Housed in the spacious lobby of the Crown Plaza London – The City, Diciannove is easy to find next to the Blackfriars bridge and across from the tube.
At 6pm the place had lively Italian pop songs playing – my guess is the city crowd show up at 8. The busy road outside is muted by triple glazed windows and the interior was pleasant and peaceful.
Getting to grips with the menu, the emphasis on fish and pastas was evident with the entry for each dish carrying the Italian province of origin next to it. Diciannove ( Italian for “19”) is listed here so one assumes the dish is a restaurant specialty.
My waiter was a native Roman and had that mix of brusque earthiness which is the hallmark of that city. Helpful and interested without being too invasive. She was quick to answer questions and popped back to the kitchen for an answer from the chef to a question about the fish.
So what did I eat? After a rather boring bread basket my starter arrived – this was the fish platter normally reserved for 2 but made for one. Delicious dried Tuna, smoked Salmon plus pickled Sardines topped by two Langostines. ..delicious and went down fast.
There is a nice range of mostly pasta choices in the Primi but I went to the Secondi for a main and ordered the char-grilled Swordfish on a Tomato and Rocket salad with an additional side of pasta topped with minced beef and pork ragout.
The swordfish – a difficult fish to cook just right – carried grill marks but was not fresh – my guess is it was pre-charred elsewhere. My waiter confirmed it was not from the fish market but from a supplier. So it was competent and tasty but not what you might hope for from a fish fanciers point of view.
The pasta was tasty and filled the remaining gap after a long hard day at work. After a double espresso the deed was done and – satisfied though not overly impressed – I headed for the tube.
Diciannove: A competent and well appointed Italian restaurant in a good convenient location. Perfect for a business dinner or a meal with friends after work without breaking the bank. No great excitement on the menu however.
Diciannove Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
19 New Bridge Street