There is certainly no shortage of choice when it comes to dining out in Lytham.
While the likes of Portofino and Vida have disappeared from the scene in recent months, the options generally appear to be increasing all the time with the Piazza – or Clifton Square to give it its traditional title – a particular hive of activity.
Bosco is coming up to 10 years old and while a host of other restaurants have appeared in the Square in that time, including its own ‘younger sister’ Shambles, it has stood the test of time, offering Italian-themed fare at reasonable prices.
Not long ago, when I was busy elsewhere, my wife and daughter went along there for lunch and raved about it for some time afterwards.
So, in search of an early Saturday afternoon meal, we resolved that it was time to try it as a threesome.
Just to be certain of not being disappointed, I had tried to book by phone a couple of days earlier but gave up after the phone rang out rather too long - presumably a sign the staff were tied up serving a packed restaurant.
So in the absence of an on-line booking option, I successfully made the approach via Facebook and we were shown to a well-appointed table in the centre of the premises on arrival.
We certainly couldn’t fault the view from where we sat, offering a full panorama of bustling Clifton Street as well as the chance to watch visitors and locals alike simply relaxing in the sun in the picturesque Square.
Being a big fan of goats’ cheese, the first thing I noticed about the list of starters was that there were actually two options for those of us who enjoy that particular delicacy, which too many eateries fail to offer even once.
Baked goats cheese was available at £7, but I opted for Crostini Formaggi - the delightfully tangy cheese melted onto toasted bread, accompanied by mixed leaves in a honey mustard dressing (£6.95) which was absolutely delicious.
My wife opted to start with the Bruschetta Pomodoro (£5), toasted bread soaked in olive oil and topped with juicy tomatoes, which she similarly rated as an excellent appetiser, while our teenage daughter was just as happy with her opener – a ciabatta bread (£3), which was served warm, with an oil and balsamic dip.
For mains, amid a wide choice a pastas and pizzas, I went for Risotto al Funghi (£12.50), deliciously fresh-tasting rice with chicken and mushroom.
I have to admit I am not the biggest fan of cubed chicken, preferring ‘rough cuts’ in such a dish, but it was certainly tasty and a very generous portion.
Mrs D was impressed with her Tagliatelle con Salmone (£12.50) and we were both especially delighted that when the offer of parmesan cheese came, it was the freshly-grated variety, which it seems is all too rare a treat in restaurants these days.
Meanwhile, the teen’s choice was a margherita pizza (£8.75), which filled the plate and was declared very tasty, with the delightfully thin base being especially well-received.
We were all too full to contemplate desserts but I opted to finish with an espresso - and particular credit here twice over.
I always think a good espresso is a prime indicator of any Italian restaurant’s quality and this one was especially strong and memorable - at just £1.60, even less than a takeaway from one of the coffee chains which proliferate in our town centres and beyond.
It made for a very satisfying conclusion indeed to a lovely family meal at a restaurant which oozed quality, offering what we felt was a big city ‘vibe’ without the big city prices - and how refreshing that it is open all day every day to save having to consult the watch or scout around for other options when the hunger pangs bite.
Service was efficient throughout, if a little more clinical than warm and friendly, and our bill, with soft drinks, came to £57.50, which we felt was excellent value.
We promised ourselves we would be back soon – I already have my eyes on that other goat’s cheese starter.