With its plain wood furniture, gleaming white walls, and long, stylish bars, Grano is one of those restaurants that perfectly mixes the comfortable and the elegant. This is reflected in a clientele who are very obviously local and loyal. It is always a sign that a restaurant is on the right track when you see solo diners and there were three the night we were there, enjoying the friendly service and cheerful, bustling atmosphere.
The food attempts a similar mix, with a good range of very reasonably priced pizzas and pastas, alongside some more ambitious Italian delicacies. Our experience was that you would do much better to stick to the former. The pizza was superb, with light thin crust that perfectly complemented a sinfully rich topping, while most of the regulars were tucking into large bowls of pasta with evident gusto. There's also a dedicated children's menu (free ice-cream if you finish your meal), suggesting that this would be a good place for a family lunch.
The more elaborate dishes, while perfectly reasonable, did little to justify their higher price tags. A salad of squid and octopus was underseasoned and lacked the bite that these strong-flavoured frutti di mari demand, while veal had its flavour hidden by a powerfully creamy sauce – tasty, but not really worth the guilt.
Still, this is really just nit-picking. In an area that is well served by Italian restaurants, this is one of the better ones, and certainly among the most attractive. Excellent value, especially for those with conservative tastes.
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230 Lavender Hill, SW11 | 2 minutes from Grano
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575 Wandsworth Road, SW8 | 20 minutes from Grano
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1 Hester Road, Battersea, London SW11 | 22 minutes from Grano
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