SOLE Mio was a Huddersfield institution. The lively Italian pizzeria, located in the Imperial Arcade, flourished for more than 30 years.
Opened in 1975, the restaurant was a real novelty for the town and introduced countless locals, many of whom are not known for their adventurous culinary tastes, to “foreign food”.
In those days a pizza was both exciting and exotic. I remember having my first ever – the prosciutto – at Sole Mio in the late 1970’s with Greenhead schoolmate Julia Mellor. We felt so sophisticated!
On January 29 of this year, a new Italian eatery, Trattoria Domenico, opened in the left hand part of the old Sole Mio.
I was due a meal out with my horsey chums Mandy, Janet and Sally, mothers of Morgan, Hettie and Nugget respectively and suggested it as a venue. Being out of the habit of venturing into Huddersfield town centre after dark, they were initially a little hesitant.
But when I patiently explained that the Examiner would be footing (most of) the bill, they soon changed their tune.
The slightly overlit interior had a distinctly Mediterranean feel with ceramic floor tiles, pale apricot walls, wooden beams and an eclectic mixture of wall hangings and greenery.
The impression of being in a local restaurant somewhere in continental Europe was further enhanced by a big flat screen TV on one wall and the arrival of several members of owner Salvatore’s family of varying ages who chatted amiably at a table in the corner.
Our waitress was excellent. She welcomed us on arrival, despite being busy with other diners, and gave friendly, attentive service throughout the evening.
The menu was a pleasant surprise – prices for food and wine were very reasonable and there was a good choice of dishes for all three courses. We just hoped that the food was as enjoyable.
We need not have worried. Hands on hearts, none of us could fault the food at Trattoria Domenico. It was all delicious, freshly prepared and arrived in generous portions.
This is Sicilian owner Salvatore’s first restaurant, having previously worked as a chef for other restaurateurs. His aim of creating a little bit of Italy in a traditional trattoria in Huddersfield is certainly on track.
His motto is “Mangiare, mangiare!” and Salvatore’s food, much of which he delivers personally to the table, is simple and well flavoured with a fantastic depth of flavour.
My pescata trinacria starter (£7.95) would have easily fed two and consisted of delicious, plump whitebait, calamari and gamberoni served with slivers of deep fried courgette and potato slices. Yummy.
My equine-loving pals ordered an avocado salad and enormous slab of goat’s cheese in filo pastry with aubergine and home-made lemon marmalade sauce. The garlic mushrooms in dolcelatte and cream sauce were, according to Janet: “without a doubt the best I have ever had.”