Restaurant review: A taste of Italy at San Marcos in Blackpool

Once voted the Fylde coast’s Italian restaurant of the year by our newspaper readers, San Marcos has been part of local people’s family celebrations for years.
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It was the place to go for birthday and anniversary meals when it was located in South Shore – but the owners were sadly forced to close the doors on their Lytham Road restaurant during the coronavirus lockdowns.

So its loyal followers must have been delighted when the San Marcos team reopened in Topping Street in December – in the former Mamma's Ristorante.

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With old favourites including the fillet vesuvio alongside some new dishes and Blackpool's only 23-inch pizzas, we decided to try out what you could describe as a faithful friend in the restaurant world.

San Marcos, Topping Street, BlackpoolSan Marcos, Topping Street, Blackpool
San Marcos, Topping Street, Blackpool

We’d previously dined in the Lytham Road venue for birthday celebrations so knew how popular it was among local residents.

And the Topping Street restaurant has just been awarded a five star food hygiene rating after its latest inspection in January so that’s a positive sign.

Would the new venue live up to its previous reputation? It certainly did – and more.

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There’s full on luxury and glamour inside with blue suede booths, striking wallpaper prints and hanging flowers to give a bright, cheery look.

Calzone at San MarcosCalzone at San Marcos
Calzone at San Marcos

We’d booked in advance through OpenTable for a 5pm Friday sitting, and were impressed by the friendly welcome from staff who offered to hang up our coats and asked if anyone in our party had any allergies.

It’s not something you always hear in restaurants so all credit to them for showing such care and attention.

The authentic Italian menu is packed with all the dishes you’d expect such as spaghetti carbonara (£13.95), lasagna al forno (£12.95) and pizzas with various toppings from ham and mushroom to the San Marcos special which includes two fried eggs and two slices of fillet steak.

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My husband and I decided to share our starters of garlic bread and cheese (£4.75) and calamari (£8.45) – both were delicious and cooked to perfection.

Garlic bread and cheeseGarlic bread and cheese
Garlic bread and cheese

For main course, I opted for the shellfish pasta which was divine: king prawns and clams tossed in white wine, garlic, parsley and with just the right hint of chilli.

The 12 inch calzone alla pizzaiola (£12.50) was my husband’s choice – and he was delighted. It was a huge portion packed with mozzarella, tomato, oregano, mushrooms, ham, salami and olives.

A glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a pint of Peroni were the perfect refreshing accompaniments, and there was the pleasant surprise of a singer performing beautifully in the background while we dined.

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The restaurant is open seven days a week and, although there are some pricier dishes on the menu such as the shellfish pasta (£24.95) and Tournedos Rossini (£32.50), the venue isn’t short of offers like its Early Bird Menu from Sundays to Thursdays and ‘spaghetti to share’ deals.

Pasta dish at San MarcosPasta dish at San Marcos
Pasta dish at San Marcos

The family-run Italian also has Caesars by San Marcos in Cedar Square and has just announced plans to open its third resort restaurant on Highfield Road in the summer.

It’s a happy tale of expanding yet going back to where it all began for the family, who started the original San Marcos on the very same South Shore street.

And with such delicious food and eye for detail, they deserve every success.