Little Italy, Seaburn Promenade, Sunderland

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SEASIDE views, smells of garlic and a glass of wine in hand – you could be on holiday at Little Italy.

After ordering drinks from our comfortable seats – glasses of house white wine (£4.35) and a bottle of Moretti lager (£3.25) – we set about deciding on food.

The eatery doesn’t have a happy hour, but does have a variety of dishes rarely found on Italian menus.

There are grilled meats including lamb chops and pork steaks, and monk fish, swordfish and sole goujons.

The smorgasbord of choices made it difficult to pick.

Eventually, I settled on gamberoni marinara (£7.50) and vitello al’marsala (£14.95) which is veal with marsala wine sauce.

My fellow diners opted for mozzarella tricolore (£4.95), or three colour mozzarella salad, pate di pollo (£4.95), and for main course rigatoni al tonno (£7.45) or rigatoni with tuna, and linguine fruiti di mare (£8.25), that’s seafood linguini to you and me.

The starters, in ample portions, were served.

The gamberoni consisted of four, succulent king prawns. The mozzarella salad of fresh avocado, cucumber and tomatoes.

The chicken liver pate with brandy was devoured in no time and proclaimed delicious.

A helpful waiter cleared the plates and there wasn’t long to wait before the main meals were delivered to the table – the steaming hot food smelled mouth-wateringly good.

The seafood linguine, advertised as comprising of mixed seafood, was said to be tasty, but a little disappointing as the mix consisted only of mussels and shrimps.

However, the rich sauce and well-cooked seafood were enough to make up for it and the plate was cleared.

The tuna pasta, again with a tomato sauce, was eaten in no time and said to be very tasty.

However, I picked the winning dish.

I know veal is a controversial meat, but the tender escalopes with mixed mushrooms and a rich marsala wine sauce, which I asked for with mixed salad, was fantastic.

Also, it’s a refreshing change to see veal – for those who want it – on the menu in a Wearside restaurant as I rarely see it offered.

Monica Turnbull