Italian restaurants can easily get a bit same-y; many of the well-known high-street chains have menus which offer little variance and service which makes you feel forgotten on a busy Saturday evening. Brighton has plenty of restaurants and cafes to offer to the point where you are so spoilt for choice, the decision of where to eat gets even harder to make. Classic Italian restaurants are two a penny in this town, but there is one which I truly believe stands out from the crowd; Al Duomo. Situated right next to the Pavilion Gardens, a beautiful tourist hot-spot, this restaurant is central enough to pop in after a day of beaching or shopping, yet still somehow tucked away so as to offer you a bit of evening respite.
I first visited Al Duomo in July this year for my graduation meal. Admittedly, I had never heard of it before as it is far enough away from the concentrated hubs of restaurants in Brighton town, yet booked a table after seeing their amazing graduation meal offers; it was exactly what I was looking for and offered something for everyone in my family. The boys in my family are not exactly easy to please (they have found something to moan about in even the most infamous of Brighton restaurants), so when they left Al Duomo raving about the food, service and atmosphere, I knew we had found something special.
The family-run restaurant really gives off the welcoming, cosy feel. It's not a huge restaurant, but has expanded recently to include an outside terrace and upstairs seating- where we found ourselves at the Yelp event. All the staff are lovely and attentive; you actually feel valued as a customer in this restaurant, which is quite difficult to find in some of the more popular Italian chains. Last Thursday, the lovely Sophie organised a meal at Al Duomo through Yelp; an app dedicated to honest restaurant reviews (think TripAdvisor for food). It was a fantastic evening filled with delicious food, strong cocktails and fabulous company.
First on the agenda was a series of antipasti, including the tastiest garlic bread I have ever had. We were greeted with plates of hams, salamis, grilled vegetables (which were to die for) and bowls full of olives, complete with mini swords with which to eat them! I love cute little details like that! Next came the mains. We had a few people with differing dietary requirements, including celiacs and vegetarians, and Al Duomo were fantastic at accommodating to their needs (plus their gluten-free carbonara was INCREDIBLE). There are tons of pizza and pasta dishes to choose from; I totally fell in love with their gnocci aurora (potato in a creamy tomato and onion sauce...very rich and indulgent).
If the drool-worthy food wasn't good enough, Al Duomo also run a 2-for-1 cocktail deal during the week from 3-9pm which is well worth taking advantage of...especially as they have an inclination to make the drinks quite strong! (NB. It probably doesn't help that I'm a lightweight!). The price of the food is so reasonable as well, and gives you a far better deal than if you went elsewhere. Both pasta and pizza dishes can range from £6-10, and they are very generous with their portions (same goes for desserts!). It's a great, friendly restaurant, serving down-right amazing food for a decent price; I can see it being the place to go with family, friends or dates. We all left the event with very full bellies and smiles on our faces...a sign of a very good restaurant!
Where's your favourite place to eat in Brighton? Have you been to Al Duomo?