Walking past the huge windows of Origano, it was impossible not to be drawn in by the soft candlelight and couples enjoying delicious-looking food.
Sitting down, we asked for some water and ordered a bottle of red wine – a Conviviale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (£14.95) – from a concise list of primarily Italian wines. A fairly decent wine, it was a touch tart at first but very smooth after a time. Perusing the menu, we struggled to make a decision. Deciding that everything would be good quality, we opted largely for the specials.
The cheese, meat and cheese and vegetarian boards are listed on a blackboard and change daily. Seemingly all fairly similar, we chose the small meat and cheese board (£6.95), but we had not imagined a salad with olives and delicious sun-dried tomatoes with various meats and cheeses – largely mozzarella – scattered around it would turn up. With a red pesto dip and a garlic dip to compliment it was very tasty. We would have preferred the more traditional meat and cheese board setup, but the ingredients were good quality and fresh nonetheless.
Next we shared a pizza and a pasta – the special pasta was a Tagliatelle al gamberoni (£8.95). With garlic, chilli, sprinklings of rocket and a large quantity of tomatoes, it was tasty. The gamberoni, listed as King Prawns, were slightly more reminiscent of prawns from a prawn cocktail, but the chilli added a good kick. Our pizza was a Calabrese special with spicy sausage, marscapone, mozzarella, chilli, fresh tomatoes and basil. Utterly delicious, the base was thin and fired through and the combination of flavours was exquisite.
We loved the classic Tiramisu (£4.45) – layers of cream, coffee liqueur and softened biscotti topped with fine chocolate powder.
With relaxed staff allowing diners to take their time and not intruding on conversation and good Italian food, Origano is worth heading down Leith Walk for.
• Origano, 277 Leith Walk, 0131 554 6539, www.origano-leith.co.uk