"There's not many restaurants in town that we're yet to visit - inexplicably Villaggio was one of them - the collection of mixed reviews we've received since it opened four years ago, possibly pushed it further down the 'to do' list. Interestingly, the reviews were fairly accurate if this visit was anything to go by .
The service was fantastic, very friendly, welcoming and with a warm sense of humour. The exposed brickwork, wooden floors, open space and bright lighting adding a modern attractive touch to proceedings. Prices were very reasonable too with a 3 course meal available at just £9.95 making the experience even more affordable.
Sadly, the food didn't reach the same levels. Whilst portion sizes were huge, from the piping hot Funghi all' Aglio (£4.25) to the humongous Pesce Spada con Pomodoro (£12.50), quantity over quality seemed to be the approach. The Pesce Spada (swordfish) was gigantic but was so overcooked it tasted like tuna steak and the tomato sauce it was covered in couldn't hide the dryness. This was in stark contrast to the Swordfish skewers we enjoyed at MC Cafe Bar & Grill the following night which, whilst considerably smaller, left a far better impression and were cooked to perfection. Maybe the chef at Villaggio should take a quick walk along Canal Street to the Abode and check out the difference in quality.
And that's possibly the point about Villaggio. Despite being slap bang in the middle of Canal Street, there are plenty of better alternatives in this area. The likes of Tropeiro (now closed), Velvet and Taurus are all in the village, whilst City Cafe, Michael Caines, MC Cafe and Malmaison are barely two minutes walk away. They're missing a trick really as the service, pricing and location should make it one of the busiest restaurants in Manchester. As it is, we've ticked it off the 'to do' list but it sadly won't be making the 'to do again and again' list." ~ Restaurants Of Manchester (14/10/09 visited on a Weds evening )