Long ago, one of the first times I was accosted on Leith Walk was by a friendly drunk. Friendly drunks are the usual random encounter on the street, but this occasion was different. He really wanted me to eat some of his pizza.
I can’t promise you that friendly drunk wasn’t making the whole story up, but the timeline fits. The fellow was kitchen staff from La Favorita, the new pizza place just about to open on Leith Walk, who was now on the way back from the resulting staff party and was confident they had the best pizza in Edinburgh.
He wanted to prove how good the pizza was by feeding it to me.
I declined the pizza at the time but have had a few changes to try La Favorita in the decades that followed. I’ve eaten in the restaurant as part of a large group, a small group and alone, and I’ve tried the delivery. Mr Friendly Drunk had every reason to be so proud; the pizzas here are good!
La Favorita’s food
I’ve been taking advantage of Vittoria group special offers and buying from the top end of the menu. I’ve had beef carpaccio pizza, multigrain base pizza and sundaes you could drown in.
It’s been delightful.
I also think La Favorita’s latest experiences have been even better than my foggy memories of trying the restaurant when it was new. My recent trips have been a great success, worth every penny, and not as expensive as I somehow feared. Food has come quickly, been lovely, hot and fresh.
Why did I think it would be anything else? I was part of an office outing to La Favorita that wasn’t so smooth, albeit over a decade ago. It was our fault for not pre-ordering the food, and it’s funny how long that put me off. Harsh, too, as that experience was hardly all on the restaurant.
Now I’m going back and beginning to know the food choices well to make quick decisions. I get an a la carte menu that’s far more than pizza.
There’s antipasto, pasta and no shortage of Italian food. I’ve been testing these options too! None have let me down, but I still find it hard to consider La Favorita as anything other than a pizza place. It feels like a wasted opportunity if I don’t order the pizza when I’m there.
Is the multigrain base any good? I like it, but I don’t have it every time. It’s not as crisp as the usual excellent base, perhaps “breadier” is a word for it (if breadier was a word), but that means it soaks up the flavours. I think it’s an improvement for many topping combinations, and I don’t know anywhere else that does it.
La Favorita’s delivery
You don’t have to visit the restaurant to get their food as it will come to you.
There have been changes to La Favorita’s delivery over the years. For a start, they no longer have the branded cars you would previously have seen all over Leith.
I’m told they’ve not had the cars since February 2020, so perhaps the pandemic is obscuring the change. The memory of the familiar livery might be more potent than its absence.
More importantly, changes to delivery driver employment have been made. All drivers now work directly with the company; no middle management agency is involved. Drivers get £10 an hour plus £2.50 per delivery.
Another advantage la Favorita delivery has over Deliveroo is customising your pizza more thoroughly. I’ve used it to order cheese-free pizza for lactose-intolerant eaters with appropriately high standards. In fact, la Favorita is my strong recommendation if you’re lactose intolerant and in the mood for a pizza.
La Favorita’s Atmosphere
I have to be in the right mood for La Favorita because it’s a fairly big restaurant, split into different sections by the building design.
When it’s busy, it feels bustling. It can be a high octane vibe at times, which some people seek out, but I sometimes find it intimidating.
The staff are always friendly and attentive. I tend to see the same faces, too, recognising people through their safety masks, which means turnover is low and experience high. Reassuring! It means even if the restaurant starts to get busy, I’m still comfortable that I’m being looked after and my food not forgotten.
The only time I’d really worry about how popular the place can get, how many people can be eating at once, is when my body is being particularly ill, I’m back on my walking stick and struggling to manoeuvre myself between tables. There’s hardly anywhere on Leith Walk I’d go when I’m that bad. Pleasingly, La Favorita does have disabled access toilets, which save you from making the multiple levels of stairs trip down to the facilities everyone else should use.
I think the atmosphere is good for couples, friends, small and large groups. I don’t imagine the current world situation allows for office outings, but when they return, and La Favoritas allow them, my tip is to work with the restaurant to pre-order food or whatever their experience suggests will reduce wait times and allow for a good night.
I’m happy to recommend La Favorita, both as a restaurant and delivery service.
It’s not quite the same as some pizza specialists elsewhere in Leith, but it’s in that league. It plays ball in that court. That puts La Favorita miles ahead of the American franchises, and, importantly, it achieves this level of pizza excellence while offering great customisation to your order and even non-pizza options.