Memories of the 70s

A recent photo of Vesuvio's, which is now divided into flats. | Photo by Michael Brittain
A recent photo of Vesuvio's, which is now divided into flats.
Photo by Michael Brittain

Legendary spaghetti bolognese

The long gone Vesuvio’s Restaurant in Brighton is sometimes brought up in conversation with old friends, it was in Middle Street, opposite the Hippodrome and we sometimes ate there in the 70’s and early 80’s. I remember eating there after the pubs had shut and having their legendary spaghetti bolognese in about 1973. The restaurant was on two floors so there always seemed to be a free table and it was full of the people you had just seen drinking in the pubs around town.

Formidable menu

The menu was formidable; amongst the several pages of choices you could always find something that whetted your appetite. One of my friends used to often order a roast dinner followed by apple pie and custard; this was after the pubs had shut on a Friday or Saturday night. Looking back those waitresses must have had a hard time taking orders and serving the rowdy after pub crowd, but in saying that; I never saw any trouble when I have eaten there.

History of the building

It looks like the building has been an eating place for many years. I remember the large front windows had etched glass which looked pretty old; I’m sure it said the words ‘Dining Rooms’. The building has now been turned into flats, but I’m sure it had a rich history as a café or restaurant serving the people of central Brighton. Does anybody else remember eating in Vesuvio’s, I believe it was popular with the after bingo crowd in the 80s. Also, does anybody have any information on the businesses and history of this building?   


Comments about this page

  • This restaurant was one of the Divalls chain that operated in the town in the early 40s until the late 50s. I hope that’s a help for you.

    By Paul (28/11/2011)
  • Mick, I also remember Vesuvio’s, well just about remember it. I only ever went there following a night on the town, so I could be wrong. I remember it on the corner of Middle St and Boyces St, not as shown on the photo, am I wrong?

    By Peter Groves (28/11/2011)
  • Vesuvio’s is defiantly the building in the photo Pete because I fell up those steps a few times after the pubs shut. I think on the corner of Boyces St there was a greasy spoon type cafe which is now Choccywoccydoodah Cafe. Thanks for the Divalls link Paul, I bet they used to pile sandwiches up in the window like they did opposite the station on Terminus Rd.

    By Michael Brittain (28/11/2011)
  • I remember having the ‘Half Roast Chicken’ there -just chicken, no veg.There may have been a bit of rice. I had a couple of old friends who were an elderly gay couple who had a house with no kitchen equipment, it was so cheap at Vesuvio’s they ate there nearly every night!. They said it was cheaper to do that than eat at home.

    By Geoffrey Mead (01/12/2011)
  • Hi Mick, I also remember Vesuvio’s from the 70s -we used to stagger there after doing the rounds of Shades Bar/Druids Head/King and Queen–but there is no comment of the other popular place in the Lanes and that’s The Four Aces -(on the corner near the entrance to Lanes from North Street) -it was cheap and also popular for after pub eating .I remember a huge menu which consisted of steak/steak and more steak with the only variety being the sauce you had with it! It seemed to have the same decor as Vesuvio’s and I would not be suprised if it had belonged to the same owner!

    By Belinda Lumsden (05/12/2011)
  • I used to eat at this restaurant most Friday nights in the early sixties after an evening in the Druid’s Head. The Vesuvio and Choys were my favourites. I remember having quite exotic dishes there for its’ time.

    By Michael Lee (10/12/2012)
  • In 1971 Kelly’s directory, Swevia Restaurant was number 25/26 Middle Street. Me and the wife went there in 1965 when it was Vesuvio and had three course meal for 12.6d. Prawn cocktail, Steak Garnier, and Fruit Salad washed down with a bottle of Matteus Rose.

    By Vic Fulker (11/12/2012)
  • Vesuvio’s was great! The longest menu you ever saw and, as someone else said, steak with every sauce imaginable. I always went for steak stuffed with mushrooms with a red wine sauce. I’m sure it was owned by two brothers of Mediterranean extraction, and Yvonne was one of the hardworking waitresses. It was always packed out because it was so cheap (and scruffy – the wallpaper never changed!).

    By Janet Beal (12/12/2012)
  • Great restaurant! Everything came with cabbage I remember. Went there on my hen night – all this rubbish going abroad now, we did pub crawls in my day and the night before our weddings. Vesuviois was cheap and the place to go after pubs. That’s why there wasn’t much trouble -if you ate you could drink, and vice versa.

    By Rosemary Appleton/Trigwell (05/04/2014)
  • I recall the restaurant, Tony, Salvador, Irene. I worked in the bingo hall during the late 70s or perhaps early 80s. We would go for a meal after work, Maggie, Lynn, Wendy, good memories.

    By Andrew (08/11/2016)
  • I used to go there loads in the early to mid 70s, usually after a night out and even Christmas do’s with work colleagues. My wife and I used to go with friends in our courting days. I loved the cannelloni starter! Not sure whether they were pre-made, but they tasted great. I liked the steak diplomat for a main course, but had to find the cocktail stick, as it was a stuffed steak. All washed down with Mateus Rose, and an Irish coffee. It must have been a good place to work, because the same girls were there for years. One of them was very tall with long dark hair. They were always pleasant and cheerful. Happy days.

    By Nigel Vary (09/05/2018)

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