Situated so centrally on George Street in Edinburgh, Contini sits in the perfect spot yet I still hadn’t managed the opportunity to eat there yet – there’s often just too many choices in this city! However, that was all about to change and now I can’t quite believe it took me so long to eat there.
Italian food is probably my favourite cuisine, so expectations were high! Immediately I was impressed by the level of decoration and just how beautiful the interiors are within the restaurant, not to mention the high ceilings (it used to be a banking hall back in the day before opening as Contini back in 2004) and stunning marble table we were sat at.
We kicked off lunch with some tasty cocktails – one ‘Napoli Virgin Daiquiri’ (a frozen drink made made with seasonal berries, fresh lime juice and a touch of sugar) – a truly delicious non-alcoholic option and also the ‘Zenzero E Rabarbaro’, an Edinburgh rhubarb and ginger liqueur served with Prosecco.
The menu is varied with a good balance of classic Italian dishes and fresh takes on others. Food choices were quickly made with the help of the attentive staff in helping us make up our minds. Given that we were dining at lunch time, we decided to skip the starters and go straight for the mains, choosing the gnocchi dish and the Italian classic, linguine. We were treated to some focaccia bread with tomato dipping sauce and olives ahead of being served our mains which was a lovely surprise and nice start to the meal.
Both pasta dishes arrived at the table in impressive time. The homemade gnocchi was beautifully presented on the plate – served with roasted squash puree, smoked spiced almonds and sage yoghurt, the dish was quite sweet in flavour, but was balanced out perfectly with the yoghurt in the dish. The linguine, made with crab, fresh chilli and parsley is a dish with simple ingredients but can be difficult to get right – was cooked to perfection, with the linguine exactly as I like it, slightly al dente.
By the time it came to dessert, we were both so full that we weren’t sure we would manage to eat anything else, however we were recommended the dark chocolate torte and now I’m really glad we didn’t pass on it. It was the perfect end to the meal and not too sweet either.
We really had an excellent experience at Contini, facilitated by the gorgeous surroundings and friendly staff. It feels as if they truly care about the customers and level of service here, I even spied one of the owners popping round the diner’s tables to chat and make sure that everything was okay with their meals – what a lovely personal touch.
If one thing’s for sure, I’ll definitely be going back to try out more of the menu!