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Paperino’s West End … a flavour of Italy

By on October 15, 2014

When Stefano and Sandro Giovanazzi extended their successful Sauchiehall Street restaurant Paperinos into Byres Road nine years ago, they were really coming home to the West End. Their father Angelo Giovanazzi had opened La Parmigiana on Great Western Road at Kelvinbridge in 1978, a high-quality Italian restaurant with a traditional formality that soon built up a celebrity clientele.

Paperinos, of course, is very different. Not a starched tablecloth in sight. But the family restaurant forte for sourcing great ingredients and making high-quality fresh food is also at the heart of Paperinos’ philosophy, sitting happily alongside a modern and inventive menu. So, no silver, but a friendly and attentive service, another Giovanazzi benchmark.

The Sauchiehall Street Paperino’s closed after 21 years in 2012, as the Byres Road restaurant evolved to include the prosecco bar at the front. And those pavement tables, in such a prominent location almost opposite Hillhead subway, have been popular perches over this year’s long summer.

Inside, the restaurant stretches back in a mix of table sizes, from more intimate booths to large family-friendly tables. This is at the heart of Paperino’s appeal, a restaurant that can be enjoyed by all generations, not just with a thoughtful menu, but with comfortable seating in a relaxed atmosphere and a spacious setting. With pizzas a speciality here, Paperinos has been a popular choice for celebrating our family’s birthdays in recent years. However, on our latest visit, it was just lunch for two and the chance to take some time out of a busy working day …

There is a wide range of starters – some in substantial portions – from garlic bread (£3.95) and mozzarella sticks (£5.95) to Antipasto di Salumi (£7.95) and Hot Smoked Salmon Salad (£6.45).
We munched on a pizza bread focaccia (£6.90), golden crisp and soft inside and drizzled in pesto, and succulent calamari fritti (£5.95) that were perfectly-cooked.

Stefano was chuffed to report one reviewer’s opinion of the pesto, made by Paperino’s to their own recipe: “Paperino’s has the best pesto outside of Genoa”. I can’t vouch for that, never having been to Genoa. But we suspect they’re correct. The pesto is superb – fresh and pungent with basil but also sweet and buttery with pecorino and olive oil and a hint of pine nut crunch that does the Ligurian dish proud.

For mains we chose chicken and mushroom risotto (£9.90) and the bold and beautiful Tagliatelle Nere allo Scoglio (13.95), a striking squid ink black tagliatelle with seafood. The risotto combined a perfect bite of rice with a smooth creamy edge to the woody spike of mushroom, filling but delicious. The pasta was plump with prawns and mussels, the tangy white wine sauce containing a little more than the suggested hint of chilli.

A couple of glasses of crisp prosecco (Fantinel extra dry at £4.50 a glass) were enough to see us through this sumptuous lunch. But the risotto – or maybe it was the five slices of focaccia – ended my hopes of attempting an ice cream … Next time, we’ll check out the £5.99 Presto lunch menu (12 – 6.30pm Mon-Thurs & 12 -5pm Friday ), a selection of pizzas, pastas, burgers, focaccia and mussels.

* Paperino’s West End, 227 Byres Road, 0141 334 3811

Paperinos in Byres Road


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