It was 1981 when the Da Sandro restaurant first opened its doors in Huddersfield – and the likes of Human League were playing on the radio.

The glamsters were focussed on a waitress working in a cocktail bar whereas little old me was working that summer as a glass collector at Johnnys nightclub … perhaps not quite as glamorous but it did have a cocktail or champagne bar right at the top of the building.

Da Sandro was different than most other restaurants. You couldn’t book a table and if it was full you just had to wait in the bar area and have a drink until someone had gone.

The restaurant became a Huddersfield institution – Italian folk running an Italian restaurant with a real family buzz about the place both among staff and customers. Never cheap, but always popular.

Move on to 2018 and the restaurant has just undergone a major revamp and reopened after being shut for a few weeks.

Possibly a bold move by a restaurant that’s become part of the town’s ‘furniture’ so to speak.

Will the loyal customers be back?

Two of us went last Saturday teatime on an emotional high after England’s victory in the world cup quarter finals.

We never eat that early … it’s always more like 8pm. We were glad we did even though you can book a table these days.

Walking into the restaurant the first thing to notice is the lounge area has been replaced by seats and tables. Not that you can’t sit at them to have a pre-meal drink as the bar is still there.

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The restaurant is transformed inside. It was always large but it feels light and airy with the mock wooden beams really looking like the real thing. Just knock them – like Basil Fawlty checking his walls – and you’ll be amazed. All the walls are white with flowers tumbling down, great wall lights and plenty of air conditioning so although a hot day outside, the temperature was just right inside.

The ‘island’ where the waiting staff work from has been turned into a splendid art deco feature.

It was probably a third full when we arrived. By 6.15pm the place was packed and one of the waitresses revealed that during its first days since the reopening every night had been like a Saturday night.

It’s an extensive menu with a main menu and then a whole raft of specials on another menu. The pizzas remain a mainstay so no fear there.

We shared a starter from the specials which was king prawns in garlic, chilli, white wine and cherry tomatoes (£10.95) along with an assorted bread basket with aioli garlic mayonnaise and olives (£3.50). Now that is a bread basket with at least three different types and one is an Italian version of a poppadom, a very dry and crisp ultra thin creation that’s completely moreish.

The starter featured three huge prawns in a sauce that was buzzing with the flavours of garlic mixed with the sharpness of lemon. There are few simpler pleasures in life than bread with aioli and there were masses of large juicy olives.

Mains were Pollo Da Sandro (£15.25), chicken fillet with prawns, tarragon, mushrooms, lobster bisque flamed with brandy in a cream sauce on a bed of wild rice. It’s as rich a dish as it sounds but we’d cannily kept some of the bread back to mop up the sauce.

Da Sandro pizzeria ristorante at Birchencliffe in Huddersfield.Fish platter featuring two huge prawns, sea bass, salmon, monkfish and squid.

I had a fish platter (£18.50) from the specials which include two huge prawns, sea bass, salmon, monkfish and squid which is great if you want to taste lots of different fish so you get to know what you like best. Surprisingly the salmon with its crispy skin won my self-imposed taste test challenge followed by monkfish, sea bass, the prawns (just because I had to peel them) and while the squid may have won the wooden spoon every last one was polished off. There are masses of fish choices on the specials.

There’s quite a large dessert menu too but we went for the homemade tiramisu to share – and that was the final portion they had. Great taste, so light and just the right amount to finish off a good meal and the fact none was left by Saturday teatime shows just how popular Da Sandro has been since it reopened.

They have a special gluten free menu and also an early bird menu Monday to Friday 12pm-2pm and 5.30pm-7pm, Saturday 12pm-5pm and Sunday 12.30pm-5.30pm.

It’s now 37 years since Da Sandro first opened. The menu’s so big (it’s all on the restaurant’s website) it’ll keep you going back again and again. It’s hard to see this restaurant not being around in another 37 years.

And that, believe it or not, would be 2055.

Da Sandro Pizzeria Ristorante

Halifax Road, Birchencliffe, Huddersfield, HD3 3NT

Phone 01484 512845

Website: www.dasandro.co.uk

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-2pm and 5.30pm-10pm, Saturday 12pm-10.30pm, Sunday and Bank Holidays 12.30pm-9.30pm

Children: Absolutely.

Disabled: Yes and a disabled toilet

The bill: £65.45

Would you go back: Is there anyone who has been who doesn’t?