Valvona & Crolla

Price guide: Mid-range

19 Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH7 4AA

Price guide: Mid-range

The unassuming entrance to the best deli in town

By Alison Craig, your Edinburgh expert

I write for BBC radio, The Scotsman, .... Read more
#39 of 40
expert-rated restaurants in Edinburgh
Expert overall rating:4.0 out of 5
Food and drink:
4.4
4.4
Ambience:
4.7
4.7
Service:
3.5
3.5
Location:
3
3.0
Value for money:
3.9
3.9
Recommended for:
Couples, Culture vultures, Foodies, Mature travellers, Singles, People watching, Shopping

Expert review of Valvona & Crolla

Edinburgh's oldest and most traditional Italian deli by appointment to HM Queen Elizabeth.

As Dean Martin used to sing: 'When the moon hits your eye, like a sweet pizza pie that's Valvona!' Well he would have, if he had ever been here. The moment you enter through the rather unremarkable door you are transported to Italy. The music, the aromas, the cheerful demeanour of all the smiling staff. Owned by the famous Mary Contini, now author of numerous best-selling books on food, Italy and family, olive oil runs in her veins.

The food here is jaw-dropping and I defy you to leave with nothing. Even if you pop in for a coffee, you will leave with bags groaning with Italian goodies.

Food and drink: 

Tasting olive oils, gawping at endless shapes of pasta, fresh Italian fruit and vegetables, home-made pizza, cheeses, salamis, olives the size of ping pong balls and that’s before you get near the café/restaurant at the back.

Scottish wine merchant of the year you can browse and taste and ask any question to make sure you select the correct bottle for the correct occasion.

Recommended dishes: 

The menu changes daily but the anti pasto is always good, and if the meatballs are on, go for them. The home-made focaccia is also a dream and the coffee is simple but proper Italian coffee.

Ambience: 

The second your step over the threshold your nostrils are assaulted with aroma of fresh bread, coffee, olive oil and hams. Salamis hang from the ceiling, a huge glass counter to the right is packed with every cheese, ham, olive, artichoke, home-made pizza and sugo (sauce) delight you can name, and some you can’t. Wine is a passion here too. To complete the experience, Italian music tootles away in the background as you gather a basket and stuff it with goodies almost subliminally. Entering this historical deli you are transported back to old Italy circa 1950.

Service: 

Can be a little slow in the cafe. The deli counter though makes up for anything. In fact sometimes I just go in to hear the music, banter and have my spirits lifted and try hard not to talk in an Italian accent. It is difficult. Take any bottle from their wine shop and drink it with your lunch with a corkage charge of £6.

Location: 

Top of Leith Walk on Elm Row. Easy to get to from the east end of Princes Street.

Price advice: 

You can just have coffee or you can have something more substantial. Anti pasto is £9.95 for one and £17.95 for two. The home-made pizzas average at £10.

Other useful branches: 

Vin Caffe on Multrees Walk, next to Harvey Nichols.

More information on Valvona & Crolla:

Price guide:
Mid-range
Type:
Café, Coffee shop, Deli
Food:
Italian, Vegetarian
Address:
19 Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH7 4AA
Telephone:
0131 556 6066
Website:
http://www.valvonacrolla.co.uk
Serves:
Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Afternoon Tea
Opening times:
Mon-Thurs 8.30am-5pm, lunch menu noon-3.30pm; Fri-Sat 8am-6pm; Sun 10.30am-3.30pm
Accepts Credit Cards:
Yes
Reservations:
Not necessary
Free tags / Keywords:
Traditional Italian Deli

Have you been to Valvona & Crolla? Would you recommended it?