REVIEW: Luciano’s, High St West, Sunderland

Luciano's Italian Restaurant - 278 High Street West, Sunderland
Luciano's Italian Restaurant - 278 High Street West, Sunderland

THIS place is something of an institution.

It appears to have survived the decades despite scores of other Italian restaurants springing up elsewhere in the city. On our visit on a Friday night every table was full.

Friendly staff, good grub at good prices, consistently high quality of service – check.

I visited with chum Katie. We were greeted by a cheery chap who directed us to the bar area for a glass of vino, while they prepared our table.

The decor is perhaps a little old fashioned with Italian restaurant stereotypes such as wine bottles as makeshift candelabras, but it’s still charming.

For starters, I chose mozzarella and tomato (£4.80). It tasted fresh and flavoursome.

Katie’s choice was a £6.40, prettily-presented plate of prawns wrapped in smoked salmon with a perfectly-prepared Marie Rose sauce.

For mains, I ordered spaghetti carbonara which is cheap at £6.90. Perfection on a plate. Al dente pasta encased in a delicious blend of cream, pancetta and Parmesan that was just the right side of rich.

Katie had pollo con funghi e peperoni (£11.50) – a chicken breast cooked with peppers, onions, mushrooms, red wine, brandy,tomato sauce and a hint of cream.

She declared it a tasty concoction and more than hit the spot.

Despite being the last scoffers standing, the staff, who were probably eager to tidy up and get home, didn’t shoo us out the door. Instead they gave us a shot of Limoncello to see us on our merry way. No wonder people keep coming back.