THE Moll and I ducked and dived our way up Buchanan Street, in between the students buzzing about their discounted purchases.

“That’s a bit loud”, she yelled as we passed the bright lights of one store with a DJ blasting out club classics as the young ‘yins made the most of the bargains.

“I remember when there used to be two sales a year”, she said.

“Now they’re every other week...not that I’m complaining”.

“I’m not sure if preferred those days”, I pondered. “Sale or no sale, you always get what you want.”

“What I want right now, is some good food!”, Toots demanded.

“Just down here”, I said, directing her through the crowds as we turned on to Sauchiehall Street.

As we approached Via Italia's latest branch half way up the busy street, it looked like a haven of calm against the bustling crowds.

We weaved our way through the shoppers and in to the small, bright-lit shop and took a seat.

“It’s quite a size”, I observed, before picking up a newspaper that had been left on the table next to us.

Splashed across the front was an update on the latest grizzly murder to happen in Glasgow, and was a welcome reminder of the fat caseload I left lying on my desk to give Toots her night on the town.

In front of us, a glass cabinet almost the length of the wall displayed various types of pasta, sauces and salads to choose from, almost like a pic'n'mix.

It was slightly more 'do it yourself' than Toots and I were used to, but we were so hungry and in need of a seat that we chose to stay.

I went up to the counter to order for both of us, and three confused-looking servers peered back at me from behind the glass.

I asked for a spaghetti and meatballs, while toots opted for fusilli bolognese, both served with a can of fizzy pop. It was too early in the day to start on the vino, I thought.

One of the confused waiters heaped mounds of fresh pasta into a white dish, before being scolded by his manager for serving up too much.

He meagrely tipped some of the pasta out, before proceeding to layer on sauces and toppings of cheese and black olives.

The other server stood beside him, also eye-balling his every move. Poor fellow must have been afraid to breathe let alone do his job properly.

I took my seat but only for a second before I had to return to collect the heated dishes. The whole place was like the Italian equivalent of a subway sandwich shop, but pricier.

As we tucked in to out meals, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of the meatballs and sweet, acidic tomato sauce. It was packed full of flavour, but felt a bit plain. It would be fine for a quick lunch out fo the office, but not to start a night out with my gal,.

I could see Toots rolling her eyes too, as her bolognese sauce splattered all over her fur coat as she began to eat.

"This isn't bad" she said. "It's just boring."

As I glanced around the restaurant I noticed only a handful of customers sitting inside, all staring at their phones or in to space.

The waiting staff too looked bored or anxious, and the whole place had a strange, 'still finding its feet' atmosphere.

We decided to see if it improved,and ordered two portions of Tiramisu, which were bog-standard but not bad.

We settled the bill and retreated back outside, desperate to get back to civilisation before the whole experience got any stranger.

Thankfully the students had exhausted themselves by the time we’d finished eating.

“Sooooo”, Toots exhaled happily. “Should we have a look at the sales?”.

Via Italia,

115 Sauchiehall Street

Glasgow G2 3DD


Spaghetti and meatballs - £6.35

Fusili Boloognese - £6.35


Tiramisu x 2 - £5.98


San Pellegrino Limonata x2 - £3.50

Cappuccino X 2 - £4.90

Total - £26.78

Atmosphere - 1 star

Food - 2 stars

Service - 3 stars