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Al Dente

Italian Restaurant

4.8 out of 5 4.8/5 from 5 reviews (add your opinion)

139 Easter Road
Abbeyhill
Edinburgh
EH7 5QA

Phone: 0131 652 1932
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Price: ££
Licensed: Yes
BYOB: No
Pre-Theatre: No

Takeaway: No

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 1200-1400
Mon-Sat: 1830-2230

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Tags: restaurant licensed italian toptable bookonline aldente none eveve pizza tinelliristorante tinelli

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Details last confirmed by admin 5 years ago

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5 user reviews:

2 from jamesleon (61%) on March 27th, 2011 (6 years ago)

Al Dente, 139 Easter Road, EH7 5QA, Edinburgh

I left really dissapointed with Al Dente, especially after all these glowing reviews. First up, the restaurant isn't particularly comfortable and we got sat right by the door. The table was too small and didn't have oil and vinegar on it, like all the other tables.

Secondly, the service was poor - we didn't get bread (like the other tables) because the waiter thought it would 'fill us up too much' (huh?) and when we asked to get it, it came with those individual butter pats - how authentic. No oil/vinegar offered.

Things started to look up significantly when the starters arrived which were, admittedly, excellent (although they got the order wrong). Oxtail canneloni were delicate and small and presented very elegantly, similarly with seabass canneloni. The pasta quality was excellent and the sauce was delicate and very flavoursome. Mixed bruschetta were all pretty decent with some unusual toppings.

Main courses did not live up to expectations. My venison stew, wrapped in a cabbage leave atop a (sort of) risotto with prunes was something I could've easily made better at home. I really couldn't square it with the excellent starters - it was like it had come from a different restaurant. It had no depth of flavour, nothing worked together and the prunes tasted like straight-up Ameratto which was actively revolting. Across the table was slightly better but still seriously lacking. Rabbit medallion stuffed with parma ham, salami and other stuff was on the verge of being over-salted, served with mediocre mashed potatoes (inexcusable - potatoes, salt and tonnes of butter: is it really that difficult?). The worst thing about this dish apart from the over cooked veg, was there was very little sauce making the whole thing dry and salty. Not good.

The low point, however came in the form of dessert. Home-made apple pie that was 80% crust, and 20% apple was dry to the point of being inedible and didn't come with any ice cream or cream to moisten it up. In this case, I fully advocate going to Costco and buying one in.

Bearing in mind that this was by no means a cheap meal, I couldn't help feel pretty ripped off. If all the food had been the quality of the starters, I would've been very happy, but alas the majority of it was poor.

I would avoid.

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5 from mikiko (12%) on October 27th, 2008 (9 years ago)

Al Dente, 139 Easter Road, EH7 5QA, Edinburgh

This is the best Italian restaurant in Edinburgh, and best in the UK! The restaurant looks a casual "trattoria" style but they serve excellent food. I tried porcini as starter and seafood pasta as primi and chocolate cake. Everything is truely home-made and too nice. Price is very reasonable as well.

If you are always complaining the level of Italian food in the UK, you should try this fab restaurant!

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4.5 from wendy (12%) on March 16th, 2009 (8 years ago)

Al Dente, 139 Easter Road, EH7 5QA, Edinburgh

We know Graziano from the old days and when we found out he had opened his own place we headed right along. It was just before Christmas 2008. The place is small but cosy and the food was fab. Had garlie bread to start from the fixed menu and chicken stuffed with sage for main - it was so delicious and I’ve not got a sage craving! Graziano was very hospitable and made us feel very welcome, it was nice to be able to see into the kitchen as our food was being prepared. If you’re looking for a "Real Italian" and want to be pampered - go to Al Dente - it's fab!!!

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5 from Susan Maciver (12%) on May 18th, 2009 (8 years ago)

Al Dente, 139 Easter Road, EH7 5QA, Edinburgh

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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4.5 from Janeyedge (6%) on December 31st, 2010 (6 years ago)

Al Dente, 139 Easter Road, EH7 5QA, Edinburgh

Food is excellent. All home made and flavoursome. Expect to have to wait a while for food while it is all being made especially for each guest. Owner very charming.

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