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“Excellent truly Italian meal experience”

Al Dente Restaurant
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Ranked #305 of 2,609 Restaurants in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $14 - $34
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Special occasions, Business meetings, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, 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
Reviewed April 16, 2013

Four of us visited for the first time on a deal which included the main meal and a glass of wine each. When we arrived we were warmly greeted by the owner who showed us to our table. We were brought olives and nice italian bread while we decided on our starters and main courses. I can't quite remember what we had to start but know that all courses met with approval from us all and were delicious and authentic Italian - such a nice change! Two of our party had pasta dishes, one with lamb as the main ingredient and the other with pork as the main ingredient, both were delicious. The other two in our party enjoyed equally delicious seafood dishes. We were also brought a very nice bottle of red wine to consume with the meal - not just a glass each! We enjoyed the food so much we decided on dessert as well which also didn't disappoint. A very nice introduction to what I would describe is truly authentic Italian cuisine, but if you enjoy "run of the mill" Italian food then maybe you should go elsewhere because you won't find it here and that I hope is a compliment. Well done everyone at Al Dente. We'll be back!

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Thank Mary L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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255 - 259 of 464 reviews

Reviewed April 4, 2013

We had a tastecard which is a dining club that means you get buy one get one free courses across ALL courses. Al Dente did not honour this. Instead they only gave us one free main course. This is not what we had signed up to and did make a difference to the bill.

The night we were there they had a special theme night on. And therefore many things were not available from the menu. Both the main and desert I wanted was not available.

The restaurant was cold.i Notified the waiter of this and I was just told the heating was on!

The thing the displeased me most was that the waiter did not bring us our change. We had to ask for it as I think they assumed they could have it as a tip! This is not right they should bring the change promptly and then I will tip what they deserve. Because of this we did not leave a tip!!!

Deserts were quite dry and I do not think they were made fresh that day.

Their lamb shank main course was nice but not nice enough to make me return considering the negative points.

Will not return. Vittoria's is a much better and better quality Edinburgh Italian.

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3  Thank Kitty8704
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lovingtravel32, Owner at Al Dente Restaurant, responded to this reviewResponded April 5, 2013

Dear Ann468,

I am deeply sorry to read about your negative experience at my restaurant and definitely it was my waiter fault to confuse your -taste card- with a -gourmet card- which we also accept and allowed customer to benefit of a main course free only.

I would like to be more than happy to refund the remaining balance of about £12 (cost calculated on the most expensive starter and dessert instead of the cheapest you would have been entitling to).
If you would allowed a personal comment on it, I don't really think that about £ 12 could be considered a great increase on your bill as you described in your review!


Furthermore the only missing items on the menu was the veal roman style as it was meant to be delivered on a Thursday morning and had no referral with the theme night whatsoever. Instead we had pork fillet medallion!

Dessert missing was the -Pear poached in red wine-. Instead we prepared a -Sicilian cassata- (Sicilian dessert made with fresh ricotta, chocolate chips, lemon and orange candid, absolutely delightful!

My waiter was asked to put the eating on and he answer that the heating was on as in fact it was.

Our Lamb is delightfully tasty according to ALL our customers comments and I would have appreciate a more detail comment instead of a “was not nice enough” in order to be able to understand the faults on it if any and also your food bats


You mentioned Vittoria Restaurant as better quality restaurant. Please keep going there because AL DENTE is not for everyone.
We do proper Italian Traditional cuisine and not everyone is capable to understand it.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2013

Passed this restaurant hundreds of times over the years and finally persuaded my husband to try it out for my birthday. What have we been missing?. A wonderful intimate venue with fabulous food and attentive service. When we arrived the place buzzing with customers so I was glad I had booked We had olives and bread first, I was expecting more a rustic bread then what was served but it was ok for dipping . We both had crostini which had three different toppings , lovely dish . For our main , I had Veal with Marsala sauce and this was amazing. I loved the sauce and the veal was cooked beautifully My hubby had ordered chicken stuffed with a soft cheese and green beans . This too was great but in the shadow of my veal dish. Fab smooth red wine which came recommended. I ordered a tiramisu which I had been informed had been made by the waiter/ owner himself that morning . Unfortunately it was a bit bland and for my taste needed a bit more of a coffee kick. We did get to taste the other dessert on the menu ( apple tart) as it was presented to me with a candle and a birthday song , however at this stage we were much too full to appreciate it. All in all a lovely evening but would be a bit pricey for a normal mid week meal (£90) Will definitely return but maybe on the lunch or early menu .

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Thank Audki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

Ate here as a couple on a week night in march 2013. We had a groupon voucher for 2xmains with a glass of wine each for £12 (good value if appears again on groupon). I have lived close to this restaurant for a while and had wanted to try it after reading the reviews on trip advisor. Anyways the restaurant was empty as it was a week night so can't comment on atmosphere however the waiter did his best. The food was good. Although I would say the menu is quite up market basically don't go expecting a pizza. Lots of Italian pasta dishes with fish. The wine we had with our meal was very good. I would go back just to drink a bottle of it never mind the food.

To sum up I probably wouldn't go back however I would recommend it to others who differ from me. It is just not my type of Italian. Portions a little small and a bit on the pricey side ( if you don't have a group on deal etc). however the food was tasty the wine was good and the staff were pleasant .

Go and see what you think

1  Thank francey75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2013

We visited here as my mum had bought us a deal where you got two mains and 2 glasses wine. The menu is very authentic and i wasnt feeling very advebturous therefore ordered lasagne which is probably one of the best i have had. The wine that came with the meal was also lovely, usually with these deals they give you awful wine however it was really nice. We had a look at the desert menu however we didnt really fancy anything, the waiter did advise that he had made the tirimasu that morning however!

The waiter was lovely, very chatty and friendly. The only thing was we booked for 6pm therefore we were the only people in and it would have been nice if there was soem atmosphere.

Would definately go back - i recommend!!!

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1  Thank ILOVEEdinburgh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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