See inside the new Italian restaurant bringing a flavour of Venice to Sunderland

A new Italian restaurant is bringing a flavour of Venice’s classic dishes, waterways and Gothic architecture to Sunderland.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 2:05 pm

Venice has opened its doors in the former Arabesque restaurant in High Street West, and forms part of a wave of investment in the area.

The restaurant briefly traded as Tabbouleh most recently where Halo Kurdson worked. But when the opportunity arose for him to take on the site on his own he decided to step away from Middle Eastern fare.

He’s transformed the inside of the two-storey restaurant with water features, as a nod to Venice’s famous waterways, as well as Gothic features inspired by the Italian city’s distinctive architecture.

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Venice has opened in High Street West

Halo, whose restaurant has created 13 new jobs for the city, said: “When I took over I wanted to do something completely different and I’ve always wanted to open an Italian restaurant. I’ve done lots of work to change the interior already, but I have more plans too.

"We only opened last Tuesday, but I can’t complain about the response so far, we’ve had great feedback.”

The Venice building, which dates back to 1813, lies in the middle of the city’s Heritage Action Zone, which has seen a huge amount of investment to breathe new life into historic buildings in the city centre.

It’s already seen the transformation of the neighbouring 170-175 High Street West, which will be a new home for Pop Recs and the Sunshine Co-operative, as well as the renaissance of Mackie’s Corner into a creative retail hub.

Venice is housed in the former Arabesque site

Halo said: “This end of the city centre was dead for quite a well, but there’s so much more happening now and we are looking forward to being a part of that.

“We also have the benefit of free evening and Sunday parking at the car park opposite.

"The local authority have been really supportive, which is great.”

Other new additions in the area include a new monthly market craft and food market, which will take place on the first Sunday of the month, starting on August 1, on land opposite the Travelodge.

The new Venice Italian restaurant on High Street West with manager Mahsa Nikan.

Venice is open as a bar and a restaurant seven days a week from noon-10pm, serving a range of cocktails, wines, beers, stone-baked pizzas, pastas and steaks.

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One of the restaurant's waterfall features
Special Venice ravioli crab infused with squid ink
The downstairs bar area
The restaurant spans two floors
Inside the new Venice Italian restaurant on High Street West.
One of the speciality cocktails, called Spicy Lover
Manager Mahsa Nikan.