Italian Restaurants in Edinburgh
1. Mono Italian restaurant in Edinburgh 85 South Bridge - EH1
2021 Review: “Making other fine dining establishments in town look somewhat staid, out of touch and overpriced” – this April 2018 newcomer is “superb”, and some would say “the best restaurant to have opened in Edinburgh in recent times”. “A charismatic space” with “splendid service” – “the reference on its website to ‘progressive Italian dining’ is accurate” and the modern cuisine is “outstanding” – “go downstairs to see the kitchen in action”. To match the fine cooking there’s “an exceptional, mostly Italian, wine list”.
2. Divino Enoteca Italian restaurant in Edinburgh 5 Merchant St - EH1
2021 Review: This “stylish and relaxed” Italian wine bar and restaurant occupies a basement in the Old Town, and provides a “guaranteed night out” with “high-class food” and in particular an “excellent wine list” – “under the masterly direction of maître d’ Silvio Praino”. Part of the Vittoria group owned by a branch of the Italo-Scottish Crolla clan, it celebrates its 10th anniversary last year.
3. Valvona & Crolla Italian restaurant in Edinburgh 19 Elm Row - EH7
The walk through the legendary Italian deli and wine merchants at the front (est. 1934) inculcates a foodie frame of mind at this famous deli, at the start of the road to Leith. For a superior tipple, every bottle in the shop is available to drink with a £5 corkage charge. By comparison, the relatively straightforward food in the café-style section at the rear (open all day from breakfast) is more humdrum (for cynics a case of “big prices and wee plates”).
4. Contini George Street Italian restaurant in Edinburgh 103 George Street - EH2
“Contini manages to get brunch, lunch and dinner exactly right (although the Scottish breakfast is not for a weak appetite)” say fans of this converted banking hall. Their small-plates menu is “genuinely innovative while keeping in touch with what people want to eat” and there's “discrete” service on offer (often from “Victor Contini himself, usually to be seen in a smart suit at front of house)”.
5. Rico's Italian restaurant in Edinburgh 58a Castle Street - EH2
In July 2021 (after our survey concluded) this new venture took over the New Town site of Martin Wishart's The Honour (RIP). The new operator is local restaurateur Stefano Pieraccini of The Rocca Group, which also includes The Broughton and – a perennial favourite with Harden's reporters – The Seafood Ristorante in St Andrews. Italian dishes are made with locally sourced Scottish ingredients.
6. Favorita Pizza restaurant in Edinburgh 325 Leith Walk - EH6
2021 Review: In Leith Walk, this “family-orientated” staple can be relied upon for “superb” wood-fired pizzas, pastas and so forth in a “buzzing atmosphere”.
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