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Antonietta, Edinburgh, review - we try pizza and pasta at Leith's loudest restaurant

La Favorita has had a major makeover

Published: February 4, 2023

Recently, I insisted that a room of our house should be painted pink.

I’ve always been into the Farrow & Ball shades of Grunge Greige, Dowager’s Dirge and Slug Pellet, or whatever they’re called.

However, they were starting to bring me down, so one space is now the pale rose of a shell. I love it.

La Favorita on Leith Walk must have had a similar notion.

This Italian restaurant, owned by the Vittoria Group - the people behind Bertie’s, Taste of Italy, Vittoria on the Bridge, Vittoria on the Walk and La Favorita Delivered, among other Edinburgh venues, was pretty nondescript before. I don’t even remember its old interior, to be honest.

Antonietta is like the fabulous drag persona that was lying dormant.

Miss Antonietta de Haddock of Leith might be their full stage name. (Apologies to whichever family member this place might actually be named after).

Now, the walls are flamingo pink, the booths are upholstered in loud fabric, there are light fittings that resemble dried honesty, and the bold crockery is imported from Italy.

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It’s like the maximalist interior has been created by the Marquis of Bath, on a very tasteful day.

Well, YOLO. To quote RuPaul; “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love anyone else?”

They’ve also made over the food and drink menus. Essentially, their new offerings are classics, but with a twist.

I tried the Amaretto and orange margarita slushie (£9), which contained the billed ingredients as well as lemon juice and Don Angel Blanco Tequila, to be sooked through a fat stripy straw.

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There’s also a Panther Milk martini and peach Aperol spritz, but, since he considers himself a sophisticat, my husband went for a classic negroni sbagliato (£9). It was served in a highball glass and made with Edinburgh Gin, Prosecco and the usual additions.

Our starter of bruschetta (£7.50) was no ordinary tomato-topped affair.

This salad on toast featured a bit of burrata, then raw kale, segments of Cara Cara orange, pomegranate seeds and prosciutto. It was very colourful, a bit unwieldy and I’m not sure if every element gelled, but we disassembled it and picked at the remains like scavengers falling on carrion.

The portion of salty battered calamari (£8.50) hoops and tentacles was hugely generous and there were interesting flourishes, including a beetroot aioli on the side and, on top, a few nibs of flash fried chilli, like little electric shocks, fried sage and a half charred lemon. No shade. Very tasty.

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There are some quirky pizza takes. These include a lasagne alla pizzaiola version that we’ll have to come back for, another that’s topped with purple potatoes, among other things, and a seafood one, which features sugo, chilli, samphire, crab, squid, pesto and lemon.

However, we shared When Two Romans Meet (£13.50).

It was sugo free and, instead, was slathered in a creamy cacio e pepe sauce, basil, and some fior di latte, as well as carbonara ingredients (hence the name, as it’s a celebration of two Roman pasta dishes), including five strips of pancetta, which could have been a tad crispier, and three fried egg yolks.

We dispatched each of them, with a fork prod to the heart. Essentially, this was the bacon and egg sandwich of pizzas. It would be hard not to enjoy it, and the thin and crispy base was decent too.

We also tried the beef and nduja mafaldine (£11.50). The pasta, otherwise known as reginette, which translates as ‘little queens’, was the frilly-edged ribbon one, like a cuttlefish or ric rac trim from a haberdashery. It featured a spicy nduja, ragu, fried sage and whipped ricotta to cool things off.

There are six puddings, but the Nutella gnocchi (£7) and the sugary Dolce & Not Gabbana Pizza (£9.50) would have pushed me over the edge. We toyed with the idea of taking away a portion of ricotta, pistachio and chocolate chip cannoli (£8), but they were sold out, so the decision to take our piggery to the next level was removed.

Just as well.

This is a joyful place to visit. Also, despite the cocktails and doolally interiors, which probably attract an evening crowd, at lunchtime it still has the family-friendly vibe of its previous incarnation. There were bambinos galore.

Obviously, Miss Antonietta de Haddock of Leith is fabulously welcoming to everyone, so I hope they do well.

To paraphrase RuPaul, “Good luck and don’t mess it up”.

225-331 Leith Walk


(0131 554 2430,


Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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