Right at the centre of the shopping and business area, this eatery is on the corner of New Street and Bennett's Hill. In the run-up to Christmas, it is even busier as it is steps away from the German Frankfurt Christmas Market; so it's worth booking in advance from mid-November to end of December because of that, or you may be turned away disappointed.
From the moment you enter this ASK Italian, there's a welcoming feel from friendly staff while there's a light and airy ambience to the restaurant with large windows and booths that are fit around the edge of the room.
The menu has a wide offering with plenty of choice from pizzas to traditional Italian and pasta dishes along with seasonal specials. I tried out the Autumn menu, which along with regular favourites had some warming, hearty dishes ideal for the colder weather.
New seasonal dishes include cocktails too, like the new Pink Smash made from Prosecco and Strawberry Pink Gin (£6.50) served in a tall glass that feels sophisticated along with tasting sweet and bubbly. There is also a straight Strawberry Pink Gin and Tonic if you prefer that comes with a sprig of rosemary.
For starters, there's a wealth of choice including butterfly lightly battered prawns, breaded chicken fillets that come with dips, stuffed mushrooms in breadcrumbs and bruschetta but I plumped for a new dish of Pea and Ricotta Soufflé (£6.50).
Deliciously cheesy It comes with dough sticks to dip into the runny warm cheese and layer of spinach. It is lick of the lips wholesomely good with pea flavour running through it and is good value at just £6.50. It also felt quite out of the ordinary to be having a soufflé at a chain restaurant.
My friend opted for the Meatballs Piccante, also £6.50, which were succulent and in a rich tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella and mascarpone. Perfect to warm you up in colder weather and also very filling.
Moving on to mains, there are over 40 options that cater for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free requirements, pizza lovers or those wanting more than just pasta of a grilled meat with rosemary potatoes and similar kind of dish. Ideal for families where everyone has different tastes.
ASK Italian's ethos is "eat like an Italian' and that is reflected in the menu. It's obviously doing something right as it's picking up numerous awards.
Just two years ago, ASK Italian won best menu in the Mediterranean Casual Dining category at the restaurant MIDAS awards. It was also named Italian Restaurant of the Year by the Pizza and Pasta Association in 2017 too.
New dishes for Autumn include Sausage and Truffle Infused Pasta, King Prawn and Crayfish Pasta, both made with fresh egg frilly pasta, and Slow Cooked Beef Shin in Chianti Sauce (average main dish £14.95).
The Sausage and Truffle Infused Pasta is rich with flavours and textures. Pieces of Italian Luganica sausage are mingled in with pretty frilly pasta in a creamy tomato sauce. Added to this is a big dollop of marscapone on top and a strip of smoked prosciutto plus breadcrumbs across the top to add crunch. Beautiful in appearance and taste.
One of the most popular regular dishes is the Spaghetti Bolognese and this is full of flavour and quality ingredients.
On the extras side of things, ASK Italian offers refreshing alternatives to the norm, such as courgette fries instead of just chips.
Desserts again offer plenty of choice with usuals like Tiramisu but there is also a rather interesting Rhubarb and Custard Ravioli.
Using ravioli for a pudding rather than main, the dish is filled with pretty pink filled pasta parcels with a sweet and sour rhubarb filling, in a vanilla custard, topped with crumble (£5.95).
With three-course working out at around £25 to £30 per person, ASK Italian offers quality food along with a wealth of choices and fine tasting Italian food that all ages will enjoy.
Added to that are stylish surroundings and a friendly welcoming team of staff at this Birmingham restaurant that help make it such an appealing option.