Almost religiously choose Avanti over other restaurants in West Jesmond or Jesmond. Was disappointed to see a couple of people not so happy with it because we've always enjoyed the food and the service is great on the whole!
First things first, as you walk in, you see what you expect to see in a cute Italian restaurant. A little bar, checked tablecloths, pictures of Frank Sinatra on the walls, a bit of Dean Martin - Volare on the stereo. Stereotypical I'll agree, but personally I love it! It's always warm, inviting, candles on tables, often busy, the atmosphere is lively (there isn't anything worse than being in a huge/quiet restaurant feeling you have to whisper!) and usually a smile to greet you at the door. We have waited a long time for a table on a busy Saturday, and there isn't much space to wait, but we were given a drink at the bar and made to feel welcome even though it was so busy.
Happy Hour is fab - the four P's - Potato Skins, Pizza/Pasta and pudding! Haha. Can't say fairer than the asking price either just for a main or as the meal. The normal menu prices are very reasonable too, about £3/4 for a starter £7-10 for the main and drinks aren't hugely expensive, and the house wine is really nice (we prefer it over the others listed). Often there are specials on the blackboard too, some lovely starters and fresh fish/chicken dishes to be had.
We've had everything from chicken, steak, fish to posh pasta and posh pizzas, and haven't had a bad meal. It's a standard Italian menu, but it works because it's always good.
The potato skins are always cooked freshly (with great garlic dip!) the pizza's are truly Italian - always fresh dough, crispy bottomed and with a selection of toppings. The pastas are delicious - especially the al forno dishes (my fave) If there is an ingredient you don't fancy, just let them know, they are more than happy to oblige. The steaks are always cooked well, any veg is always lovely, chips are crispy and fresh.
Location is great, a stones-throw from West Jesmond metro (opposite side to the Lonsdale),
Service is fine (we've never had any complaints and the people are really friendly),
A song on your birthday (with a slice of happy birthday cake and accompanying tambourine!)
Tip - book on a weekend!
I recommend this at work all the time, it's good for couples (with all the Italian romance), good for catching up with mates (Prosecco by the glass), and great for work nights out (what with all the atmosphere). Dining al fresco in the summer months is a total bonus too - would not recommend this in winter, although we are geordies, we aren't THAT silly!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.