When surveys are carried out about the most popular kind of restaurant, the Italian almost invariably heads the list.

It makes sense when you think of it, as a good Italian offers that great combination of friendly, relaxing atmosphere and great, tasty food.

Here is East Lancashire we are very fortunate to have some very fine purveyors of perfect pasta and tasty tiramisu. We asked you to suggest your favourites so we could share them with our readers.

Our list is by no means definitive but it does showcase five of the best Italian restaurants in the area which you may wish to try. If you have other recommendations, then do let us know.

Carlo's, Colne

One of East Lancashire’s longest established Italians, this family-run restaurant promises to bring a little slice of Sicily to a meal out for more than 30 years. The distinctive decor and friendly service have seen Carlo’s amass a large number of ‘regulars’ in that time.

Families are made welcome and the ever-changing specials complement the traditional pizza and pasta dishes and there is an abundance of choice from steak to risotto. Look out for some special two-course offers.

Live music is played in the bar area on Fridays and Saturdays adding to the party atmosphere.

Nino's, Fighting Cocks, Cliviger

Situated in the Fighting Cocks, Nino’s is yet another family-run Italian restaurant which has been based in East Lancashire for more than 30 years.

It’s often extremely busy which is testament to its popularity. There’s live music in the lounge area of Fridays and Saturdays and private dining is also available. The three-course Sunday lunch is good value and there are a number of tempting specials.

La Laconda, Gisburn

The multiple awards this family-run restaurant has picked up over the years should give you a clue to the quality of the food on offer. But in spite of all the accolades, the success hasn’t gone to their heads and it has remained cosy and relaxed and the warm welcome is genuinely Italian. It may be a little out of the way for some but it’s well worth making the effort to get to.

Mangiamo, Darwen

Located on Bolton Road on the way out of Darwen, Mangiamo’s has been a favourite with locals for more than 20 years. The stone floors and double-height interior give the restaurant a light and airy feel and yet the atmosphere remains intimate and friendly. A good selection of pizzas, pasta and steak as standard, there is usually a wide choice of specials offering Mediterranean cuisine.

Checco’s, Great Harwood

One of the main attractions of a genuine Italian restaurant is the atmosphere and Checco’s has always managed to create a cracking one. Combine this with an ever-changing specials boards and some classic Italian dishes on the main menu and you can see why this family-run establishment has been a popular choice for diners for more than 25 years. Families are very welcome with youngsters being given the option of half-sized portions.