La Scala Abbeydale Road: Legendary Sheffield restaurant shuts after 24 years

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It was one of the city's best loved Italian restaurants, with an average rating on Google reviews of 4.8 stars, and was popular with Sheffield United players

A legendary Italian restaurant has said arrivederci to Sheffield, shutting for good after nearly a quarter of a century.

La Scala, on Abbeydale Road, in Millhouses, opened in 1999 and has hosted many famous parties over the years, including a private bash for the Sheffield United squad.

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Raza Khan, former owner of the Italian restaurant La Scala, on Abbeydale Road, in Millhouses, Sheffield. It has closed after 24 years and is set to be replaced by a Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant called Olive HouseRaza Khan, former owner of the Italian restaurant La Scala, on Abbeydale Road, in Millhouses, Sheffield. It has closed after 24 years and is set to be replaced by a Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant called Olive House
Raza Khan, former owner of the Italian restaurant La Scala, on Abbeydale Road, in Millhouses, Sheffield. It has closed after 24 years and is set to be replaced by a Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant called Olive House | Raza Khan

It was one of the best loved Italian restaurants in Sheffield, with an average Google reviews rating of 4.8 stars.

But owner Raza Khan told The Star he had taken the difficult decision to sell up as he felt it was 'time to go'.

"I put a lot of work into building La Scala up into a well-established restaurant with a nice clientele so it's a little bit said but it was time to go," he said.

"I was able to say goodbye to many of our loyal customers over the last month, offering them a bottle of wine or a beer on the house as a thank you. They were sad to see us go but they understood."

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Raza added that he had hoped to throw a big farewell party before closing at the end of October but that wasn't possible in the end due to the timings with the sale.

The 57-year-old - who has two grown-up children, including Myla, who used to regularly help out at the restaurant and is now a lawyer - said he is not retiring but wants to take things easier.

Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant set to replace La Scala

The building is set to reopen soon as a Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant called the Olive House.

Raza said he had received higher offers for the business from other parties but sold to the new owners as he 'liked their ethic'. "I wish them good luck and I think they will be alright," he added.

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La Scala, on Abbeydale Road, in Millhouses, Sheffield has closed after 24 years. It is set to be replaced by a Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant called Olive HouseLa Scala, on Abbeydale Road, in Millhouses, Sheffield has closed after 24 years. It is set to be replaced by a Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant called Olive House
La Scala, on Abbeydale Road, in Millhouses, Sheffield has closed after 24 years. It is set to be replaced by a Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant called Olive House | Scott Merrylees

Raza had been involved with La Scala, named after the renowned opera house in Milan, from the start, initially as the manager before taking over the business around two years later.

He grew up in a family restaurant and after dropping out of university entered the hospitality industry, working at a number of hotels and restaurants in and around Sheffield, including The Flying Pizza on Glossop Road and San Lorenzo in Sharrow Vale. He also used to run Utopia Coffee Lounge at West One in the city centre.

Famous diners and favourite dishes

Raza told how the most popular dishes at La Scala, which was previously home to Doherty's Bistro, included the risotto, made with seasonal ingredients, and classic plates like veal, calf's liver and whitebait which are not found on many menus these days. There were also regularly changing seafood specials depending what fresh fish was available each day.

Celebrity customers over the years have included Roy Hattersley, the former deputy leader of the Labour Party, and ex-Sheffield United manager Bryan Robson, who Raza said had told him La Scala was his favourite restaurant in the city. He said he remained good friends with many of the Blades players who have visited over the years.

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La Scala was not just popular for the food. It used to host night music nights on Mondays and was known for the New Year's fireworks displays it used to stage.

Raza thanked all the customers who had supported the restaurant over the years and the staff, with special mentions for Domenico Contartese, Vika Goodwin, Santo Pontillo, Yupi Salla, Chief Hatem, Alessandro Trassatti, Paolo Stazi, Steve Rowlett, Danila Franci, Deborah Rodriguez, Kathryn and Amr Fairburn, and Ali and Taki.

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