Locanda de Gusti’s proprietor and chef, Rosario Sartore, has a passion for Italian food. He wants to introduce Edinburgh diners to real Italian food, specifically, the flavours of Naples. Southern Italian cuisine is about great ingredients, treated simply and cooked quickly. Last week, I was invited to Rosario’s new venue I got to sample a buffet of Italian delights.
The new premises are light and welcoming with an informal feel. It fits the restaurant’s slogan: honest, sincere, simple. Locanda de Gusti is a restaurant where generations can come together and enjoy each other’s company and good food. And what food!
As I mentioned, Rosario is from Naples and he cooks traditional Neapolitan food. Italy has many different regions and each one has its own style and special ingredients. Neapolitan cooking is Mediterranean in style, and can be healthy and light. It’s hot in the south so you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen cooking up ragouts or stews, you just want fresh ingredients put together with a respectful touch. To demonstrate, Rosario and his team prepared two tables of food for us to try. A glass of prosecco in one hand, a plate of true Italian in the other: what could be better.
A taste of Italy
I tried a range of dishes, from plump prawns with peas and lemon, to an amazing dish of beans and squid. (I’m coming back for the beans and squid. It was such a nice dish, creamy in texture with the flavour of land and sea in mouthful.) There were anrancini, whitebait, a selection of crostini, cold cuts, grilled fish, frittata, mussels, clams, marinated artichoke hearts, a lovely hearty barley salad with tomatoes and olives and more. I filled my plate full once, then came back and filled it with all new dishes. It was great. Each dish tasted great and the flavours were clean and distinct.
My companion for the evening was overcoming a roller derby injury and needed something to cheer her up. Rosario’s food definitely did that! Her favourite was the clams and the barley salad. The prawns and peas fight with the beans and squid for top dish status in my mind.
When we’d stuffed ourselves with savoury dishes, the cakes came out. Rosario’s wife, Maria, bakes the cakes and bread for the restaurant. The walnut cake we tried was lovely, moist, dense and very satisfying.
Rosario used to run La Partenope in the unit on the corner opposite Locanda de Gusti. At the time, the space they are in now was a bakery, run by Maria. Christopher had breakfast there every Sunday for months. It’s great to see the couple back in Dalry and I hope that Locanda de Gusti will be a great success.
Locanda de Gusti translates roughly as “inn of flavour”, a good way to sum up Rosario’s ethos of good food and relaxed eating. I look forward to going back and spending an evening experiencing Neapolitan food with good friends, the way it should be enjoyed.
102 Dalry Road
Edinburgh, EH11 2DW
Telephone: 0131 346 88 00
Book a table online.