In 1992, brothers Sandro and Piero Sarti, hailing from Sorrento, Italy, opened their first Fratelli Sarti restaurant with not-so-Italian friend Gerry O’Donnell. It garnered enough attention and success to spur the Sarti brothers to open two more locations.
One of those venues can be found on Renfield Street. Housed in one of Glasgow’s many striking buildings — a banking hall from the 1890s — Sarti exudes a distinctive Scottish-Italian flare, what with its wood paneling and large wood beams, original marble features, Murano chandeliers, and arched windows filled with the Italian tricolor. But when it comes to the cuisine, it’s all about Italy. With their supply of Prosciutto di Parma, virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, two-year-old Parmigiano Reggiano, and so many other ingredients imported from Italy, the Sartis capitalize on the flavors of their homeland and transform them into mouthwatering meals that you’re bound to remember.
If you still haven’t had enough by the time you pay your bill, you can always return for one of the restaurant’s grappa nights or for some Italian lessons. And you can bring some of Sarti home with a purchase of seasonal treats, like Easter cakes or Christmas panettone, or order a basket of wine, chocolates, oil, vinegar, and specially blended coffee to enjoy later on.
Try This: Oenophiles will appreciate the long list of wines imported form just about every region of Italy, from Lombardy in the north to Sicily in the south, and those with a sweet tooth will certainly enjoy the cloudy cherry juice. You can start with a fish or vegetarian appetizer, but the fresh buffalo mozzarella wrapped with smoky wild boar oven-baked on a slice of bread with cream and Parmigiano is particularly nice. You can follow that with one of 20 different pizzas or half a dozen salads, but I chose a half-order of tagliatelle with chicken, broccoli, and a bit of cream and Parmigiano. Then dig into a mound of potato gnocchi with artichokes and pecorino cheese, or, even better, the slow-cooked rabbit with black olives, rosemary, and white wine, served with pureed potatoes.