Restaurants: Best cellar

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Valvona & Crolla is a long-established Edinburgh landmark. The palatial Elm Row delicatessen and wine shop has been wafting out the scents of focaccia, prosciutto and Parmesan on to the capital's streets since the 1930s.

In the past couple of years, however, V&C has opened up a large dining- room in an old stable at the back of the shop, serving breakfast and lunch. The food is, of course, Italian - although a mixed grill of paesano sausage, smoked pancetta, egg and polenta has a vaguely Scottish flavour. The main menu offers a fixed choice of salads, sandwiches, and frittate, home-made breads and cakes, but there is also a daily-changing choice of pastas, fish and meat: penne all'amatriciana is pounds 6, fritto misto, pounds 9. Lunch might end with a hunk of pecorino, baked peaches, or pannacotta laced with espresso.

Once a month, it opens in the evening as Valvona & Crolla Ristorante offering `speciality regional Italian dishes' - rotolo di spinaci, perhaps, followed by poussin stuffed with potatoes and artichokes. These occasions tend to book up a month or so in advance. V&C has another attraction in one of the best Italian wine lists in Britain - and with only a pounds 3 corkage surcharge on the wine shop price, there are great bargains to be had.

Valvona & Crolla, 19 Elm Row, Edinburgh (0131-556 6066). Mon-Sat 8am- 5pm. During the Edinburgh Festival the cafe is open all week until 10pm.

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