A POPULAR Italian restaurant in Weymouth has proved it is the pick of the bunch after picking up a prestigious award.

Al Molo, based on the Pier Bandstand in the town, was given an award by the Italian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) at a glitzy ceremony in London in October.

Giuseppe Vannucci and Tim Newton, who own the restaurant, were given the Marchio Ospitalità Italiana award by representatives of the ICC.

The restaurant is the only one in the south west region to have been given the award.

Owner Mr Vannucci said: “I got very emotional when I found out that Al Molo was going to be recognised by the Italian Chamber of Commerce with this prestigious award.

“Only the world’s top Italian restaurants are awarded the Marchio Ospitalità Italiana and we are now one of them.

“In fact we are the only one in the South West to have one.”

It is another taste of success for the restaurant, which only opened in March this year.

The MOI was set up by the Italian chamber to recognise the best Italian restaurants across the world and to celebrate the impact that Italian food has had on local cuisine.

To win the award, restaurants must prove how they have developed and promoted the traditions of the Italian agricultural and food products, and celebrated the Italian gastronomic culture.

The “Marchio Ospitalità Italiana” is an internationally recognised award that only a few Italian restaurant in the UK have qualified for (Al Molo is the only one in the South West), which makes the award even more well one when you consider that Al Molo only opened in March of this year.

Caterina Cotugno, from the Italian Chamber of Commerce, praised the restaurant for the cuisine it serves customers.

He said: “The Ospitalità Italiana certificate aims to reward the authentic Italian organisations abroad characterised by their attention to quality and their respect for the traditional Italian cuisine.

“The Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK is delighted to award Al Molo Fine Italian Dining with this prize.”