By Steph Brawn

A BARRHEAD restaurant is in line for a prestigious culinary prize.

Amano, in the town’s Glasgow Road, opened its doors for the first time less than a year ago.

However, the popular eatery has already made a good impression, with organisers of the Scottish Italian Awards naming it as a finalist in this year’s Best Newcomer and Best Marketing Campaign categories.

Christine Slavin, co-owner of Amano, has thanked the restaurant’s loyal clientele for putting her business forward for the keenly-contested prize.

She told the Barrhead News: “We are very pleased to be finalists and it’s nice to know our customers are liking it here.

“I think that, if we can take home the award, it would be fantastic for Barrhead.”

Amano is up against nine rivals for the prize, including five from Glasgow – Caffè da Sara, Celino’s, La Casa, La Lanterna and Al Forno.

The other finalists are Crollas Gelateria, in Aberdeen, Dal Patino, in Musselburgh, Mieles Gelateria, in Inverness, and Quei Bravi Ragazzi, in Troon.

Also flying the flag for East Renfrewshire in this year’s awards is Toni’s Pizzeria, in Giffnock, which has been named as a finalist in the Best Pizza category.

Several restaurants in Renfrewshire are in the running for prizes, with Bridge of Weir-based Amaretto aiming to take home a hat-trick of awards in the Best Pasta, Best Marketing Campaign and Best Family Friendly Restaurant sections.

Luna Rossa, in Renfrew, and Trattoria Roma, in Johnstone, are up for the Best Trattoria gong, with the former also up for Best Wine Selection.

And in the Best Fish and Chips category, Linwood-based Guido’s and Johnstone eatery Sandro’s have both been named as finalists.

The awards, which are supported by the Italian Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Tourist Board, aim to recognise the significant contribution made by Italian restaurants to the Scottish hospitality industry.

More than 1,500 businesses took part in this year’s competition, with 93 finalists declared after the public vote ended.

An expert panel of judges will now decide the winners.

Venues will be visited, menus scrutinised and offerings taste-tested in the search for the best in Scotland across categories spanning the industry.

The winners will be declared at the annual Gala Final, which takes place at the Glasgow Hilton on Sunday, November 12.

Warren Paul, CEO of the Italian Awards, said: “The awards was born from a realisation that the contribution of Italian restaurateurs to the Scottish hospitality industry was grossly overlooked.

“The Italian hospitality trade boasts some of the most innovative and committed individuals and some of Scotland’s most talented chefs.

“Five years on, we see the industry in a time of true strength, with new establishments opening across the country. We are delighted to introduce new businesses to the competition, as well as welcome back competitors who have taken part since the inaugural event.

“I eagerly look forward to celebrating alongside the best of the best at our Gala Final in November.”