USUALLY frequented on the wander home after a night out, Bar Napoli was an unusual place to go for a birthday meal.
Heading into the main restaurant we were pleasantly surprised by the relaxed atmosphere accented by soft candle-lit tables. We were greeted by friendly staff and quickly seated.
As a table of around 15, we chose a variety of starters including the bruschetta (£3) and insalata caprese (£5.25). With olives, mozzarella, tomato and basil, the Caprese was full of obviously fresh ingredients and was delicious. The bruschetta was also very tasty, if a tad bland perhaps due to the tomatoes – it is a permanent struggle to find fresh flavourful tomatoes in the UK.
Our main courses arrived in impressively quick succession. Choosing the fuisilli al pollo e gamberetti (£8.30), which came beautifully presented, once the calzone (£8.10) was placed opposite me the inevitable food envy kicked in. Thankfully it went both ways and so we shared both dishes.
The pasta came with a creamy garlic sauce with sun-dried tomato and fresh asparagus and was as satisfying as it looked. With a crack of pepper that it slightly needed, all that could have been added was a sprig of fresh herb. A generally delicious dish. The calzone, a mound of cheese and dough, oozed ham and mushrooms.
Separated into “The Goods” and “The Greats”, the wine list is extensive and very Italian. We chose a good red in the form of a Chianti (£13.65 per bottle) and a great Gavi (£16.95). Both did as was said on the proverbial tin and were suitable to all our tastes and dishes.
A great place for group meals and friendly catch-ups, Bar Napoli is possibly not a place for a romantic meal or a night out with your grandparents. It does, however, have fantastic service and above average Italian food – it is also open until 2am in case you are peckish later on.
• Bar Napoli, 75 Hanover Street 0131-225 2600, www.barnapoliedinburgh.co.uk