The high preponderance of great Italian restaurants in Edinburgh can be traced back to surges in immigration during the 1890s and 1920s. Those initial arrivals, and the generations that followed, have contributed greatly to Scotland's cultural landscape, especially when it comes to food. From premier pizzerias to perfect pasta places and beyond, these Italian eateries are among some of the best restaurants in Edinburgh - so have a slice on us.
Hidden behind spray-painted shutters during the day, from 5pm (and 12.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays) Origano serves up excellent, well-priced antipasto, pasta and pizza. A garlicky starter of bruschetta pepperonata with creamy goat’s cheese and roast peppers, or caprese salad with capers, fresh basil and vine tomatoes are very reasonably priced (£4.25 each) for the quality of rich, plump ingredients, and explain why the place is more often than not full up on a week night.
Ask the locals where you can get the best pizza in Edinburgh, and, even if the verdict isn’t unanimous, the winner will most likely be La Favorita. At this pizzeria, homemade dough is rolled four days in advance and topped with the likes of spicy Calabrian sausage, chopped haddock, creamy mozzarella or sautéed carrots, before being cooked in log-fired ovens. It’s La Favorita’s attention to detail that makes people go back – that, or the early stages of arancini addiction.
Nestled towards the end of George Street, the much-loved local spot formerly known as Centotre is light and airy, with owners Victor and Carina creating a neat, contemporary space in this former banking hall. Everything feels – and tastes – suitably authentic, with the best of Italy brought to the plate, with some amazing Scottish produce thrown lovingly into the mix, as part of a daily changing menu.
Part of Valvona & Crolla’s burgeoning foodie stable, VinCaffe has long proved a tasty addition to Scotland’s oldest deli and Italian wine merchants. A sister outfit to the original Valvona & Crolla shop and café on Elm Row, this family-run affair is all about the produce, from their own bakery made bread to their own brand olive oil. The antipasto plates with a glass V&C’s own excellent fizz or wine selection are a great shout – the Tagliere di Manzo (wafer thin slices of Aberdeen Angus fillet) coming highly recommended.
Loved by the Morningside locals who flock here – and those who venture from further afield – Nonna's Kitchen offers laidback Italian dining, cooked with love and served with care. Opened in 2010 by Gino Stornaiuolo, this family-run spot does a great line in tasty, thin-base pizzas and artisan pastas, as well as a memorable clutch of fish and meat mains.