KEEPING it real is the ethos behind Darlington’s newest eatery with a commitment to cooking and serving authentic Italian dishes.

Paolo Arceri, who is behind the launch of the new venture, opened San Paolo, three-weeks-ago on the back of 30-years’ personal experience in the restaurant industry, and an enviable lineage in the business.

“I am from a catering family,” he explains. “My parents came over from Sardinia and my dad was the chef in the Marimba Nightclub in Middlesbrough, back in the 60s. He opened his own restaurant in the 70s, and my uncles and brothers have a restaurant in Newcastle.”

Paolo himself has owned and run many restaurants and bars over the years, and what he brings to Darlington this time is something a little bit different.

Although there is the familiar Italian fare that you would expect to find on the menu – pasta, pizza, pollo, pesce for example – Paolo is introducing the Cicchetti – an Italian-style tapas that encourages sharing.

Originating in Venice, Cicchetti dishes are ordered as smaller plates – perhaps two or three to share, rather than individual meals.

The intimacy between friends or family of sharing a number of dishes adds to the enjoyment of the meal and allows everyone to taste different things.

“My aim is to serve food that you would expect to get in Italy,” says Paolo. “It is as authentic as we can make it – in both dishes and presentation - and is what we would eat at home.”

Paolo sources the best and freshest ingredients, and they are cooked simply but authentically by his chef and kitchen staff.

With Cicchetti dishes such as salt and pepper squid, baked aubergine with provolone, and chicken involtinil lemon butter and rocket, at £5.95 each or £12.95 for three, they are definitely worth trying for that something a bit different.

His head chef, who has worked with him before, came over from France specially to set up the restaurant, and 80 per cent of the staff are from Sardinia.

The opening hours allow for light lunches, and hot and cold drinks from 10am to 4pm every day, with the evening menu available until 9pm.

Paolo also owns a cocktail bar downstairs, called Macy Browns, which is a great place to start the evening before wandering upstairs to sample the delicious menu, with a twist.




Tel: 01325 489444