Poldino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria has been in Aberdeen for a long time, in fact on their website they cite “a slice of family tradition since 1977”.
1977 was the year Star Wars opened in cinemas, the year Elvis Presley died and the Queen celebrated his Silver Jubilee – it seems like a long time ago!
I remember when I was a student in Aberdeen in the late 80’s and Poldino’s was the “fancy” restaurant we passed by on our way to the bars.
We often looked out the windows, envious of diners savoring the finest Italian dishes. Luckily for me, my mum is a fabulous cook and she regularly cooked a range of Italian dishes such as lasagne, minestrone soup and spaghetti carbonara. So we didn’t feel uncomfortable on our trips back home.
So it was fitting that I brought my mum to revisit Poldino’s on a foggy Friday night in Aberdeen.
Lights shone from the restaurant’s arched windows and as we entered the downstairs section there was quite a buzz as glasses clinked, meals were enjoyed and there was a high volume of talking and laughter .
The musical Chicago was showing at the theater, so they were busy filling up with guests before the show.
We were shown to a quieter table upstairs past a beautiful curved staircase with ornate white railings. Various scenes from Italy adorn the cream walls of the gallery floor while simple chairs and tables are adorned with cutlery and glassware. The curved architecture is found on both floors of this beautiful building.
The menus are in Italian with explanations in English below. It is divided into different sections – antipasti, zuppe or insalate. The antipasti consist of typical Italian starters; bruchetta, charcuterie, calamari and pâté.
It was a tough decision to choose just one, but I opted for one of my favorite dishes, the gamberoni all’aglio (king prawns in garlic butter with cherry tomatoes and fresh chilli), while mum chose the insalata caprese (slices of mozzarella and tomatoes, basil and rocket).
No Italian meal is complete without the obligatory red wine and we chose a bottle of Valpolicella Classico from Puglia, a region in southern Italy. Oh, to sit under the Italian sun enjoying that fine food and wine!
Unfortunately our starters arrived before our wine, but a very apologetic waiter quickly rectified the situation and opened the bottle at our table and refilled our glasses.
My steaming bowl filled with king prawns and cherry tomatoes swimming in garlic butter was delicious.
The garlic butter had the perfect punch from the chilli and I mopped up as much as I could with the crusty bread. I would have happily eaten this all night! Mom’s mozzarella and arugula tomato salad was light and refreshing, letting the flavors of the ingredients shine through.
The main courses section of the menu offers a mouth-watering selection of dishes ranging from pastas to pizzas, steaks to salads.
I stuck with the seafood for my main course – pasta ravioli with scallops and prawns in a fennel and smoked salmon sauce.
The presentation was stunning as the five large round packets of pasta were nestled in a white serving bowl covered in sauce. I loved that there was plenty of sauce as often there isn’t enough and the waiter didn’t skimp on the fresh parmesan either!
The sauce was so creamy with chunks of smoked salmon and dill – a dish triumph.
On the other side of the table, Mom was eating pollo cacciatora, a chicken supreme cooked in white wine with tomatoes and onions. The generous portion of chicken was soft and chewy while the rich tomato sauce had real depth of flavor. A separate side dish had potatoes and vegetables, but she felt the zucchini was a bit overcooked for her liking.
The place was filling with customers but the competent servers seemed to have everything under control.
We sat and relaxed enjoying our wine while debating a “dolci” – sweet or dessert.
I love coffee and I love puddings so I barely got past the very first dessert on the menu, the tiramisu. My mother debated a cherry panna cotta or a crème caramel, and finally went for the crème caramel served with orange wedges.
Our sweet treats looked almost too good to eat, but we dipped the spoons by hand. The lightest layers of coffee cookies, chocolate and mascarpone cream blend together to create a terrific dessert without being too heavy.
Mum’s custard shared the plate with the aforementioned orange segments, ice cream and a delicate lemon cookie all sitting in a bath of caramel sauce – deliziosa!
I’ll leave the last word to my mum who compared our visit to Kellogg’s cornflakes ad campaign from the 90s, where while enjoying the cornflakes, the slogan was, “Have you forgotten how good they taste?”
Well, maybe we had forgotten how good Poldino’s Italian food was and won’t leave it that long for a return visit.
Lesley Taylor is a staff restaurant critic. She works in the events team at DCT Media and is based in Aberdeen. Lesley has been reviewing area restaurants for over a decade.
Address: Poldino’s, 7 Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen
P: 01224 647777
Price: £84.85 for three courses for two and a bottle of wine
- Food: 4/5
- Performance: 4/5
- Surroundings: 4/5
For more restaurant reviews…
Already subscribed? Login
[Tuck into classic Italian food at Poldino’s in Aberdeen]