Usually I tell people to avoid the Royal Mile when looking for a good restaurant to eat at in Edinburgh. Through the Book a Table website I found Zizzi, which technically is off the Mile, and had an absolutely delicious Italian dinner from their Super Frizzante Christmas Menu. Here’s how my night started with prosecco and ended in decadence.
Beetroot Cured Salmon Gravadlax and Butterflied King Prawns
I invited my friend Nancy out to enjoy Zizzi with me. Eating solo is not my favorite part of traveling solo, and it was also a great way to try a couple different items on the menu. There are two festive menus to choose from, the Classico and the Super Frizzante. A glass of prosecco is £2 for the former and included in the latter. We chose the Super Frizzante menu, as there were more options that we wanted to try, and thus received our glasses of prosecco shortly after arriving. Yeah, two glasses each, as there was a miss-pour and the second two were on the house!
Among half a dozen starters to choose from, including vegetarian and vegan options, we selected the salmon and prawns. The salmon was listed as the “festive special,” which means it’s only available for December. We were a little surprised when it arrived with a dark red color, and it wasn’t until later when I realized this was from the beetroots they used to cure it. The fish was slightly chewy with a wee kick from the black pepper, balanced by the creamy mascarpone. It also took a second to figure out what the small vial of yellow liquid was, sticking into the cheese. What a creative way to serve the lemon juice!
The butterflied prawns were a particularly yummy dish, smoky with their pepper pesto and white wine sauce – certainly not your usual prawn sauce. Well cooked and tasty. It was my first time eating prawns cooked in the butterfly style, and I almost missed having to pull off the whole shell.
Roast Duck Festivo and Squid Ink Lobster Tortelloni
For our main courses, we chose both of the “festive special” options on the menu. She picked the roast duck while I had the squid ink lobster tortelloni. This was my introduction to tortelloni, which is a bigger version of tortellini. It’s a good thing too, as there weren’t many pieces on the plate, but their size made up for it. I was already familiar with squid ink pasta, which I’d eaten in Venice. I couldn’t quite discern a notable flavor in the pasta from the ink, but the lobster, crayfish and ricotta filling was delicious. I had a bit of a surprise at how spicy the chili threads were.
Nancy devoured her roast duck, which was served with an herby pork sausage, pancetta and mushroom filled bean stew, green cabbage, and roasted winter root salad. Personally I’m not the biggest fan of duck, but this one was seasoned well, although still a little too chewy for my taste.
Clementine Sticky Toffee Pudding, and Sticky Chocolate & Praline Torte
Finally it was time for desserts. I had the sticky toffee pudding and Nancy ordered the torte. My god were they decadent! The desserts weren’t the biggest portions, which I was more than happy with considering how sweet they were. I try not to eat a toffee pudding too often simply because it is so much sugar, and I have to say I felt a little sick to my stomach after eating it so fast. Guess I can’t hold my sugar like I used to.
Yeah, I think the sugar got to us. We just might have licked our plates clean. Good thing we were the last ones in the restaurant!
Eating at Zizzi
There are 140 Zizzi locations across the UK, and four of them are in Edinburgh. I ate at the “Roxbury Place” venue, which is behind the Mary King’s Close attraction. It’s built into the old town medieval buildings, yet designed with a modern flair. It’s on the hill overlooking Waverley train station, but buildings behind the restaurant limit the view. I would definitely call the place cozy, although it’s possible there will be some louder Scottish groups enjoying dinner there.
You’ll have to get there before the end of the month to try their festive menu, but the rest of their food looks equally delicious. I look forward to returning and trying one of their giant wood-oven rustic pizzas. The Classico Menu is £19.95 for three courses (plus £2 for prosecco), while the Super Frizzante Menu, which includes the festive dishes, is £25.95 for three courses (including prosecco). Opening hours are noon to 11 p.m., with the last seating available at 10:30 p.m. Reservations aren’t required, but it’s a good idea to secure a seat through Book a Table.
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