Signatures has been crowned the best Italian in Sunderland beating out household names on Wearside to take home an award.
The Silksworth eatery has been named the Sunderland Echo’s Italian Restaurant of the Year for the first time.
Owners Carolyn Sinclair and Mario Ben Sammouna are delighted with the result after a customer nominated the restaurant without them knowing.
Carolyn said: “We are over the moon to win the title.
“We believe in our food and our service but for other people to vote for us that just makes it all the more worthwhile.
“The hard work and effort the staff have put in has really paid off.
“We’re not on a main street we’re tucked away in Silksworth so we’re not at the forefront of people’s minds.
“Not everyone has heard of us and we’ve been up against some strong competition that are household names in Sunderland.
“Me and my partner Mario have put everything we’ve got into this business.”
They have owned the restaurant for six years and have recently carried out some renovations.
The pair now have further plans to upgrade the bar and restaurant.
“We’re a little bit of a Tardis,” said Carolyn. “I don’t think when you see the restaurant from the outside you expect to find what we have here.”
The owners believe they offer something for everyone from a happy hour deal to chef specials designed by Mario every week.
The popular restaurant hosted a Christmas party in December and hosts entertainment nights.
“We really want to use this opportunity to promote the fact that we’re here to people who still don’t know about us.
“We were up against some really tough competition and to come out on top is just overwhelming.
“We’d like to thank the team and the support of our customers.”