When that all too familiar foodie craving for Italian hits — think plates of perfectly al dente pasta, an abundance of fresh bruschetta, creamy carbonara and towers of endless Tiramisu — Edinburgh has you covered. Experience the taste of Italy in Scotland’s capital city with our round-up of the must-try Italian eateries.
Valvona & Crolla
Deli, Wine Bar, Cafe, Charcuterie, Restaurant, Wine, Italian, $$$
As the don of Edinburgh’s Italian cuisine scene, family-run Valvona & Crolla has been a foodie force since 1934, thanks to its Italian fare, deli produce, stellar wine list, pastries and artisanal ingredients. There’s no questioning the authenticity of the dishes here, as each bite brings home a taste of an Italian countryside. The chic yet relaxed get-up makes this beloved culinary landmark a must-visit restaurant when searching for a divine meal and catch up with friends.
Whether Italian food aficionado or looking for a decadent bite complete with cocktails, Contini on George Street, the flagship eatery of a family-run restaurant empire, is absolutely worth a visit. Each food item is as exceptional as the next, with the menu catering to sharing. Atmospheric furnishings like large lights suspended from the lofty ceiling and crisp, chic décor make for a special dining experience, with the ornate pillars being the pièce de résistance. Once more, the coffee and wine list is worthy of a thousand shout outs!
Set in the thick of all the fun on George IV Bridge, Cucina is a firecracker of a restaurant. The hypnotic palette of colours of the fashion-forward furnishings are just as mesmerising as the impeccable menu. Thoughtful, perfectly constructed dishes play host to classic Italian recipes with contemporary flair, resulting in a gastronomic adventure. Thanks to acclaimed Bolognan chef Mattia Camorani at the helm, the overall experience is pure Italian magic.
Satisfying all dough-related desires one bite at a time, Origano Pizzeria has that whole wood fire pizza thing down pat. Flawless flavour combinations, dreamy dough, indulgent cheese…the whole scenario is a win win. Adding to the appeal is the trendy interior design accents and epic dessert menu, which together, render it a failsafe date spot. Back to that hand stretched dough though — yes please.
Oh Nonna’s! How we absolutely adore you. This homey and trendy Italian kitchen sports a superb menu, with food that tastes as phenomenal as it looks. As one of Edinburgh’s best Italian restaurants, the blackboard specials are worth sampling, while the classic dishes are the kind that speak to the soul. Food enthusiasts with a penchant for seafood are in for a treat too, as fish is often included in the outstanding daily specials. When it comes to the artisanal pasta, flawless doesn’t even cut it!