Restaurant review: Zio Pin, Italian restaurant- Albany Road, Cardiff

In keeping with the Italian theme of my most recent restaurant review, I’m writing about a meal I had a few weeks ago at Zio Pin Italian restaurant on Albany Road, Cardiff. 

An independent restaurant run by the Bertelli family who are originally from Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, Zio Pin has to be one of the longest-standing restaurants on Albany Road. Apparently, my mother won a radio competition for a meal here when I was just a baby – 27 years ago – and it was just as highly regarded back then as it is today. In fact, Zio Pin actually opened its doors 10 years before I was even been born, making it almost 40 years old. 

Visiting Zio Pin on a Friday evening, the restaurant was filled with a mixed crowd of couples, families and friends, and we were lucky to get a table for two. We spotted a few Italians dining in the restaurant, which we took as a sign that we had come to the right place for some decent Italian food.

The menu offers all the usual suspects for a traditional Italian restaurant, from freshly baked pizzas and pasta dishes to meat, poultry and seafood. Prices are on par with what you’d expect too, with mains ranging from £5.95 to £15.25. If you order from the set menu, you can get two courses for £9.95 at lunchtime, or £12.95 in the evening. 

To start, I munched on a hunk of course chicken liver pâté spread over lightly toasted, crunchy bread and served with an unnecessary, yet colourful side salad of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and grated carrot (£4.95). 

Pate, fresh bread and side salad

Meanwhile, my guest played it safe with a prawn cocktail. Although the presentation could have been better, this was brimming with tasty king prawns, drenched in a delicious Thousand Island dressing, sitting atop a crisp side salad (£5.25). Classic and simple, it reminded me of the prawn cocktail my Nan used to serve before dinner on Christmas Day.

Prawn cocktail

My main course of tagliatelle al salmone consisted of fresh pasta ribbons coated in a silky sauce of cream, tomatoes and white wine, interspersed with succulent smoked salmon morsels (£9.45). 

Tagliatelle al salmone, Zio Pin, Cardiff

My guest’s spaghetti marinara consisted of a mound of al dente spaghetti crammed with juicy mussels, tender king prawns and clams in an aromatic tomato, garlic and basil sauce (£9.45). 

Spaghetti alla marinara

We both agreed that this was the most authentic Italian meal we’ve had the pleasure of eating for some time now, and I have no doubt that we will return again in the very near future. The tagliatelle alla salmone was one of the tastiest pasta dishes I’ve ever had and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again on my next visit to Zio Pin; although I’m just as tempted to work my way through the entire menu. As we were so full up on pasta, we didn’t have enough room left for dessert, so we left it at that. Next time, I’ll be ploughing straight on with my main to make sure I’ve got room left for some homemade limoncello!

Zio Pin
74 Albany Road
Cardiff
CF24 3RS
(029) 2048 5673
www.ziopin.com

I’d love to hear about your all-time favourite Italian dish. Why not drop me a message in the comment box below?

8 Comments

  1. Ariel Wilstead
    April 23, 2017 / 7:32 pm

    This meal sounds so delicious and even though I just ate, I would find room for that amazing pasta you had! I must figure out how to make that for my family. It may not be as authentic but I bet it would become a family favorite! Any ideas on how they went about making it?
    Currently, my favorite Italian meal is similar to the one you had. Instead of salmon though, I make mushrooms and spinach in a very creamy sauce. I always make extra sauce to soak up with a piece of warm bread- and having leftovers never hurts right?
    What do you constantly find on all of these amazing Italian menus (besides the usual)?

    • April 24, 2017 / 2:58 pm

      Thank you for your comment 🙂 It sure was a tasty meal. I believe you can make the salmon pasta using creme fraiche, lemon juice and salmon (with some good fresh tagliatelle). I like the idea of using mushrooms and spinach instead though. I think a good Italian menu is honest and simple, not too extensive – quality over quantity!

  2. April 25, 2017 / 12:01 pm

    I absolutely adore Italian food and that tagliatelle al salmone looks divine. I haven’t been to Cardiff, but if I go soon I am definitely going there.

    • April 27, 2017 / 5:38 pm

      I highly recommend that dish. Cardiff has lots of fab restaurants – let me know if you decide to visit and I can recommend a few others for you!

  3. April 26, 2017 / 10:09 am

    The spaghetti marinara is bit new to me but I would really love to try end. Mussels on a spaghetti is not very common but very interesting. Ahh this makes me hungry!

    • April 27, 2017 / 5:36 pm

      I’m sure you’d love it (although, that said, I am a bit squeamish about seafood!)

  4. April 26, 2017 / 10:07 pm

    Got to love a good prawn cocktail, in fact I really fancy one right now! The food looks and sounds lovely!

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