Contini on George Street has long been an Edinburgh mainstay, drawing from a rich culinary heritage that isn’t remotely Scottish. Rather, Victor and Carina Contini’s flagship restaurant has seen Edinburghians frequent it for traditional Italian fare passed down from generation to generation.
With the restaurant recently emerging from an ambitious recent refurbishment, Contini now sees refined, contemporary details added to a brand-new menu and dining experience. The most immediate effect of this would come from stepping inside the former banking hall where smart banquette seating decked in soft grey leather and a modern open bar juxtaposed by Italian frescos hanging on the walls occupy the 4,500-square foot space.
“When we first opened, our menu was a reflection of the Italian food passed on to us from our grandparents – hearty meals like lasagne, pizza, and carbonara,” says Carina Contini. “Now, guests want to try lots of different dishes, sharing them with friends rather than ordering a traditional starter, main course and pudding. So, we have created a menu with sharing in mind, featuring fresh, delicious flavour combinations, which still showcase the very best Italian ingredients and the pick of Scotland’s larder.”
Indeed, the new menu has some delectable combinations that are a delight to the palate. As an aperitivo, savour an exquisite glass of NV ‘Alma’ Gran Cuvee, Bellavista, Lombardia, Franciacorta served with some seasonal crostini. The Primi selection includes a prosciutto di Parma DOP arrive with a burst of Summer flavours—Italian peaches, fresh ricotta, candied and salted almonds. New mains such as the Salame Calabrese served with roasted aubergine, mint, crème fraiche and pistachio crumb. Cod is poached with cold pressed olive oil with fennel, samphire and chili. Some firm favourites remain— the restaurant’s classic Contadino of fresh orecchiette with Italian piccante sausage, dried porcini mushrooms, rocket, fresh cream and Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, as well as the Aragosta with the Half Eyemouth lobster served with pasta, fresh dill, garlic, Amalfi lemon and fresh parsley.
Dishes are paired with a selection of over 55 Italian wines, but diners can start pre-dinner drinks with cocktail options including the drink dujour of Italian Negroni served with Edinburgh Gin, as well as a Ferrari Gin & Tonic served with Contini espresso.
To find out more about Contini, you can head over to contini.com