While Covid lockdowns may have led to the untimely demise of some restaurants in Cheltenham, where one has disappeared, it looks like at least two more have popped up in its place.
The town has always been known as Gloucestershire’s central restaurant but since the pandemic restrictions were lifted there has been a huge influx of new places to eat and eight more have opened recently or are about to open.
One of them is Bosco, a new pizzeria that already exists in Bristol and Bath and has now moved to a fantastic location overlooking the Imperial Gardens in the new Quadrangle complex.
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Does Cheltenham really need another pizzeria?
The question must be asked. We already have countless places to enjoy the best of Italy, including the newly opened Franco Manca at The Prom, not to mention Fat Toni’s, Prezzo, Pizza Express, Ask Italian, Zizzi’s and the ubiquitous Domino’s, which has several branches.
That’s not counting the many other eateries on the streets of the city and probably other small restaurants loved by the locals, which are too numerous to mention here.
Well, Bosco has a lot of options for that. Its location, overlooking the park and the Queen’s Hotel, must be one of the most iconic views in Cheltenham.
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And guys, their designers did a good job on this place. With a large area on the ground floor of The Quadrangle, the L-shaped restaurant has plenty of lids inside and out, with a long bar, pizza making area and lovely semi-circular booths to cozy up in.
Outside, there are tables set right around, lit by subtle light, with a great location in the Imperial Gardens, where festivals and events take place throughout the year.
With all of that, plus – and I’m about to go out and put my taste cards on the table – some of the best pizzas around, you can’t help but see the Bosco bosses are determined to hit the ground. run and keep up the pace into a turbulent future, pandemics permitting.
In fact, the only area I had trouble with was the volume of the music – and that might be the old crap in me – but it was way too loud with insistent drumming which meant everyone took turns talking louder which made the whole the experience is just too noisy. Don’t expect an intimate atmosphere at night.
The Bosco menu is small, which in my humble opinion is mostly good, but there are plenty of things that will keep you coming back for more, including a large selection of pizzas and a smaller selection of pasta dishes.
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But it’s the pizza he’s rightfully famous for, and they’re amazing. Plates of delicacies with melt-in-your-mouth crust; in fact, “crust” is too harsh a word for these wavy, soft beauties, served hot out of the oven and ready to admire them for a short time, and then gobble them up.
What is your favorite topping? I tend to keep things simple, so I often eat Margaritas with a bit of goat cheese or anchovies on top, but Bosco’s Venetian (£12.50) fits the bill for me, with its salted anchovies, fior di latte mozzarella, tomatoes, capers, olives and parmesan. Oh boy (dirty face emoji).
Also ordered were the simple but perfectly decorated Boscos (£9.50 – their Margherita equivalent – and Carciofi £13) with artichokes, tomatoes, mozzarella, taleggio, green olives and pecorino, both great alternatives.
The three pasta options include carbonara and lasagna, or you can opt for a rare steak salad or two vegetarian options. There are also large main courses of classic Tuscan stew, sea bream, pork Milanese and vegetarian parmigiana di melanzane.
We had green olive appetizers (4lbs) and wonderful homemade focaccia (4lbs) accompanied by an Apulian olive oil sauce and aged balsamic vinegar, but there are plenty of other options including cheese or meat platters, sardines and bruschetta.
And, of course, when we did the review (which we paid for, I must stress), two of us sacrificed our post-pandemic diet to try a chocolate and vanilla ice cream dish (£3.25 per scoop), and then- a piece of Torta al Cioccolato, a boiled chocolate cake, with crème fraîche and amaretti crumbles, a £6.50 steal.
Our waiter was sweet – even when my husband was tactful but harsh about the music. His service was prompt and impeccable, especially considering how packed the place was when it opened on Friday.
I know there are other great pizzerias in the city – God knows I’ve been to most of them – but Bosco is among the best.