An architectural reflection of cosmopolitan Brighton

Al Forno restaurant, East Street, Brighton

“This is Al Forno restaurant. If you look closely into the window up at the top you will see a Ulysses type bust looking down onto the square and everyone in it. We thought pehaps it was Greek but it had a very grand presence looking down over the entrance to the Lanes.

A mixture of cultures
We were also intrigued by the house itself which seemed very English and very old with possibly a new influx of different cultures. There are lots of different cultural groups and places represented in Brighton and this seemed a good example of one interacting with the other.”

Comments about this page

  • Al Forno is one of the few places in the area (the others must be English’s and Wheelers) that predates the current flood of expensive trendy bistros. Always good value for money, with eccentric Italian waiters (one night they all went crazy because Italy had won the European Cup or something similar and started handing out free wine) whilst the lovely rabbit-warren of a building is perfect inside on a stormy and wet winter’s night. Long may it survive.

    By Adrian Baron (23/01/2007)
  • I just happened to be browsing some Brighton websites (I’m thinking of coming back for a short holiday from my Caribbean exile) and was shocked to see on Al Forno’s site that they have closed (Al Duomo lives on however). Does anyone know why? This was one of the best and most affordable places in the area and this is sad news.

    By Adrian Baron (30/04/2009)
  • Firstly my husband Dino and I opened Al Forno on 10th March 1971, not 1973. It was the first pizzaria in Brighton and was a great success from the start with customers lining up outside to get in. We opened Al Duomo in 1979 and that was also very successful, both restaurants having authentic wood burning ovens built by specialist oven builders from southern Italy.  Sadly Dino died in 1991 shortly after selling both restaurants.

    By Diana Azzarone (20/05/2015)
  • The wood-burning ovens! On 22 June 1986 (I dated all my slides!) I was in Brighton early to do a guided walk and passing through Pavilion Buildings saw a lorry loaded with logs being unloaded into Al Duomo. I think through pavement trap doors; I took a few slides but was not popular with the rather fierce looking gentleman unloading the wood! I think he imagined I was from the DHSS or tax people. Both restaurants were very popular and deservedly so as the pizzas have (in my opinion as a long time pizza lover!) never been bettered. Also Al Duomo was where I took my wife for our first date 25 years ago, so fond memories.

    By Geoffrey Mead (25/05/2015)
  • I was a student at Brighton Technical College between 1975 to 1977. In the summer of ’75 I started working part-time at Al Forno. First washing dishes, later as bar tender. I remember Salvatore (he passed away sometime in ’79 I think), Clemente, Mustaffa and Anna (Dino’s sister). Many fond memories.

    By Anuar Mohamad (20/06/2015)
  • Diana, thank you so much for your information about Al Forno and Al Duomo. I should have mentioned the wood-burning ovens and I remember the queues well. It was always worth waiting for the fabulous pizza.

    By Adrian Baron (13/04/2016)
  • Hi Diana.  I found this page while looking for a restaurant in Brighton to recommend to a friend. I remember Alforno and Alduomo, and your husband, so well from the 1970s and 80s.  So many happy memories.  I also remember meeting your son Domenico when he was working at a hotel in Wetherby, Yorks in the 90s and how you gave him one of your husband’s old pizza recipes for him to make me a “special”.  Wonderful. Thank you and Dom for what you did.  I now live in Somerset but have never forgotten.  Many, many thanks.

    By Alan Woodhead (24/09/2016)
  • Al Fornos was one of my favourites in the early ‘80s. My husband proposed to me there in 1983. Fond memories and sad that it’s gone. 

    By Karon (11/02/2018)
  • What a great place this was, I used to travel down from Derby to see a friend who lived in Brighton, well Hove actually! We used to eat there, it was like nothing else we had in Derby at the time, 1979 – 1981 have some fotos somewhere of me standing against the menu box outside, great times.

    By Steve Burton (06/04/2020)
  • I was a student from 1971 till 1974 living in Brighton and I think Al Forno was definitely the best pizza restaurant in the 70s.

    It had unbelievable atmosphere and was very very popular. You always had to queue as it was always very busy.

    I had my 21st birthday party there in November 1973 and I remember it being a really unbelievable evening.

    I will always always have very fond memories of this restaurant.

    By Cesar Sassoon (17/08/2020)

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