City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland


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Restaurant Photos
Zuca, Edinburgh
Restaurant profile
Edinburgh Area: 
Lothian Road, Edinburgh
Serving times: 
Tue-Sat: 12:00-14:30, 17;00-21:00; Fri & Sat 17;00-22:30
(0131) 221 9323

An Italian style cafe and restaurant situated in Edinburgh's theatre district

The Reviews


a good place to eat whether or not you have a show to go to after the meal.

Reviewed by Irene Brown

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 8:36am

It is early December and already the town is heaving with Christmas shoppers.  As I approached the Royal Lyceum Theatre and the adjoining restaurant, Zucca, it struck me that maybe this was a bad time to be looking for a set lunch at less than £10 (part of the £10 challenge).  Maybe it would have been cancelled in favour of a Christmas menu? But no!  The gods of eating-on-a-budget were smiling, unlike the aforesaid hordes of shoppers!

Zucca’s main eating area is accessed via a spiral staircase and diners with limited mobility can arrive there by using the Lyceum lift. Equally, the theatre’s auditorium is directly accessible from the restaurant, so it is perfect as a pre-theatre venue.

The atmosphere is sleek and quiet with pleasantly subdued lighting that is not so dull as to obscure the many posters of past Lyceum shows giving diners some of the big names of Scottish theatre like Siobhan Redmond, Liz Lochhead, David Tennant and John Byrne as their dining companions.

The set lunch menu of 2 courses for £8.95 (3 for £11.95) was nicely varied with a couple of dishes attracting a supplement. The soup of the day was, potato and leek, which is good seasonal fare, but as I had a pot already made at home I plumped for a starter of Parma ham, rocket, artichoke, pecorino, olives.

While waiting, we were served squares of focaccia and a small dish of olive oil and balsamic, sea salt and ground pepper. I was served a generous portion of Parma ham that arrived with a pile of delicate rocket heaped in the middle. There was a small but utterly delicious slice of tender artichoke a neat wee triangle of pecorino cheese and three black olives. Perfect!

I can rarely resist a risotto, and Zucca’s risotto was appropriately  butternut squash and sage (zucca means pumpkin in Italian). Again, the portion was generous without being too much. It was pleasantly gloopy with a bright creamy taste and good to have a winter vegetable incorporated in to this already comforting dish. My lunch companion S. went for a classic Italian dish of spaghetti with meatballs which came in a tomato sauce with parsley. The meatballs were of a good texture and the sauce was light and flavoursome.  The serving was also ample.

S. decided on a pudding and from a generous menu that included Italian classics, some with a twist like coconut panna cotta with mango and pineapple, chose tiramisu.  It was served in a ramekin and was creamy, moist and light – just as it should be!  Coffee took us a bit over the £10 but what’s an Italian meal senza caffè?

Service at Zucca was attentive, polite and unobtrusive as ever.  I have dined here on several occasions over the years and have never been disappointed. Today was no exception.  It’s a good place to eat whether or not you have a show to go to after the meal.