionally the weekly YUSU email dredges up something that raises my eyebrows, and during October it was the announcement that York Restaurant Week had come around. For those not in the loop, this is a bi-annual event where York restaurants do a series of offers to entice people to visit York and try some of the delicious food options that are available from different independent restaurants. It’s like the Eat Out To Help Out scheme without the looming dread of a service industry collapse. I am a sucker for a good deal, so I flicked through the restaurants listed and found one that was particularly appealing: Vitoria.

This relatively new Italian restaurant was offering a deal of two courses for £15 and three courses for £20. Intending on taking the £15 deal, I rang ahead and the friendly waitress (who responded very quickly, even though I can imagine the bookings were starting to fill up!) booked me in for the Saturday night. Despite the booking I had to wait a bit for a table to become available, however, this was a minor inconvenience at most; the staff were very kind throughout and  apologised for the wait. Of course, this extra wait allowed me to investigate the restaurant a bit further.

The Coppergate building is a wonderful mix of the classic wood and brick of York’s past. One slightly baffling decision was to have a pillar in front of the bar. This squeezed the already tight space between the pizza oven and the bar, making it look a bit frustrating for some of the waiters and chefs trying to get between them. However, this did nothing to the wait time for the food; from what I could see, everyone was getting their food within five minutes or so of ordering, and not a single member of staff failed to pull their weight, even with the restaurant at capacity.

As for the food, it was marvellous. For starters, I had a cheese and ham croquette, and whilst I only got one, its preparation and presentation was fantastic. Rarely do you find a croquette which can be both crispy and soft at the same time. The cheese inside was perfectly stringy in texture, and the pieces of ham enhanced the flavour. The fact it was generously coated in aioli was definitely a plus.

For my main, the choice was obvious from the York Restaurant Week (YRW) set menu: the pasta. While I do not doubt the pizza there was delicious, especially given the ceramic pizza oven in the open-plan kitchen, I believe that pasta is the true test of strength for an Italian restaurant. Vitoria more than rose to that challenge! While the mushroom risotto and Timballo pasta pie sounded delicious, I just had to try the smoked salmon penne with Napoli sauce. This did not disappoint, as each bite told its own story, with more spinach and salmon being coated onto them the further down you went in the bowl. As well as this, the Napoli sauce was perfectly-mixed through the dish. If I had one complaint regarding the sauce, it’s that it could have used more garlic, but this is a personal preference more than anything else.

Originally I had planned to finish after the two courses, but then something caught my eye: tiramisu for only an extra £5. Now I’m no expert in tiramisu, but I have only ever heard good things about them. Seeing as this is the only time I’d be able to get a tiramisu for such a relatively non-outrageous price, I decided to go for it. Overall it was pretty good; not amazing, though much of that is down to my personal preference. The warm chocolate sauce that it was garnished with was certainly enough for me to recommend it.

Regarding price, the bill had the service charge added to it (10 percent), but even then I felt it was worth leaving a £2 tip since the staff had all been fantastic. Now I will say that I didn’t order any drinks. Not only because the previous evening I had been at Glasshouse’s karaoke evening long enough to sample every flavour of shot they offered for less than £2, (as well as to give an ill-advised cover of ‘Viva Las Vegas’), but also because like with many restaurants, the drinks there were quite expensive.

Of course, as a student, I only came because of the deal, and while very pleased with what I found, I will admit that without it, my wallet could have taken a hit. However, this is why I do not recommend going to Vitoria for dinner… you should go for lunch instead. I told you I like a good deal, and from what I’ve heard, Vitoria doesn't just save all their deals for York Restaurant Week. If what I’ve read is to be believed, then before 6pm on a weekday, you can get yourself selected pizza and pasta dishes for only £9.50; a bargain if you ask me!

Overall, Vitoria is a fantastic restaurant for any occasion, and I hope that my trip there will be the first of many.

Vitoria York Italian Bar And Tapas Restaurant
24-26 Coppergate,
York YO1 9NR