Ristorante Pieno is the perfect place for a Pizza or Pasta before a show at the Theatre Royal (or a leisurely meal any time).

This is a truly family-run Italian restaurant offering a range of menus across the day, celebrating healthy, hearty and tasty Mediterranean cuisine. Roshi, his wife Annie Lennox Kanushi and their nephew, Apostole, opened their first business, Caffe Pieno in Jordanhill in 2017,  which they managed for five years. 

This was a popular neighbourhood café but they decided to expand and open an Italian Ristorante.  Finding the perfect location on Hope Street, it was all set to open in March 2020 … but sadly their plans were drastically changed.  

Coping with Covid restrictions and lockdowns, the launch of their exciting new business finally took place in May 2021. There are no less than seven members of the Kanushi family at Ristorante Pieno, with Roshi and Apostole, front of house, another nephew, Antonio as barman, Roshi’s brother and wife in charge of the kitchen. As mother of a four year old boy, Annie is at home with the important role of managing the paperwork.  The staff is also made up with a mix of friends and new recruits for the team of waiters.  

Despite the delay in opening, Ristorante Pieno very quickly wowed happy diners, critics and also the judges for Hospitality awards.The great news is that during the first year, they won Best Restaurant in Glasgow (Food Awards 2022) and also Best Family Run Restaurant (Italian Awards 2022).

Roshi, Apostole and staff proudly showing off their Glasgow Restaurant of the Year award

“We really can’t believe that we got the honour of winning the award. We didn’t go into it thinking we would win anything, we just wanted to take some of our staff for a night out to celebrate getting nominated.’

Annie Lennox Kanushi

A wonderful achievement indeed so time to plan a visit and check out what’s so special about Ristorante Pieno.  The word Pieno in Italian means being feeling full and satisfied after a superb meal – as the Australian Film Director George Miller describes in his quotation in the menu.

My partner and I arrived at 5pm for a pre-theatre supper before going to see Scottish Ballet at the Theatre Royal, which is immediately opposite so this really is the ideal address.  We were welcomed most warmly by Apostole and then looked after, with friendly, personal attention, by Danny who is from Romania.  

As this is a new restaurant, the décor and design is smart, modern and comfortable with well-spaced tables and a banquette along the far wall.  There’s also attractive artwork and vintage photographs to illustate the La Dolce Vita.

While it was quiet on arrival, by 5.30pm the place was packed with no free tables at all. Clearly everyone was off to the Ballet!

The pre-theatre menu is served Sunday – Thursday 5pm-7pm; 2 courses, £17.45 or 3 courses, £20.95.  There’s an appetising selection of Starters and Ken chose Arancini Formaggio, large, fat breaded risotto balls with peas and mozzarella, served with a green salad and tomato dip.  I had a tiny taste and the cheesy rice texture was so rich and creamy. 

Arancini Formaggio – mozzarella rice balls

As this dish is rather filling, I had Bruschetta Classica, but my goodness, what a generous portion.  Two large slices of garlic bread smothered with fresh juicy tomatoes marinated with garlic and fresh basil with a drizzle of sweet balsamic. 

Brushetta Classica – two large slices of garlic bread covered in tomato

Meanwhile, we sipped a glass or two of the House White wine, Riva Bianco (£21.95), from the north of Italy, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco, with a refreshing crisp taste.

A good choice of Italian wines by the glass and bottle

The menu is well laid out and each dish may include a series of numbers, 1 – 14, which refers to the Allergens listed at the foot of the page : gluten, celery, egg, milk, mustard, sesame seeds etc. 

Then to the main event and it just had to be Pizza.   We both chose Pizza Funghi, described as hand-stretched, stone-baked, topped with Pieno’s own tomato basil sauce, mozzarella and sliced mushrooms.

From our view on the banquette, we could see Costandini, the Pizziaolo from Romania hard at work in front of the hot oven.  I had requested a softly baked pizza with no crunchy crust and this is exactly what I was given. Simply perfect!  Ensure you are hungry before arriving for a meal here, as the pizzas are huge, 12” in diameter.  

Pizza Funghi – hand-made with love

A few other main courses on the Pre-theatre menu include favourite pizzas – Margarita, Pollo Picante (spicy chicken) and Pepperoni; Spaghetti Bolognaise, Penne Arrabbiatta, as well as Seabass and Italian beef stew. These last two dishes as well as Gluten free pasta and vegetarian mozzarella have a small supplement.   A choice of side dishes too such as Garlic Bread, Foccacia, Insalata Caprese and Fries.  

This was an excellent Italian feast so no dessert for us, but their signature Tiramisu is a classic: espresso soaked lady fingers infused with Italian liqueurs, layered with creamy mascarpone and dusted with cocoa. Or finish with a refreshing Gelato.   

Tiramasu with coffee and a liqueur to end your meal in Italian style.

There’s a similar lunch menu for 1, 2 or 3 courses, again excellent value. And if you are not rushing away, why not enjoy a leisurely dinner – the extensive  A la carte menu is very appetising with several sections covering pasta, pizza, risotto, pollo, carne and pesce.

As well as wines, fizz, beers, spirits, and soft drinks, you may be tempted by a range of Italian-themed cocktails.

Colourful cocktails, Aperol, Limoncello and Elderflower Spritz

Although just open for two years, Pieno is very popular with theatre-goers –(for a matinee or evening show, just a 2 minute stroll across the road to the Theatre Royal). Roshi and the team also welcome friends from their former cafe and new customers who are now regulars as these reviews illustrate:  

‘My family and I have been going to this wonderful restaurant since it opened and before that, to Roshi and Annie’s Caffè in Jordanhill. The food is amazing with lots of options. This is a family who cares about their customers genuinely. I will never get tired of going there’.

‘Lovely authentic Italian restaurant, food absolutely delicious and all fresh ingredients as you can view the chef making the pizza dough. A vast menu, from the 5pm two-course menu to A La Carte’.

‘Lovely food and service. Great atmosphere and location. Easy to reach by train, bus or subway. Spaghetti frutti di mare and Pizza Scoceze 10/10’

Fantastic food, excellent staff, been a few times now and never it disappoints, also very reasonably priced.

‘First time dining at Ristorante Pieno, lovely staff. The lasagne was perfect. Honestly will be recommending to friends and family to try this restaurant. Well worthy of the Best Restaurant in Glasgow Award!

As Annie explains, this is a genuinely family-run business:

We absolutely love what we do. My husband arrives at the restaurant around 8am every day and comes home after all the reservations have been seated with a smile on his face.  We, of course, are very passionate about the food we serve but the service that we provide is really what sets us apart we feel’. 

Do book a table soon to experience the warm hospitality and authentic Italian cuisine.  A great idea is a Ristorante Pieno Gift Voucher and treat someone to a meal at the Glasgow Restaurant of the Year, 2022!

Ristorante Pieno,  311-313 Hope Street, Glasgow, G2 3PT

Tel. 0141 332 7728    reservations@ristorante-pieno.com

Website: https://ristorante-pieno.com/


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About vivdevlin

I am an international travel writer, specialising in luxury travel, hotels, restaurants, city guides, cruises, islands, train and literary-inspired journeys. I review dance and theatre, Arts Festivals and love the visual arts. I have just experienced an epic voyage, circumnavigating the globe, following in the wake of Captain Cook, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson.

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