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Restaurant review: Classic Italian food in the heart of Aberdeen at Poldino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria

The tiramisu was too tempting for dessert.
The tiramisu was too tempting for dessert.

Poldino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria has been in Aberdeen for a long time, in fact on their website they quote “a slice of family tradition since 1977”.

1977 was the year Star Wars opened in cinemas, the year that Elvis Presley died and the Queen celebrated her silver jubilee – that does seem a long time ago!

I remember when I was a student in Aberdeen in the late 80s and Poldino’s was the “posh” restaurant we passed by on our way to the bars.

We often peered in the windows envious of the diners tucking into the finest Italian fare. Luckily for me my mum is a fabulous cook and she regularly prepared an array of Italian dishes such as lasagne, minestrone soup and spaghetti carbonara, so we didn’t feel hard done by on our trips back home.

Outside the restaurant on Little Belmont Street in Aberdeen.

So it was only fitting that I brought my mum along to review Poldino’s on a foggy Friday evening in Aberdeen.

The lights glowed from the restaurant’s arch-shaped windows and as we entered the downstairs section there was quite the buzz as glasses were clinking, meals were being enjoyed and there was a high volume of chat and laughter.

The musical Chicago was showing at the theatre so they were busy with diners fuelling up before the show.

We were shown to a quieter table upstairs following a lovely curved staircase with ornate white railings. Various scenes of Italy adorn the cream walls on the gallery floor while simple chairs and tables are set with cutlery and glassware. The curved architecture is echoed on both floors of this beautiful building.

Interior shot of the venue.

The food

The menus are in Italian with English explanations below. It is divided into various sections – antipasti, zuppe or insalate. The antipasti consists of typical Italian starters; bruchetta, cured meats, calamari and pate.

It was a difficult decision to choose just one but I went for one of my favourite dishes gamberoni all’aglio (king prawns in garlic butter with cherry tomatoes and fresh chilli), while mum chose the insalata caprese (sliced mozzarella and tomatoes, basil and rocket).

Gamberoni all’aglio is one of Lesley’s favourite dishes.

No Italian meal is complete without the obligatory red wine and we chose a bottle of Valpolicella Classico from Apulia, a region in Southern Italy. Oh, to be sitting in the Italian sunshine enjoying this 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 filled up our glasses.

My steaming bowl full of 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 gladly eaten this all night! Mum’s mozzarella and tomato salad with rocket was light and refreshing letting the flavours of the ingredients shine through.

Insalata caprese went down a treat.

The main course section of the menu has a mouthwatering selection of dishes on offer from pasta to pizza, steaks to salads.

I stuck with the seafood for my main course – scallop and prawn pasta ravioli through a fennel and smoked salmon sauce.

Presentation was stunning as the five large round pasta parcels nestled within a white serving-bowl blanketed in sauce. I loved that there was plenty sauce as so often there isn’t enough and the waiter didn’t scrimp on the fresh parmesan either!

The sauce was so creamy with pieces of smoked salmon and dill – a triumph of a dish.

The panciottek cacciatora (scallop and prawn pasta ravioli)

Across the table, mum was tucking into pollo cacciatora, supreme of chicken cooked in white wine with tomatoes and onions. The generous portion of chicken was soft and moist while the rich tomato sauce had real depth of flavour. A separate side dish contained potatoes and vegetables but she felt the courgette was a bit overcooked for her liking.

The place was filling up with customers but the capable waiting staff appeared to have it all under control.

We sat back 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, tiramisu. My mum debated over a panna cotta with cherries or a crème caramel, and in the end plumped for the crème caramel served with orange segments.

Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert.

Our sweet treats looked almost too good to eat but spoons in hand we dived in. The lightest layers of coffee-dipped sponge fingers, chocolate and mascarpone cream all mingled together to make a terrific dessert without being too stodgy.

Mum’s custard shared the plate with the aforementioned orange segments, ice cream and a delicate lemon biscuit all sitting in a bath of caramel sauce – deliziosa!

The verdict

I am going to leave the last word to my mum who likened our visit to the Kellogg’s cornflake ad campaign from the 90s, where on tasting the cornflakes the catchphrase was: “Have you forgotten how good they taste?”

Well maybe we had forgotten how good Poldino’s Italian food tastes and will not leave it so long for a return visit.

Lesley Taylor is a staff restaurant reviewer. She works in the DCT Media events team and is based in Aberdeen. Lesley has been reviewing restaurants across the region for more than a decade. 


Address: Poldino’s, 7 Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen

T: 01224 647777

Price: £84.85  for three courses for two people and a bottle of wine


  • Food: 4/5
  • Service: 4/5
  • Surroundings: 4/5

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