Founded in 2014, Civerinos, known also as ‘Civerinos World Famous Italian Dining Room and New York Pizza’, is an intimate yet lively family run restaurant located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. If you’re someone who enjoys a dynamic and fun-loving environment, which has a uniqueness of its own, then this is a restaurant you should know about!
We decided to try Civerinos on our first evening in Edinburgh. We took a fancy to Italian food, although we weren't sure where to go. Therefore we checked all nearby Italian restaurants and Civerinos was the first to show up on the list of recommendations, due to it’s high popularity with locals and positive 5 star reviews. So of course with this in mind we decided to go and try it for ourselves.
We must admit that we were not expecting the theme and concept of the dining room as it were, although we loved it! It almost felt like a retro nightclub bar due to the dimly lit room being brightened up by colourful neon lights.
The atmosphere was completely exuberant and was filled with groups of people, mostly young adults. The dining room had a very modern yet nostalgic feel to it, it certainly was quite unique and not like any other american/italian restaurant I have visited beforehand.
We were greeted by a hostess who was full of life and very welcoming, which definitely fitted with the notion of Civerinos. It seemed like such a busy evening and she did ask if we booked, although thankfully she fitted us in despite limited availability. I’d make sure to book just to avoid any disappointment especially if you’re in a group.
From what we noticed from the Menu, Civerinos offer a wide range of specific dining styles including cicchetti. It wasn’t surprising considering the restaurant seems to attract groups rather than solo customers. We could see who the target audience was. Although despite this they do acknowledge individuals coming to dine hence the ‘flying solo’ box on the menu, where they offer a ‘pasta party for 1’ as an example.
We decided to go for ‘The Civerinos Pizza’ and Calamari as a side dish. We always tend to go for the signature dish especially if we’re at a local restaurant, just to ensure we experience and acknowledge the essence of what the restaurant is all about. I also appreciated the local touch they included by the word ‘sugo’, which literally translates to sauce in italian. Although it is a specific recipe made by their nonna, and is included in more than 90% of what they serve at Civerinos today.
When the food arrived at the table we were impressed with the portion sizes, although we found the table very small and couldn't fit everything on there. The Civerinos Pizza consisted of nonna’s sugo with toppings of pepperoni, fennel sausage and Burrata cheese. Garlic oil and Rosemary was also added to create flavour. Despite the pizza being the signature dish of Civerinos, we felt like it lacked the flavour we were expecting.
Although it definitely had character and felt unique to Civerinos, we weren’t blown away as a whole which is unfortunate.
Despite the added herbs and spices we didn’t quite experience the tastiness aspect of it. Although on a more positive note the pizza was distinctive and even rather momentous due to the family background of the signature dish which we appreciated.
However, on the other hand, The Calamari was more on the substandard side. I really dislike discussing the negatives but I have to be entirely honest. The Calamari was bland and tasteless. It was such a shame as we were really looking forward to it. Nonetheless, the portion size was large and more than enough when shared between 2 people, and came with a generous serving of Garlic Aioli. Which would entail it’s a perfect side for sharing, but the blandless diminished our liking of the calamari as a whole.
To sum up our experience at Civerinos, the food wasn’t entirely up to the mark on this occasion, although don’t let our experience refrain you entirely from visiting the restaurant. Civerinos has a noteworthy charm which is enhanced by the uniqueness of the dining room and the vivacity of the hostesses. The environment is perfect for groups of friends, especially young adults; the dining room is lively and high-spirited, complemented by the retro neon lights and modern music. From this I can absolutely understand why Civerinos is popular amongst locals of Edinburgh. Personally, it would be rather unlikely for me to return as I felt more unhappy than fulfilled as a whole when leaving the dining room. The food was on the down side although the atmosphere definitely boosted up my overall opinion of Civerinos. Therefore as a whole, I would encourage you to try Civerinos as you may have a totally different experience!