A PORTUGESE and Italian restaurant in Colwyn Bay has celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Virgilio’s in Penrhyn Road was founded when Virgilio Da Silva moved to the town from Manchester, and it is believed he is the longest serving restauranteur on the North Wales coast.

His son, Andrio, said: “My grandparents came to Manchester from Madeira in 1964 and worked in restaurants. My dad started working with them while he was still in school as a kitchen porter and when he left school he worked his way up to become a chef and eventually head chef in a big restaurant.

“Eventually he and Mum, who is also from Madeira decided to take the plunge and start their own restaurant in Colwyn Bay. My mother had worked in hotels includinbg the Piccadilly Hotel in Manchester. That was 30 years ago.

“They worked hard and built the business, initially it was just an Italian restaurant, but after a few years they added Portuguese dishes to the menu. This proved to be a big success with people associating it with their holidays in Portugal and Madeira, bringing back happy memories of sunshine, sea and sand.

“In fact, my parents created an authentic Portuguese atmosphere. The fact Virgilio’s is still so popular is a tribute to their success and commitment.”

Andrio, who also works in the restaurant, added: “Mum and Dad wanted to create a stable business for me and my brother Fabio. They’ve done just that, and we plan to grow the business, we plan to open a takeaway in Colwyn Bay as the next move and we are looking for suitable premises.”

He said the restaurant serves a range of authentic meals from Portugal and Italy. "Probably the most popular is espetada which is skewers of meat or fish cooked over a charcoal grill flame. Portuguese chips are another favourite, they are chips served with Portuguese herbs and garlic."One speciality is rump of lamb stuffed with rosemary and garlic or sirloin steak glazed with garlic and rock salt, served on a hot stone which customers then cook for themselves at their table.

“We have a number of fish dishes, including sea bream and tuna. Our pizzas are always popular, but one big hitter is our pizza base garlic bread, we have customers who can’t get enough of it, and, of course, pizza.”