Norwich Italian restaurant shortlisted for two national awards
- Credit: Archant
A city restaurant is celebrating a slice of success after making it to the finals of the English Italian Awards 2018.
Saporita, located in St Andrews Hill, has been shortlisted as one of the finalists in the Best Family Owned Restaurant and Best Italian Restaurant categories.
The business is owned by Veronica Iapichino, who moved to England five years ago and wanted to open somewhere 'between a takeaway and an expensive restaurant' to serve authentic Italian food.
Saporita, which translates as 'tasty', serves pizza by the slice, focaccia, paninis and tagliere all made on-site by Veronica's mum Patrizia, who previously owned a pizza kiosk and restaurant in Milan.
Miss Iapichino said: 'I came to the UK five years ago and Norwich four years ago and was in London learning English as I was studying public relations and events and it was impossible without English.
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'My teacher told me to go to Norwich as it's a nice city so I came here and got a job in Grosvenor Fish Bar and they helped me out a lot.
'I saw a lot of people who wanted to eat out and didn't want to cook at home but at the same time didn't want to spend a lot of money.
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'We said we needed to find something between a takeaway and expensive restaurant which was simple, easy and tasty.
'My mum has been making pizza since she was 18 so came here to join me and I'm so thankful to her, she changed her life for my dreams.'
Saporita is up against nine other restaurants from across the UK in each category and the winners have been decided by a public vote.
The awards ceremony is set to take place this Sunday, October 7 in Manchester and is a huge achievement for Miss Iapichino as they only opened in February 2017.
Miss Iapichino added: 'It's very exciting and we are very happy because we know our customers appreciate what we are doing and we have received a lot of votes and it's a huge goal for us as we've been open less than two years.
'Owning an independent restaurant is completely different to working for someone as every time you're giving the maximum of yourself in time, love and passion and have no free time but when you see this kind of thing happens it makes it worthwhile.
'The difference with us is not just the food but the atmosphere when people come in here and the relationship with me and my mum - people aren't just customers we treat them like a relation.'
Elsewhere in the city, Cafe Gelato is also one of the finalists in the Best Gelateria category.