ITALIAN is one of my favourite cuisines but when you’re in the heart of the Dales, it can often fall behind good pub grub as the traditional British menu take centre stage in my experience.

So when it came to my final Eating Out review as I bid farewell to the Echo, I decided to pop into Capri Pizzeria, in Barnard Castle, to drown my sorrows in some heavy carbs.

Ali and I had been on a pleasant stroll along the river banks to work up an appetite so when it came to sitting down to our table, I was open to all options.

The restaurant reopened at 5pm and was initially quiet when we entered just afterwards but as we were shown to our table by a kind waiter and waiting for our drinks, a flurry of families and groups came in.

Perusing the menu, I then realised there might be a reason for this with a tea time ‘happy hour’ of two courses for £8.95 between 5pm and 5.50pm. This was incredible value and there were some good staples on the menu.

For us, three courses were to be had and our minds were quickly made up for the starting course.

I chose the chicken liver pate with rustic bread, mixed salad and caramelised red onion jam (£4.95) while Ali chose the Gamberoni all Indiana - Tiger prawns cooked in a mil curry, coconut, cream sauce and served on rustic bread (£6.95).

Both came out beautifully presented and we tucked in eagerly.

My pate was smooth and creamy and a perfect amount for the bread. The ‘jam’ was a great accompaniment with its sweetness but my only hesitation was that it was not spreadable like a jam but string-like from the onions making it a tad difficult to spread on top.

Ali was very satisfied with his prawns which were covered in the sauce and plentiful in number.

I was surprised to find a dish that I would not normally associate with Italian but it was cooked to perfection and the prawns were juicy and tender.

Our second course came shortly after the first and we soon settled into the atmosphere of the restaurant, which although modern, really felt like Italy with the crisp table décor and traditional music.

For our mains I chose the Tagliatelle salmone – pasta with salmon and a tomato and cream sauce (£9.95) while Ali chose the Pollo picante – grilled chicken breast with parma ham, cheese and spicy sausage (£11.95).

My bowl was full of pasta which looked inviting and was surprisingly easy to eat. Flakes of salmon were plentiful throughout and the creamy sauce complimented the dish perfectly.

Ali was very satisfied with his chicken – his favourite food on the planet and when it came out it looked more like a piece of art with splays of red sauces and a delicate mountain of vegetables on the side.

We also shared some chips which were very crispy and satisfying to mop up any remaining sauce.

At this point my dessert space was giving me a flashing warning light so I did give Ali a few extra mouthfuls of my main.

Browsing the desert menu is one of my favourite types of activities too and we quickly settled on sharing the brownie and sticky toffee pudding (£3.95) as we both wanted to try both.

My brownie was light and fluffy and drizzled in chocolate sauce. But more importantly had chocolate chunks all the way through and the accompanying vanilla ice cream was smooth and melting alongside the dessert.

Ali’s sticky toffee pudding was swimming in the sweet warm sauce and crumbled when dug into.

Again, there was a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside and both were devoured in no time.

We also washed these down with a traditional café latte (£2.40) and at this point, I was on the brink of a food coma.

All-in-all I would highly recommend this restaurant which has such a friendly atmosphere for all types of customer.

It was a joy to hear families enjoying their evening meal and is so close to town you could continue your night out if you could resist the urge to go home and sleep afterwards!


Capri Pizzeria, 25 Newgate Street, Barnard Castle

Tel: 01833-637926

Open: Daily 12noon – 3pm and 5pm – 9.30pm

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 9, service 8, surroundings 8, value 8