December 7, 2011 Italian, Leith, soup 16 Comments

The hidden gem

MJ’s Verdict
It had been a while since we had lunched and that made me a bit sad. Since I had just returned from Istanbul, and was itching to see B, it was only right that we meet at our original haunt, Domenico’s.

I arrived to a lovely, friendly welcome and moved past the sandwich area and was shown to a seat near the window, which reflects the simple, warm décor. The place does a roaring lunchtime takeaway trade, but sitting in the small dining area, you wouldn’t know it. In this section, it is tranquil, with good music filtering through the speakers. The new tablecloths were an added touch that made the whole place seem a bit more European—like a trattoria I once stumbled into on a side street in Lucca. Our waitress showed us the specials and was very helpful in my decision on whether to go for the tuna or the squid/prawn pasta. Since it was bloody cold down in Leith, I chose the more hearty tuna, capers and tomato pasta.

Tuna, caper, and tomato pasta

B ordered the soup and ate happily while I chattered on about Istanbul, The Istanbul Review all the fabulous things that we have coming up. Before long, a table nearby received HUGE bowls filled with seafood! It was the stew, and I was slighlty jealous until our pasta dishes arrived and I forgot all about it (almost-I must go back and taste it and see if it matches up to B’s).

Inside is cozy and lovely

My pasta was piping hot, freshly made and was an interesting balance between the tomatoes and the capers, punctuated by the chunks of tuna. It was just what I needed for the day, and I made quick work of the dish, mopping up the final bits of sauce with the bread.
This was followed by good quality espresso.

I have never been to Domenico’s in the evening, but that will alter in the new year. And I look forward to it. For the cost and the taste, I bet there are few places down in Leith that can compare.

And, to top it off, they are so accommodating. A few weeks ago I asked for something off menu-a certain combination of flavours with a tomato based, instead of creamy, sauce, and they told me that they would be happy to make it, and even suggested different concoctions they could make for me that might even taste better.

So go, this wee place is a gem. I am glad I live down here now. But I know B wishes they would open up a place in town already.


Blythe’s Verdict
The comforting confines of Domenico’s were a very welcoming retreat from the biting cold of another wintry day in Edinburgh. Today was a double delight, as not only did I get to pay my first visit to Domenico’s for a good while (aside from a brief refuelling stop, the other week), it marked the first time I’d lunched with MJ since her recent visit to Istanbul.

Pea and Parma Ham Soup

Upon arrival, I was given the usual sunny greeting, and shown to a table at the back, where the ever prompt MJ was already seated. It was good to see her in her usual smiley fine fettle. The table was looking similarly cheery, as new gingham tablecloths adorned all the surfaces, giving things a nice festive note.

Creamy Bacon and Mushroom Pasta

Domenico’s is a family run Italian, with capacity for around twenty people. It offers amazing take out lunches from their deli counter, with their rolls, wraps, pastas and salads the best in the whole city, to my mind. For those sitting in, of which there were many, today, they can choose from a lunch menu and specials board, at lunchtime, with a full a la carte on offer in the evenings.

Soup and pasta was the order of the day, for me, with pea and parma ham soup, followed creamy bacon and mushroom rigatone. MJ opted for tuna, olive, caper and tomato penne.

The soup was excellent, combining lovely yellow peas with salty meatiness of the ham. Having survived on Domenico’s soup for a number of years, I was delighted to verify that they hadn’t lost their touch. I loved every spoonful.

Our pasta dishes arrived quickly, and once the pepper and parmesan (pepper only for MJ) had been applied, we settled to munching our way through the generous bowls of goodness. My dish was simple, elegant, perfectly cooked, and packed with flavour. It was exactly what you would want from a plate of pasta.

Overall, my adoration of Domenico’s is well known. I’ve had the great pleasure of assessing the place over many years, and I am constantly impressed by the constancy of its excellent quality. Today’s visit was lovely. I can’t recommend Domenico’s highly enough to you.

MJ scores Domenico’s:
5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 16.5/20

Blythe scores Domenico’s:
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 16.5/20

Today’s lunch questers were: Miriam, Blythe

We ate: pea and parma ham soup; tuna, olives, capers and tomato pasta; creamy bacon and mushroom pasta.

We drank: sparkly mineral water, espresso

We wore: fantastic blue boots, pinstripe tie

Total bill: c.£20

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Written by TheDudley