CHESHIRE’S best restaurant is waiting to find out if it will claim the national title.

Giuliano Ristorante in Handforth was named the county’s best restaurant at the England's Business Awards earlier this year.

So we paid the restaurant on Wilmslow Road a visit to see what all the fuss is about.

Warrington Guardian: Giuliano is on Wilmslow Road in HandforthGiuliano is on Wilmslow Road in Handforth (Image: Newsquest)

As they say, first impressions are everything and Giuliano doesn’t disappoint on that account.

Within seconds of stepping inside, a friendly face had welcomed me and shown me to my table.

The large restaurant is decorated throughout with plants, columns, and renaissance-style sculptures, giving you the sense of being transported to a Sicilian villa.

Before the meal, I met the owner, Lulzim Culaj, who took over the then-struggling restaurant in 2019.

Despite having no experience and faced with a difficult start, he and his business partner have managed to turn the place around and it is now one of Cheshire’s top-rated restaurants on TripAdvisor, something Lulzim takes great pride in.

He admitted to me that while there may be restaurants that do nicer food, or have better service or are more beautiful, he is confident there are none which bring it all together like Giuliano.

Perhaps more than anything, Lulzim and his team work to ensure they create a bond with their customers.

This has resulted in a large number of regulars, something I witnessed for myself as dozens of people filled the restaurant on a Thursday night.

Another key to the restaurant’s success is honesty.

Lulzim says he always aims to be up front with his customers if there are any issues and likewise, he welcomes their feedback.

Most recently they received a complaint about the quality of napkins and while it may seem a small detail, Lulzim spared no expense in ordering a set of new ones as he strives to make Giuliano the best it can be.

Warrington Guardian: Funghi al dolcelatteFunghi al dolcelatte (Image: Newsquest)

On to the meal itself and my girlfriend and I began with an Aperol spritz each.

I didn’t actually think I would be a fan but it turns out my taste buds have changed since I last had one (on a family holiday soon after turning 18).

Both being vegetarians we started by sharing some olives and the funghi al dolcelatte, to the disappointment of our waiter, who was clearly keen to show off the prawns they buy fresh at a nearby market multiple times a week.

The creamy, garlicky mushrooms were a personal highlight of the meal for me and I will be sure to try my best to recreate this dish at home.

For mains I had a Fiorentina pizza and my partner went for the ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach, served in a cherry tomato, wild mushroom, cream and white wine sauce.

Now I eat pizza probably far more than I should but this was up there with the best of them, although it is certainly one to tackle with a knife and fork.

Warrington Guardian: The mains - Pizza Fiorentina and Ravioli alla ToscanaThe mains - Pizza Fiorentina and Ravioli alla Toscana (Image: Newsquest)

We shared a tiramisu for dessert which my girlfriend said was the standout dish of the meal.

I would say I’m not a fan of tiramisu but now I’m not so sure, this one did a great job of avoiding the things I usually dislike, namely the soggy sponge you sometimes get.

Given the England's Business Awards are decided by a public vote and secret diners, there is no reason Giuliano can’t bring the title back to Cheshire.

Lulzim and the team go the extra mile to make each and every customer feel at home, with the attentive staff ensuring the only thing you are left waiting for is your next visit.

Warrington Guardian: Tiramisu and a coffeeTiramisu and a coffee (Image: Newsquest)