One of Liverpool’s most popular restaurants and celeb haunts, San Carlo, has been awarded the title of ‘Best Italian in the UK’.
In the annual industry awards run by ‘PAPA’, the Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association, San Carlo Liverpool was shortlisted alongside restaurants from Leeds, Thornbury and Twickenham.
Restaurant manager Alessandro Cossiga told JMU Journalism: "It was really really nice to win and the gala night was very nice. We got the chance to meet other people who do the same job as us across the UK, it was such a good experience. It was also a great chance to promote San Carlo in London, because we are not as famous in London as we are here."
San Carlo Liverpool was an immediate hit with diners across the city from the day it opened, with tables fully booked every night of the week.
It has also proved a magnet for local celebrities, such as Alex Gerrard, who chose to celebrate the birth of her new baby girl, Lourdes, at the Castle Street restaurant with her girlfriends.
Footballers from both Liverpool FC and Everton are also frequently seen at the italian eatery after weekend football matches with family and friends. Liverpool's Glen Johnson is one in particular, as he tweeted recently: “San Carlo second night running, #thumbsup.”
In a lavish award ceremony at London’s Lancaster Hotel, all winners were announced including awards for ‘Best Italian Food Chain of the year’ which was won by ‘Prezzo’, and ‘Best Pizza Delivery Chain’, which was awarded to Domino’s.
Director of ‘PAPA’, Jim Winship said: "In these tough economic times, it is good to find an industry that is still striving for ever greater excellence and it shows in the reports we received back from judges visiting restaurants and delivery outlets this year.”
The owners of San Carlo, who also have restaurants in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham and Leicester, took to Twitter to announce their victory, tweeting: “Congratulations to San Carlo Liverpool, named ‘Best Italian Restaurant in the UK' at the Italian Food Association awards - Fantastico!”
The ‘PAPA’ 2011 awards, which were attended by famous figures from across the Italian food industry, are now in their 24th year, but it’s not the first time a Liverpool restaurant has won the award, as Il Forno on Duke Street was given the prize four years ago, in 2007.
By Sophie Fairclough, JMU Journalism Liverpool Life
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Exterior of the Liverpool restaurant on Castle Street; The PAPA Industry award.