Friday, 21 August 2015


Many congratulations to Lorenzo Nargi, whose restaurant at 73 Westow Hill, turned 30 this year. Born near Naples, Lorenzo first came to London in 1960, and it was only a chance encounter, 20 years later, that brought him to SE19. An eccentric old Irishman was letting the premises on Westow Hill. It had been a boutique, apparently going by the dubious name, Man Bate. Lorenzo wisely discarded the name in favour of his own, and continued to run it as a ladies wear shop for another 5 years. He also opened a hair salon upstairs in what is now the private dining room. When the restaurant first opened in 1985, he had queues round the block, and delighted customers told him he'd put Crystal Palace on the map. By his own admission, there wasn't exactly much competition back then, but the longevity of his business speaks volumes. He always wanted to create something which was friendly and non-exclusive. And he appears to have succeeded, almost nothing has changed about the restaurant since the day it first opened; from the scenic plates adorning the walls, to the steadfastly traditional menu of old favourites such as Spaghetti Bolognese, Ravioli, and Lasagne. Even the staff don't change that often, with current manager, Fabio, having been in charge for 15 years. Customers just love the reliable and friendly food and service. OK so there have been a couple of changes, the restaurant spread from the original ground floor dining room, to the basement and the first floor, Capri room, and now includes a roof terrace for summer dining al fresco.
Naturally Lorenzo has seen many changes during his time here, but while many of us may fret about the possibility of our favourite local haunts being swept away by a tide of chain stores and restaurants, he points out that in actual fact the reverse is true. With the recent exception of Costa, we've seen the closure of the local branches of MacDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Pizza Express. Obviously we like to buck trends here in SE19.
So, Saluti Lorenzo, here's to the next 30 years!

The Capri Room on the first floor
The roof terrace

Lorenzo Nargi

73 Westow Hill
020 8761 7485