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“Fantastic Italian Food!”

Al Dente Restaurant
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Ranked #262 of 2,504 Restaurants in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$13 - US$33
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Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Romantic, Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, After-hours, Reservations
Neighbourhood: Leith
Description: Secreted away on one of the quieter stretches of Easter Road is a sparkling jewel of Italian dining – Al Dente is quite simply glorious. The walls are covered with pictures of Italian movie stars and picturesque vistas and these evocative images, along with the tiled floor and simple wooden tables, imbue Al Dente with the earthy simplicity of old Italy. But do not be fooled by this rustic interior or the attractively affordable prices; this restaurant offers the finest food and the friendliest service. A roast pepper overflows with fat grains of arborio rice, subtle but vibrant flavours elevating homely fare to five-star standards. A similar trick is played with immaculately presented mains such as porcini mushroom risotto and chicken breast stuffed with asparagus and parmesan. The set lunch is fantastic value; that diners can enjoy two courses of locally sourced, seasonal food, beautifully cooked for only £7.50 seems almost preposterous, if wonderfully so.High point: Beautiful, affordable foodLow point: The shop front is not as welcoming as the staff within
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Fantastic Italian Food!”
Reviewed 12 September 2009

I was at Al Dente twice in one week during my three week visit to Scotland from the USA. My cousin and her boyfriend took me there one evening and I had a wonderful time. Graziano was so friendly and spent time talking with us and made is feel very welcome. The food is absolutely wonderful. I am from the Chicago area and this food rivals any that I have had here in the states. We started with an appetizer of Calamari ripieni.. It was fantastic. The Risotto al radicchio was heavenly!!!! The restaurant is very cozy and warm. I love all the pictures he has around the restaurant. I enjoyed Al Dente so much I asked to go back there for my last evening in Edinburgh. Again we had the same appetizers because I liked them so much and for my main dish I had Cannelloni ripieni. Absolutely wonderful! Both Times we had tiramisu for desert, oh my gosh, the best I ever had. Graziano made me so welcome and again the food was wonderful. I hope to be able to return to Edinburgh and to Al Dente someday. The chef, Stefano, is the best! He came out of the kitchen and chatted with us for a few minutes before leaving for the night. These two are a great combination of owner and chef.

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Helpful?
Thank tommiejames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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449 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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SCOTLAND
1 review
“Whoop Whoop”
Reviewed 22 August 2009

After traveling up and down easter road 3 or 4 times looking for the wrong restaurant, we eventually found the glorious Al dente. Upon entering this quaint little eatery we were warmly welcomed by the extremely good looking and very chatty waiter who then shown us to out table. The first thing that hits you when you open the menu is the vast choice. 300 to be exact. After browsing through the huge selection my self and my hot date decided to go for the old faithful, LASSANGE!!!!. Whilst waiting for the bull to be beaten we sipped on some lovely rose wine and played with the balsamic vinegar stand. We were trying to figure out what was so good about this place but we couldn't at first put our finger on it, then it dawned on us....... it was the music!!!! It wasn't the usual house music you would expect to here but traditional italian music with a russian tetris twist!!! By the time our lassange's arrived we were right into the swing of thing and the waiter chatted to us just long enough for it to cool a bit. the desert was also Delicious with a cherry ice cream extravaganza. So in all it was a great night. The best thing was the company though :) :) :) !!!! Blah

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Helpful?
Thank JOHNE69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Puglia in Edinburgh”
Reviewed 12 August 2009

I don't know why so many Italian and Greek restaurants try to give an impression of authenticity with lots of pseudo-classical columns and statues. This restaurant provides real authenticity and the atmosphere of a contemporary Italian trattoria. The Italian music playing in the background is tasteful, avoiding the syrupy, sentimental stuff one often associates with Italy. And most importantly the food is great. My wife and I had antipasti consisting of swordfish carpaccio and calamari stuffed with vegetables; the mains were lamb steak in a wine and rosemary sauce and lemon sole, and we finished up with a couple desserts (including a delicious tiramisu and a peach sorbet) and a plate of Italian cheeses, all accompanied by a nice bottle of the house white, a wine from the Veneto region several classes better than the cheap washed-out wines that region produces in lamentably large volumes. Service was great, and the owner (from the Puglia region) obviously puts a lot of heart and thought into what he is doing. In all, if you want a nice Italian dinner in Edinburgh, this is the place to go.

