Great Places to Eat in Scotland
- La Lanterna, Edinburgh
Located at 83 Hanover Street in the heart of Edinburgh, La Lanterna is surrounded by restaurants catering to all tastes - and many of them are Italian, so there is plenty of competition. La Lanterna is down a short flight of steps in the basement of one of the many blocks of offices with retail outlets beneath that are a feature of the area.
Tony and Toni Zaino run a genuine Italian family restaurant which - despite all that competition - is usually well filled, and sometimes overflowing. Their secret isn't really a secret, in that all successful restaurants offer good food, friendly service at a competitive price. La Lanterna offers all that - with an Italian flair.
Being so popular, tables and chairs are packed quite closely together and there is always a buzz around the place. The competitive prices but high quality means that lots of business people are regular customers there and it is always advisable to book a table.
Many of the serving staff are Italian, with attractive accents and although some of the staff have been there a long time, others come over from Italy for a shorter spell. Even so, they are all imbued with a relaxed, friendly manner.
There are all the usual favourite Italian dishes from home made minestrone through lasagne, varieties of spaghetti, ravioli and penne pasta. But there are also omelettes, steaks, Cotoletta Milanese (escalope of veal in breadcrumbs) and Pollo con Whisky! And for those who find Italian food too rich, there is always fried haddock and breaded scampi.
If you can find space for Zuppa Inglese (Italian trifle), cassata or fruit sundae, you have a bigger appetite than I have!
Although I do try other items on the menu, I am more often than not drawn to the minestrone (with a liberal sprinkling of Parmesan cheese) followed by Lasagane al Forno (more Parmesan cheese on top!). Freshly made, the waiter has to always warn that the plate is scalding hot.
La Lanterna is licensed and wine is available by the bottle or the glass.
See www.lalanternaedinburgh.co.uk for current menu and prices.
I have been going to La Lanterna for more years than I care to remember (OK - over fifteen years) because it is hard to find a genuine Italian restaurant in central Edinburgh with such good food and friendly service. It's a formula that's hard to beat and it is no wonder that so many of us are regular customers!
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