Be it a romantic meal for two, a family affair, special occasion or an off the cuff ‘I can’t be bothered to cook tonight – let’s go out’ - eating out can be really exciting.

Without a doubt, the food is normally the star of the show, but a restaurant’s décor and design and front of house approach are equally as important and can make or break the entire dining experience.

And the moment I stepped into Ristorante Barolo it was clear that the eaterie has embraced the latter two factors, firmly – with both hands.

The popular Italian has recently undergone a complete refurbishment and you can’t help but be impressed when you walk in. The restaurant is spacious, yet cosy, with dimmed lights and background music creating a lovely ambience.

I’ve lived in Winton for just over two years and I must admit I’ve never ventured up Wimborne Road far enough to even catch a glimpse of Ristorante Barolo. I’d heard the name, and heard very good things, but never visited so it was hard to make a comparison to what it was like before. But it was after the third couple poked their heads through the door – ‘Oh wow it’s lovely’, ‘What a difference’, ‘It’s very nice indeed’ – I realised this overhaul was something special. It was compliment after compliment on the Italian’s new look.

It’s clear Barolo’s owner is a firm believer of 'if you’re going to do something, do it properly'. The bar’s moved, walls have been knocked down and the décor has been brought right up to date – the place oozes style and shouts welcome.

But loyal Barolo fans (of which there are many) fear not. Despite the makeover, Barolo still boasts its same great menu and attentive staff.

The menu is vast, with plenty of dishes for both vegetarians and meat eaters. Out of the 24 tempting starters I opted for the Mozzarella In Carrozza (£7.50) – essentially a warm, gooey and very satisfying deep fried cheese sandwich tossed in a tomato sauce – delightfully rustic and simply served. My guest chose the Funghi Provencale (£7) – mushrooms sautéed in garlic, tomato, fresh chilli and white wine. Good-sized mushrooms were served whole in a sauce seasoned to perfection. Although big portions, the starters definitely whet our appetites for what was to come – we were in for a treat.

A generous serving of Tagliatelle Salmone (£13.50) followed. The dish was simple – chunks of tender salmon in a creamy tomato sauce – but delicious and had a lovely subtle, smoky taste.

Meanwhile my guest was tucking into Barolo’s Pollo Principessa (£16.50). A plate adorned with a chicken breast drowned in a white wine and cream sauce topped with fresh asparagus was placed on the table. A waiter then served the roast potatoes and vegetables from a separate dish onto the plate with the chicken, allowing my guest to say when she had a sufficient amount. A nice touch as, for those with a smaller appetite, a plate filled with food can sometimes leave you feeling defeated before you’ve even begun.

All this was washed down nicely with a bottle of Frascati Superiore (£23.50).

I’d already decided before I’d even stepped foot in the restaurant what I was going to have for dessert – the tiramisu. But then I saw the menu. It was like my whole world had tipped upside down.

My last-minute gamble to order the Mela Menta (£6) paid off. The mint ice cream bombe covered in chocolate served with crème de menthe liqueur was light and refreshing. A bonus was my guest ordered the tiramisu (£6) and the portion was huge. I just had to have a taste – it was incredibly light and had a good kick of coffee.

If you are looking for a truly memorable dining experience and enjoy authentic Italian cuisine, paired with generous servings and big flavours, Barolo is certainly for you.

And for those who want to enjoy the taste of Barolo at home, the restaurant also offers the full menu as a take-away and delivery service.