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Helpful?
Thank rickedin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Al Dente Restaurant a taste of Italy”
Reviewed 18 May 2009

On a warm May evening my husband, a friend and myself stepped into Tuscany via the magic portals of Al Dente, the Easter Road restaurant owned by the very welcoming and charming Graziono Spano. This was the second of Graziano’s themed evenings designed to introduce diners to authentic regional Italian cuisine accompanied by carefully chosen wines. The small restaurant has been enlivened by a plethora of photographs, including Graziano’s native Bari in the South of Italy and by fresh roses on the tables.
After canapés and prosecco we had caciucco alla Livornese, a traditional dish of shell fish and fish in tomato sauce – absolutely delicious, as was the white Galestro wine Graziano served as an accompaniment. This was followed by a prima patti of homemade pasta and duck ragout (pappardella al ragu di anatra). The rose wine (rosa di ninfa) which accompanied the pasta dish was my absolute favourite. It really had the aroma and taste of strawberries!
The arista di maiale con rosmarino (pork loin with rosemary, served with artichokes and roast potatoes) which followed melted in the mouth. The potatoes were particularly tasty and I’d love the recipe. This was served with a full bodied Chianti. How did I cope with all this food, you may ask? I simple ate a little of every course, while many of the diners cleared their plates with relish.
The zuccotto sweet of light sponge cake with white chocolate and nuts was the perfect desert and the Il santo wine complemented it perfectly. It was an exquisite conclusion to the Tuscan banquet – Graziano’s answer to “Babette’s Feast”.
Graziano was the perfect host, telling us about the wines, keen to hear what we thought of the food created by chef Antonello. After coffee I floated up Easter Road full of the light, warmth and sheer joy of Italy – as well as all that wonderful food.
The menu, including wines and coffee cost £38 per person. The next theme night features the Lazio region and will be on 29th May. See you there!

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Helpful?
Thank susan_maciver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Fantastico, small & cosy Italian”
Reviewed 9 November 2008

Went to this tiny eaterie for Saturday lunch. It is on the site of the old Tinnelli restaurant on Easter Road, which I always meant to go to but never did.
It had advertised a set lunch Tuesday to Saturday(£7.95 I think) previously but this is now only available Monday to Friday. Nonetheless, having heard from friends that it was worthy of a visit we decided to try it out.
We were welcomed by the proprietor Graziano Spano who hailes from Bari on Italys Adriatic coast. A limited number of tables are available so if your heart is set I would book ahead.
The style is modern italian. Cooked by the Chef Stefan,
from Rimini & the food did not disappoint. I started with Smoked Salmon which was a special (£5.50 for a fairly large serving)& came with rocket, parmesan & garlic bread. Graeme had the soup of the day(£2.95), Cream of pea & ham, which also came with a slice of garlic bread. It looked great so I had to have a taste. Wonderful!! We both opted for the Lasagne de Pesce for our second course, sheets of lasagne pasta with a scallops king prawn & mushroom sauce. Fantastico! At £7.20 we didn’t expect this to be a huge portion, so took the descision to order a mixed salad to share also. Glad we did as this rounded it off nicely. This was washed down with a bottle of the very respectable house white, and a bottle of still water. The bill came to around £43.00
The service was great, Graziano was assisted by a rather nervous wine waiter from Naples, who settled into his role as the service went on. We think it must have been his first day. The space is small & cosy, the kitchen tiny & the food brilliant. I would urge you to try it out.

Helpful?
1 Thank Dawnyfox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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