Amarone, Edinburgh – UK

For Mother’s Day this year, I was treated to lunch at Amarone, an Italian restaurant housed in what used to be a city centre bank.  The restaurant claims to model its contemporary interior on a typical Milanese restaurant, and I was certainly impressed with the simple but stylish décor.  On arrival we were greeted immediately and shown to our table by a friendly member of staff.

As well as an a la carte menu, Amarone offers a fixed price menu, which they call a variety of names, e.g. ‘Sample Lunch and Early Dinner Menu’ or, at the time of writing, ‘Easter Menu’.  Two courses cost around £15 while three courses are about £18.  The menus offer a changing variety of imaginative and authentic Italian food, and some very nice wines.

For our starters, Number One Son and I shared a basket of Focaccia Rosmarino (pizza bread with sea salt and rosemary, for those of you who don’t know any better).  Hubbie and my glamorous student daughter both had Minestrone soup.  The food arrived hot and tasted delicious.  My main course was Pennette Con Panna e Porcini, which is pasta with wild mushrooms in a creamy sauce with a drizzle of truffle oil and Parmesan shavings.  It cost £9.95 from the main menu and was absolutely mouth-watering.   My daughter had a spicy pasta dish and Hubbie had a 10oz Scottish sirloin steak with vegetables and home-made chips.  Again, the food arrived piping hot and was beautifully presented.

Although Amarone do not offer a children’s menu, the waiter offered to make my son’s pizza slightly smaller than usual.  Number One Son was slightly miffed at this, until he saw the size of a normal pizza.  The Margherita he was given was more than enough to feed a skinny twelve-year-old and, pizza expert that he is, he announced that it tasted great.  It must have been good, because he refused to share even a tiny piece for the benefit of this review.

The dessert menu is small, but I can’t rave about it enough.  My daughter and I decided to order a Tiramisu and a Tortino di Formaggio (honey and ginger cheesecake, £5.45 from the main menu), eat half and then swap plates.  The Tiramisu was authentic, cleverly served in a teacup and saucer with a biscuit on the side.  The cheesecake – oh my!  I can honestly say I have never tasted such beautiful cheesecake, and I have tasted a few.  I really wanted to ask the waiter if I could buy a whole one to take home (and eat by myself).

I will definitely be visiting Amarone again, as I enjoyed the whole experience.  It’s not the cheapest restaurant, but the quality and presentation of food is excellent and well worth the money.  Even though the place was busy, we were never rushed and the restaurant had a lovely, vibrant atmosphere.  All the members of staff we encountered were friendly and efficient (as well as extremely good looking).

Amarone also has a cosy private dining area in what used to be the bank vault, which would be a great location for a private function.  They offer special menus for large parties, which can be viewed on their website.

Amarone, 12-13 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH2 2AF.  Tel:  0131 523 1171.  Website.

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