Ballaro Italian restaurant Burnley review: From hand-made burgers to healthy cooked steaks, the Italian inspired menu has something for everyone
I had that experience on a recent visit to Burnley’s Ballaro Italian restaurant. It was a much anticipated mid week treat for myself, my son Robbie, my daughter Jenny and her partner Chloe.
Situated on Barracks Road, the restaurant is handily placed with ample parking and a lovely outdoor space perfect for summer days and evenings. Spoilt for choice, the menu offers a wide selection, you would be hard pressed not to find a dish to suit even the fussiest eater.
I went for classic bruschetta to start and Jenny chose pan fried mushrooms, and we decided to share half and half.
Topped with tomatoes, garlic basil and fresh herbs the bruschetta was delicious light, tasty and zesty. The white wine, garlic and cream sauce the mushrooms were served in, I have to say, was quite the most delicious I have ever tasted. It was bursting with flavour and Jenny and I fought over every last morsel. This was the dish we did not want to end.
Chloe opted for dough sticks served with garlic butter and tomato pizza sauce which she said were really tasty but not too filling.
From the tempting burger selection Jenny choose the Simone Special which included two 6oz handmade burgers with smoked streaky bacon, mushrooms, American cheese, topped with Simone’s rich cheese sauce. It was quite a work of art and Jenny said it was full of flavour and certainly no run of the mill burger.
Quite the burger connoisseur, Robbie opted for the Ballaro burger which again was two 6oz burgers with sliced sirloin steak, mushrooms, onions, mozzarella, American cheese and pepper sauce. The portion was generous and Robbie struggled to finish it but he thoroughly enjoyed it. All burgers are served with fresh salad on a seeded brioche bun with chips and coleslaw.
I went for a traditional favourite, spaghetti carbonara (creamy spaghetti with bacon and parmesan cheese) which was cooked to perfection and a very generous portion. A pizza fiend, Chloe chose the margherita pizza which she gave top marks too.
The pasta dish selection is mouthwatering and I must admit on our next visit to Ballaro I would fancy trying the hanging spiedini which are hanging kebabs over a bed of house chips served with salad. You can choose either chicken marinated in rosemary, oregano, thyme and olive oil with peppers, onions and courgette or fillet of beef served with sea salt and pepper.
While we were all quite full we couldn’t resist a glance at the dessert menu and we plumped for the chocolate fondue to share. What a fabulous choice this proved to be. Fresh strawberries, waffles, marshmallows and brownies complete with chocolate dipping sauce was the perfect end to the meal.
For steak lovers Ballaro is your dream restaurant as all stone grill items are served on a 350 degree lava rock with a choice of dips and side. The lava rocks are not only a healthy way to cook it also means you can cook your steak exactly how you like it.
It was heartening to see the restaurant, which is on something of landmark spot and one of the main gateways to Burnley, quite busy on a Wednesday evening and I think many were taking advantage of the midweek special that offers two courses for £17.99 or three courses for £19.99.
And seeing their restaurant busy is certainly good news for owners Sionny Williams, Francesco Tutrone and Simon Widdup who is head chef. They also run Ciao takeaway from the restaurant, Kenanks takeway and Bird's fish and chip shop.
The site was originally Kenanks burger takeaway, founded by the late David Hankinson who was Sionny’s partner of 10 years. The couple were also business partners in Ballaro.
David, who died in a road accident in Cumbria in 2021, was affectionately known as ‘Hanky' He was well-known and loved around the local community where he lived and the business has become his legacy, and a very popular one at that.