Hidden away under George IV Bridge, within two minutes’ walk of the Royal Mile, this vintage wine bar has a clubby, subterranean look: bare stone walls, candlelight, shelves lined with bottles and lots of nooks and crannies create just the right mood for some enlightened imbibing. Although it’s from the same stable as pizza/pasta eateries such as Vittoria on the Bridge in the city, this is a far more aspirational venture boasting an impressive 100-bin Italian wine list: much is made of the Enomatic preservation system, which allows dozens to be offered by the glass, as well as a page of sub-£20 gluggers by the bottle. There’s also a choice of cocktails for those who want a different kind of thrill. The short but appetising menu focuses on antipasti ranging from modest fish or cheese plates right up to the classic ‘il grande antipasto Divino’, although the line-up extends to aromatic polenta slathered in lardo (cured pork fat), and some straightforward desserts such as tiramisu.
The large, continuous selection of Italian red and white wines would be somewhat daunting to the non-expert, but you’ll find some interesting and accessible wine flights, and the by-the-glass wines are listed in order, from light to full-bodied.