Everyone – yes, surely everyone – in this town knows about Florios in Aberdeen Walk, and most will have eaten there at some stage.
But how many know of its “country cousin” in Malton?
Well, closer than cousin, actually. The two Florios are run by the Floris brothers Antonio (Scarborough) and Ignacio (Malton); there are other restaurants in the family as well, including Cogoni’s in North Marine Road, which is run by Antonio’s son.
In fact, Malton’s restaurant has been a fixture in the town centre since 1984.
There are similaritities between the two Florios in decor, style and menu, but the obvious difference is the size.
Malton’s is much smaller and intimate, inasmuch as either can ever be classed as intimate.
Having fewer tables, Malton’s has a relaxed feel, the large mirrors around the walls and the gleaming metallic-panelled ceiling giving an air of spaciousness.
Under his red peaked cap, Ignacio is very much hands-on as he works in the kitchen, keeping an eye on proceedings.
Proceedings when we went, on a Sunday evening, were very busy. Before the doors opened a queue had formed along the street, and the restaurant’s 20 or so tables very quickly filled up. Scarborough’s restaurant is rarely anything less than busy, and Malton’s appears to enjoy similar popularity.
From the menu, among our starter choices were the garlic bread – plain and tomato – and the grilled goat’s cheese in parma ham.
The latter, at £5.80, was delicious, a good portion of ham sitting atop the cheese which oozed off warm bread on a plate festooned with salad.
That starter was featured on the specials board, which was extensive, boasting seven antipastis, 10 mains and two desserts, over and above the already well-stocked standard menu.
Included on the mains board choices were lamb curry (a rather strange addition for an Italian restaurant!), fillet steak stroganoff, vegetable pancake, and grilled tiger prawns, but we opted for pasta or pizza on the “happy hour” choices – one reason why both restaurants are very popular in the early evening.
Of the pasta our party chose, the Maccheroni Al Pollo arrived slightly lukewarm, but had a generous helping of chicken. The Maccheroni all’Arrabbiatta had a delicious tangy tomato and garlic sauce bursting through the pepperoni, ham and peppers.
The Pizza Con Aglio was overendowed with garlic butter, making it slightly soggy.
Satisfyingly full after the starters and mains, it was fortunate that we were not rushed to vacate the table, as a decent break was needed before tackling the desserts. The After Eight ice-cream had a tasty mint zing, and the liquorice liquor ice-cream also packed a refreshing punch.
The staff were attentive and efficient, and, as we left, the customary ‘Happy Birthday’ tune rang out for a neighbouring party. The follow-on ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’ music brought a big smile to the little birthday girl’s face.
Good, simple food, good value, good atmosphere; the Malton venue certainly shares those with its Scarborough equivalent.
Ratings out of 10
Menu choice 8
OVERALL RATING 7