As soon as I walked into Locanda De Gusti on Dalry Road I felt that I was taken back to Italy. Chef Rosario and his wife Maria aim to bring Naples to Edinburgh using local seasonal produce to create authentic Italian food. The food is all made daily so the menu is adapted to what seasonal produce is available. Locanda De Gusti is a small restaurant, with approximately 15 tables. Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding with our booking and there was not a table for us. We were told to come back 1.5 hours later.
On return we were greeted with open arms and the waitress was very apologetic. To make up for this we were given a bottle of wine of our choice on the house which I felt was over and above. A real sign that they care about their customers. The menu was not like a lot of other Italians in Edinburgh where you find page after page of pastas and pizzas; it comprised instead of just a small section of fresh pasta, pizzas and meat/fish courses, all of which sounded delightful. There was also a specials board which changes daily.
After we ordered we were given olives, bread and an olive oil and balsamic dip. The olives were juicy and plump and the bread had a lovely crust that was perfect dipping into the oil.
For starter I opted for the Mixed Scottish Seafood feast sautéed with white wine, fresh parsley and a kiss of chilli served with Crostino. This was an absolute triumph. The seafood consisted of a very juicy prawn and langoustine, sweet clams, plump muscles and a perfectly cooked scallop. The white wine broth was packed with natural flavours of the sea and had just the right amount of chilli so as not to overpower the delicate fish. The Crostino was served with a clove of soft garlic to spread over. Squid ink was smeared on one side of the plate and on the other side sat a tasty sundried tomato which was as much about flavour as it was for decoration.
Mixed Scottish Seafood
A special starter of ‘A Whole Squid stuffed with Peas, Pancetta and Egg Yolk’ was being tucked into at the opposite side of the table. This was another delightful seafood dish; tender squid, salty pancetta, fresh peas and a rich egg yolk were all brought together with a lovely fresh tomato sauce.
Whole Squid Special
It was a tough decision for the main course but I could not resist The Saddle of Rabbit in a Rich Tomato Sauce, I was not disappointed. The rabbit fell of the bone and was very succulent. The tomato sauce was full bodied and seasoned well. The side dish of potatoes and roasted vegetables were the perfect accompaniment and still had a crunch to them to add texture to the dish.
The Saddle of Rabbit
Roasted Vegetables and Potatoes
Fresh Egg Tagliatelle tossed in Scottish Pork and Oxtail Passata Ragu was the other main being enjoyed. The homemade pasta was cooked al dente and the sauce was full of meaty flavours from the chunks of pork and oxtail.
Fresh Egg Tagliatelle tossed in Scottish Pork and Oxtail Passata Ragu
For dessert I asked Maria to choose as I wanted all of them! I am glad she picked a Naples classic ‘Sfogliatelle’. Layers of light crispy pastry filled with a delicate filling of thick custard. This was delicious.
We finished with Italian liqueur coffee. This was with an amaretto liqueur and topped with cream. The balance of the coffee was perfect, the amaretto was not too overpowering but you could taste the alcohol. As we got the bill we also were given a complimentary liqueur which again showed great hospitality and ended our meal on a high.
Overall Locanda De Gusti is a great little Italian gem in Edinburgh. The service throughout was faultless and really friendly. The restaurant is the type that you could go for a romantic meal, dinner with friends or even on your own. It has a great vibe and they are very welcoming. The food is honest Italian food which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Bill for 2: £66 (Not including wine but including Liqueur coffees)
Service: Happy and Friendly