It is surprising - to me, at least - how often I have been disappointed when trying to eat in fairly large towns and cities. There was a time when, in connection with my work, I had to visit places such as Blackpool, Newcastle, Leeds, Norwich and Bristol where I would need to stay for one or two nights. I usually turned my back on the hotel dining room; they seemed such anonymous places and, at the time of year when most of my trips were made, eating in them would quite frequently be a solitary experience. What I hoped to find would be a cosy restaurant frequented by the locals.
Maybe I have been spoiled by living in Brighton where we are reputed to have more restaurants per head of population than anywhere in Britain outside London. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that we now beat even London. It really is quite astonishing how many restaurants we have and how varied are the cuisines they offer. Equally astonishing is the fact that they not only manage to survive (assuming they are any good) but that they prosper and seem to be busy every night of the week. Why this should seem to be unique to Brighton is a constant puzzle.
All this is really just a preamble before I remark that the OB and I ate at the local Italian last night. It really is one of our favourite restaurants. The food is good, the service friendly and attentive but not over-bearing, we are always recognised and made welcome. An added bonus is that I can usually park right outside! Why trek into the city, struggle to find a parking place (and often have to pay for it) when the best Italian restaurant in the city is almost on our doorstep?
I must confess that my selection was boring in as much as it was what I usually order - penne alla matriciana. It's great! Pasta, pancetta, tomatoes, red onion and enough chilli to give some bite - delicious.