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“Evening Meal”

Al Dente Restaurant
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Ranked #284 of 2,507 Restaurants in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $13 - $33
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: 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
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Evening Meal”
Reviewed January 8, 2013

booked on the train up to Edinburgh after reading reviews. You won't be disappointed with this little intimate restuarant. Service and staff where great. And the food was excellant.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Duane1965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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450 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • Any
English first
Level 5 Contributor
71 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Cute non tourist spot for good Italian”
Reviewed December 30, 2012 via mobile

We googled "best pasta in Edinburgh" and this was the first restaurant to come up and we were not disappointed. Al dente is located in a non touristy area, although it wasn't very far from where we were staying. Great pasta and wine at reasonable prices. We had a large group and there were some lovely dishes chosen, especially the seafood pasta and the pork mince & rosemary tagliatelle. Definitely recommend!

    • Value
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    • Food
Thank Ansavon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Unmet expectations”
Reviewed December 21, 2012

We went into this restaurant with high expectations given the reviews it had received on TripAdvisor. Unfortunately, what we got was something of a mixed bag.

My wife's food was delicious: well cooked, flavoursome and classically Italian. In contrast, I was served undercooked ravioli and a cold tuna starter with an unpleasant gritty texture. The cook is clearly capable of some marvellous things, but you do have to wonder about the abilities of Italian chef that can't cook pasta correctly..

On the plus side, the restaurant was small, friendly and cosy, and charmingly seemed to be run by only two men: one waiting, the other cooking (who could occasionally be seen through the large opening into the kitchen that takes up most of one wall).

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
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1 Thank Batterseapower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lovingtravel32, Owner at Al Dente Restaurant, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Dear Customer,

Thank you for taking the time to right a review about my restaurant.

The veal starter you had is called "vitello tonnato" which is a Thinly sliced veal covered with a tuna sauce, capers and hanchioves. it is a dish from Piedmont and it meant to be served cold.

in regards with you Tortelloni pasta, they have been served AL DENTE "on the tooth" as Italian pasta supposed to be served.

I would have been very happy if I could have cooked your Tortelloni a bit more if you would have requested to my waiter though.

I am very happy that overall you have enjoyed the experience at my restaurant and that you
lady had a pleasant meal experience.

I would be delighted to see you and your wife in my restaurant in another occasion, meanwhile, I wish you both an happy new year.

Kind Regards,

Graziano Spano
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Great service and delicious food”
Reviewed December 11, 2012

We visited on a Wednesday night around 7pm. Just one other couple when we arrived but by the time we left, around four other small groups had come in. We had excellent service, our waiter was very attentive and authentic Italian! We shared breads and a salmon mousse. The pasta mains were a good size, not to much that you feel bloated afterwards but enough to feel full. The lamb in the ragu was well flavoured and tender. The seafood pasta with prawns and mussels went down a treat. Managed to squeeze in profiteroles for dessert, not too sweet which was good. House red wine nice too. Our first visit but no doubt we'll be back again.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
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    • Food
Thank Ket_Cat1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Slightly disappointed”
Reviewed December 10, 2012

Having read the reviews, we booked a table at Al Dente as it was a change from the usual Italian restaurants. I'm afraid that on this occasion we were a bit disappointed.

Prior to booking, we looked at the fairly extensive menu options on the restaurant's website and were impressed by the variety of dishes available. Fantastic, we thought - there was a great choice - wonderful starters and main courses - so we had pretty much decided what we were having before we got there. There was nothing to say it was a sample menu so we believed, understandably, that those would be our options on the night (allowing for the kitchen running out of the odd popular dish, of course!). We were so looking forward to our meal....

On arrival, we received a warm welcome and were handed a different menu to the one on the website. We struggled to find something we liked. There was little variety compared to the website menu (unless we wanted seafood - which we didn't that evening), and although the food we finally ordered was good, we were disappointed to have to choose from such a limited menu.

If we had booked on a discount voucher we would have accepted the fact that sometimes restaurants offer a different menu from the full price one, but we were not on any kind of deal. I don't know if the chef would have cooked us something from the website menu, because we didn't ask as we didn't want to appear awkward and the restaurant was busy.

It should be clear on the website if the menu shown is just a sample one, and not neccesarily what diners can expect to be on the menu on a particular night. It can be nice to have a changing menu, but if we had been aware of this we could have called the restaurant in advance to check which dishes were on the menu that night, and then we could have decided if it appealed to us or if we should go another time when they were serving something we wanted.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
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Thank YolandaUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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