325-331 Leith Walk, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 8SA
0131 554 2430
La Favorita has been one of my favourite restaurants for years. Ever since I first put my mouth around a slice of their cinque formaggi pizza (yep, who needs quattro when you can have cinque?) back in 2008. A delightfully gooey mix of mozzarella, gorgonzola, pecorino, tallegio, and emmental. Ever since then, I’ve always thought it a great waste when I walk into a house in Leith and see a Papa John’s, Dominos, or Pizza Hut box. Why would you order from them when you’re lucky enough to live within range for La Favorita home delivery?
I’ve been known to order some rather strange toppings from their takeaway: pancetta, goats cheese and fig is one favourite. Pear, gorgonzola, and parma ham another. Although I’ve had a few pizzas from them since starting Jemma Eat World, I’ve not reviewed La Favorita as I wanted to wait for the opportunity to do the full restaurant experience: and that opportunity presented itself in the form of the Vittoria Group’s January sale, a craving for pizza, and a diet cheat day.
Lunch was booked, and in we strolled.
We were sat down by a friendly waitress, who asked if we would like something to drink. I had the car so only had one glass of the house chianti, while James ordered a glass of verdicchio. We decided to get a couple of starters to share, and a pizza between us. I hadn’t had my favourite cinque formaggi for quite some time so we decided to go for that.
Our first starter to arrive was the brushetta del mare: garlic bread topped with sauted seafood and rocket.
This put me in mind of a very fancy version of sardines on toast. I’m not sure which seafood was used, but I definitely spotted a mussel or two. It was lovely and fishy and actually quite filling: two slices of this would be a perfect light lunch, and we’ve not even got to the pizza yet!
Our calimari fritti came out next; there was a wee error during the ordering process where it didn’t go into the computer, but that was fine as we were sharing anyway and it gave us a chance to really enjoy the brushetta.
We were expecting calimari rings so imagine our surprise when we were presented with whole fried squids! Biting into the silky part that is normally sliced into rings, we found the contrasting tougher texture of the tentacles. I thought this was cool, it almost looked like a little alien escaping from some sort of white prison.
This, too, was filling but again very well cooked without a hint of elasticity about it. Instead of the usual garlic mayo sauce, this was served on a bed of chickpea puree. An interesting touch.
Our plates were cleared, and it was time for the main event: our pizza!
The genuiuses in the kitchen knew we were sharing, so cut it in half and gave us a plate each. How lovely!
I’m going to try and describe a La Favorita pizza without using too many superlatives. The crust is thin, and chewy; the result of being cooked in a wood fired oven. They are never greasy, never doughy, and the nearest I’ve had to a La Favorita pizza is when I was on holiday in Sardinia last June. The cheeses are meltingly gooey: I always find with the cinque formaggi you have to eat it quite quickly, before the tallegio tightens up. There’s always a slight surprise when you bite into a robust bit of gorgonzola. But really, this is taking cheese pizza to a whole new level.
Basically, I love La Favorita.
But do La Favorita sell THE best pizza in Edinburgh? I’m going to try getting round all of the best pizza places in Edinburgh during February to find out. This will be an all day marathon quest undertaken by myself and other intrepid Edinburgh based foodies. If you have any recommendations for an amazing pizza, or want to join in, please get in touch by leaving me a comment or using the contact form.