La Collina





Uniting the foodie tribes of Galway, I’d heard nothing but great thing about La Collina, a popular Italian restaurant in Salthill. So, on a weekend escape with pal Rena, it was hot on my agenda.

Relatively small, seating only about fifty, but well-spaced, with no one being squashed up against each other for the sake of extra tables, the interior of La Collina is tasteful and modern. We grabbed a table by the windows to add a little bit of people watching to our meal, and began perusing the menu, which is extensive, with something guaranteed to please everyone.

For starters, classic faves like crostini and bruschetta are available, as is garlic bread, with or without cheese. You could have fresh Galway mussels cooked either in a garlic tomato salsa or a garlic and white wine sauce, or their tasty polpette in umido - lovely moist homemade meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce. I kicked things off with crespelle all Fiorentina, which were delicious fresh homemade crepes filled with ricotta cheese and baby spinach, and oven baked in a tomato salsa. Rena went for the taglioni al limone, a lovely pasta and prawn dish, which she enjoyed immensely in its cream and lemon zest sauce with a generous helping of fruits de mer.

For the mains, there’s a huge selection of made-on-the-day homemade pasta, like fusilli con pollo e peperone, with the familiar little swirls being served up with marinated chicken, roast peppers and a tomato & herb sauce; or fettucine con pollo e funghi - fettucine with chicken and mushrooms. Standards like spaghetti Bolognese and carbonara are there, as is lasagne. Fishy fans will be delighted by the likes of fusilli with smoked salmon and a white wine and cream sauce, or, for the clam fans, linguine alle vongole, which is one of my fave dishes. The meat minded aren’t left out, with a menu of succulent tranches to be considered, from 10oz Irish sirloin with a green pepper sauce or garlic butter; pan fried medallions of veal; as well as a slow-braised shank of lamb served with wholegrain mustard and rosemary sauce. They also have a wide array of pizzas to choose from ranging from the old Margherita or Hawaiian to the La Collina special with fresh spinach, mushrooms and a fresh egg. I decided to try out their beet pasta, choosing a dish called fettuccine primavera. The fettuccine was the expected tagliatelle-like ribbons but was a rich beety pink colour. Fresh, tasty, and definitely one I’d recommend, it went down a treat with its fresh spinach, field mushrooms, courgette and roasted peppers. Rena however kept to her fishy theme ordering a delicious dish of pan-fried fresh fillet of seabass with garlic butter.

In the mood to spoil ourselves, we happily accepted the dessert menu, which had chocolate cake; tiramisu; as well as a gluten-free creme brulee. A caramel and honeycomb Charlotte was rich decadent delight for me, whilst Rena’s piece lemon cheesecake was tasty and tart, just the thing to cap off a great meal.

If you love Italian food, you'll love La Collina.