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Gordo Finds the Best Fish in Manchester

The quest for a quality fish dish is officially over as San Carlo finally shuts Gordo up!

Written by . Published on February 21st 2007.

Gordo Finds the Best Fish in Manchester

Gordo is going on holiday in May. To Galicia, in Northern Spain. Described as Ireland with sunshine, he is assured that he will have a great week. Mind you, he couldn’t really give a sod about the weather, it doesn’t rain in restaurants.

Which is the real reason he is going. The Spanish fishing fleet, the largest in Europe, lands it’s catch in the port of A Coruña and Gordo is going to get his fill of the freshest lobster, tuna, wild sea bass, turbot and squid; all cooked to perfection by Spanish chefs who, after 1500 years going bang at it, know how to do it.

So why can’t we have decent fish up ‘ere in Manchester? We are a stones throw away from some terrific produce, which mainly disappears to Paris, Frankfurt (weird that; the Germans always have fab fish restaurants) and the aforementioned A Coruña. Our only specialist fish restaurant, Livebait, got Gordo’s worst review of 2006 (click here). It shall be reviewed once again this month.

Gordo has though found the new fish market in The Arndale to be brilliant; his last purchase, a whole Turbot, managed to produce two great meals and a couple of pints of the best fish stock, nestling in the freezer ready for his next effort. At Sunday lunch on a Manchester balcony eight stories up, the lobsters and crabs were given a vote of confidence by Gordo’s hosts.

But what about restaurants? Well, therein lies the purpose of this rant. Gordo took the ungrateful Helen Ramsbottom to San Carlo the other night. The results put a smile on her face.

To see more photos click here

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Marcello, gaffer and member of the owning regime, was grinning like a Cheshire cat when Gordo arrived. “Hello Gordo, I see you are still whining about there not being a decent fish restaurant in Manchester. I’ve been waiting for you to grace us with your presence for some months. Try the Mixed Fish Grill”.

Rambo’s eyes lit up. So did Gordo when the grills arrived. A huge prawn, nearly as big as a lobster was draped across the plate. A tranche of Halibut sat in the middle, not Gordo’s favourite but pretty darned perfect if you are a lover of this fish. Then a fillet of Dover Sole along with half a sea bass, firm of flesh denoting a fish that had not been hanging about in a pen in a Scottish Loch. Finally, a lovely scallop sat in its shell, perfectly griddled with the red roe still attached. Why do restaurants throw this away? It’s the best bit. The whole dish was perfect. The best in Manchester in fact, to Gordo’s mind.

It was good to see San Carlo busy; it was a Tuesday evening, not the busiest in Manchester but the place was full and the kitchen team were grafting like madmen. Gordo was going to do a formal review, but that means four courses, so that is going to have to wait. Gordo admitted defeat after all that fish. Rambo went on to the profiteroles. This girl is a greedy bugger.

San Carlo clearly executes its take on Italian cuisine well, all the usual favourites are there, the grilled yellow peppers in the mixed antipasti in particular were superb. A dish of these with some good crusty bread and olive oil would make a great lunch on their own. But, the fast turnover in this busy restaurant ensures that it can deliver its fish and shellfish in a constant state of freshness, three quarters of the battle.

The last quarter is of course Onofio, the head chef, along with Jason and the rest of the team. Keep it up lads, you are doing well

Views from you lot? Fill in a rant below.

San Carlo
40 King Street West
M3 2WY
0161 834 6226

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HarryFebruary 21st 2007.

Hey whats with san carlo? great place, food and atmosphere, but shoddy waiters and dodgy billing. On THREE separate occasions we have been over charged in the form of sneaky starters or veggies hoping no one notices. Is this normal with them or just an Italian quality? What with corruption and match fixing rife, is it the norm?

LizFebruary 21st 2007.

I have argued with friends till I'm blue in the face, I like san carlo. I lunch there regularly and although the service is somewhat inconsistent(paul you are spot on about the waiters!)the food is always great. The giant prawn on the mixed grill should come with a health warning though, the blighter is sharp!!

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