A review of Angelo's in Sunniside, a firm Sunderland city centre favourite that always hits the spot
But there’s something comforting about heading back to an old favourite where you can rely on consistently good service and a menu that reliably hits the spot.
Such is the case with Angelo’s Ristorante who’ve been dishing up authentic Italian food with flair in Sunniside for more than a decade.
It’s a classy place that makes the most of the period features of this handsome Victorian district, that’s testament to the wealth of the then town at the height of its shipbuilding power, with buildings that once housed businesses associated with the trade.
In an era of flower walls and neon signs in restaurants that’s been done to death, it’s refreshing to go somewhere that’s classic in style, with its high ceilings, marble fire places and a decor that’s not a slave to trends that quickly date.
The regeneration of Sunniside in the 2000s, which made real improvements, never really reached its true potential with the area oft-forgotton over the years, despite Sunniside Gardens being an elegant corner of the city that, if picked up and plonked in a city like Manchester would no doubt be a bustling eating out hub.
But, much like the rest of the city, it’s really gathering its own pace now.
This year sees the return of the excellent Sunniside Live festival, in its new guise as SunLun Calling, bringing household names to the city, as well as a providing a platform for emerging local talent.
Meanwhile, new businesses have arrived like The Rainbow Hub, Diego’s Joint and creative industries such as the major transformation of the once-derelict and trouble-hit Norfolk Hotel which is well underway, joining existing hospitality businesses like Manor Bar, Sam’s Bar, Church Door, Bar Justice and, Angelo’s, who’ve long flown the flag for this underrated area.
And there’s good reason Angelo’s has stood the test of the time, catering for everyone from courting couples looking for a romantic spot to dine to pre-match meals – including their popular towers of beer that go down a treat with the footy crowd.
At the restaurant’s heart is owner Federico Trulli and his family who greet you as though you were one of their own.
We visited on Mother’s Day where everyone was given Prosecco and bellinis on arrival to make the mams feel special – a nice touch and a marker of the kind of warm hospitality you get here.
They were serving their popular Sunday dinner menu, which certainly looked impressive as roasts whisked past us to fellow diners.
But with Angelo’s being pasta masters – so much so, they’ve won national English Italian awards – we went with the Italian specials.
We both had the spinach and ricotta ravioli (£15) in a white wine and cream sauce topped with a ball of gooey mozzarella for added cheese oomph.
It was a truly indulgent dish, rich and moreish and just the right portion size for such a decadent dose of cream and cheese. (phone photos don’t do the flavour justice)
The pasta itself was perfection, the kind you only get at authentic Italian places, just like Mama makes.
We’d swerved starters so we could shoehorn in desserts – and we’re glad we did.
Mum had an excellent and zingy Sicilian lemon and mascarpone cheesecake (£6) from the tempting desserts fridge, while I went for an affogato.
It’s one in a huge range of Mövenpick ice cream variations they offer and came with a proper espresso, the really strong stuff that puts hairs on your chest and a shot of Frangelico for an added kick.
Special mention too for the service which is super polished and friendly. They really make an effort with the guests here, with all the kids around us happily colouring in at the table (not an iPad in sight) and impressing Federico with their artworks who vowed to put them on the wall.
Our bill for two mains, two desserts and three glasses of a very drinkable indeed Sauvignon was £62, very fair for a day where restaurants often hike up the price.
As well their regular menus, there’s a range of other options at Angelo’s including tapas, bottomless brunch, takeaway and even Italian classes so you can learn to order their true Italian dishes in true Italian style.