Worthing: Arrival and Dinner at Enzo’s Italian Restaurant

It wasn’t quite a pin in a map, but it could have been anywhere on the West Sussex coast when I searched on Booking.com for a seaside break in the spring. It was last September and travel was still uncertain, but I wanted a little trip to look forward to so somewhere in the UK seemed the safest bet. I didn’t want to drive too far though. Devon and Cornwall are great, but a bit of a mission by road for a long weekend. The south coast, however, is only an hour and a half’s drive from me; I’ve done it as a day trip. So, the ‘pin’ landed in Worthing on the basis I wanted a sea view, and really, a building called Seaview had to be what I was looking for.

The unseasonal hot weather of a week ago, when I’d dug out my flip-flops and T-shirts, had given way in true British style to a sudden drop in temperature and even snow was forecast. There had been the lightest of snow flurries in the air as I left home and when I arrived in Worthing, the property manager Anne (who has been really helpful) told me I’d just missed a blizzard. But all had calmed down and although it was windy, sun shone along the beachfront and I was delighted to find myself by the sea again.

The view from the apartment was just what I’d wanted – a great view of the sea. And the view eastwards revealed Worthing’s famous Art Deco pier nearby.

After I’d unpacked, I quickly put on ‘sensible’ shoes and headed off for a walk along the beach. The wind was strong, making it a bit chilly, but the sun was shining so really, what more could one want.

The Art Deco pavilion at the end of the pier is closed for renovation but you can still walk to the end.

I walked a little further on. It was quiet on the beach, not many people around, and simply glorious.

Once I started looking at places to eat in Worthing, I soon realised it has quite a foodie vibe. My friend Tina – who is coming down for a couple of days and her son loves here, so she knows it well – recommended a couple of places, one we’re going to together. And Jay Rayner recently wrote enthusiastically about another in the Observer – Bayside Social – which I’ve booked for Saturday evening.

My search revealed Enzo’s Italian Restaurant as one of the best and some Italian food on my first evening seemed comfortingly inviting. So I booked. As it happened it was only a 5-minute walk from the flat so incredibly easy to get to.

I’d booked for the early hour of 7pm and was the first person in, but gradually more people arrived and soon a nice buzz filled the room. The welcome was warm and friendly; Vincenzo the manager served me. I didn’t want a starter but ordered sparkling water and a medium glass of Gavi to drink while I waited for the seafood risotto I’d chosen.

The seafood risotto, when it arrived (with a side mixed salad) looked wonderful.

With squid, clams, prawns and mussels and tomato running through it, it was delicious. The fish cooked to perfect sweet tenderness and the rice just right. I really enjoyed it. The side salad was great too, wonderfully fresh but quite large so I couldn’t finish it.

I decided to have a dessert. But to order a tiramisu or not to order a tiramisu? That was the important question, and while not quite on the Hamlet scale, it was close. I love tiramisu but so often it’s done really badly. But here was a restaurant run by Italians, the risotto had been great, so I decided to chance it.

I am so glad I did. It was wonderful; an excellent tiramisu. And made in true Italian style. I finished with an espresso and Vincenzo brought the bill (£39.20) and we chatted for a while, and I discovered he came from Naples. It makes such a difference when you’re travelling and eating alone that people take the time to talk to you.

What a lovely start to my break. I left the restaurant and cut down a road back on to the seafront and was soon back in the warmth of the flat.

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

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