AN ICONIC Kincardine chippy has added the perfect topping to its return to business by having its pizza voted as Scotland's tastiest.

Ilario's, situated on the village's High Street, earned some well-deserved recognition as they were named as the Scotland and Northern Ireland final winners at the UK National Italian Pizza Championships in Glasgow.

That accolade, in which Casa Mia, in Dunfermline, was highly recommended, saw them go on to finish as runners-up in the UK-wide prize as part of the 2019 Italian Awards.

The popular eatery, which was established 37 years ago, were also one of five finalists shortlisted for Scotland's best fish and chips, best pizzeria and best family friendly restaurant in the east.

After taking part in a live cooking demonstration, their pizzas made a huge impression on the panel of independent judges.

Riccardo Chicarella, whose father, Ilario, set-up the business, said: "It was a massive day for us.

"We had a live cook-off at 9am, and then at 11am [the finalists] were narrowed down again. And then it was released that we were the winner, meaning we were up against the England and Wales champions.

"It was absolutely incredible and a really special day for us. Italian pizza chefs take it very seriously and I didn't think we'd be as high but, when we arrived, everyone was on point and knew what to do.

"We believe in our product and work hard, and when they shouted out our name, it was a feeling of ecstasy. It's probably the first competition we've ever entered.

"To go through that and be the best in Scotland is incredible."

The award was the sweetener on what has been a remarkable year for the restaurant.

Gutted by fire in 2017 and closed for two years – Ilario's made a roaring comeback this summer.

Customers from within the local community and beyond rallied to offer Ilario's support and, in June, turned out in droves when they returned to tickle their taste buds.

Riccardo added: "After the fire and we came back, everybody came back. You aren't a business without any customers, and they've been amazing.

"We've been so busy and it's great for everyone that works with us. They're buzzing and know how much we appreciate our staff.

"It's quite overwhelming that, when you're in a room with 1,000 Italians who do the same as you every day, to be told that yours is the best.

"It's a great experience for us as a business."