One of Scotland's leading Italian restaurants has cooked up a storm by becoming the first pizzeria in Scotland to receive a prestigious One Star AA Rosette, joining the likes of top diners The Tower and The Witchery.
The award to La Favorita, based in Edinburgh's Leith Walk and famed for having a traditional log-fired oven, comes after it scooped the title of Pizza Restaurant of the Year in the PAPA (Pizza Pasta and Italian Food Association) Awards.
AA Rosettes are awarded to restaurants that are inspected by the AA after being nominated by members of the public. They are highly prized within the restaurant trade and only handed out to the best of the best, but the only way to receive one is to be nominated by the public.
Owner Tony Crolla, who also runs popular Italian restaurants Vittoria on the Walk and Vittoria on the Bridge in Edinburgh, said the AA award was well deserved and praised his team for their dedication and devotion to quality.
Tony said: “I'm surprised at receiving this award as we didn't know the inspectors had been here. But at the same time I'm not surprised because I think we are one of the best restaurants out there. It is very flattering to know other people think so too.
“In particular, it's very pleasing to be the first pizzeria to feature in these awards – and to know we are rubbing shoulders with other well-known names in the restaurant world.
“I've always believed that being a pizzeria does not mean people should in some way expect basic food. We've sought to make La Favorita one of the most stylish restaurants you'll find anywhere in Scotland – as well as ensuring it has no rival when it comes to pizza.
“What makes it even better is that fact that AA Rosettes are handed out only on the basis of recommendations from members of the public, so someone has come in here and enjoyed their meal so much that they have contacted the AA and said 'you should send one of your inspectors here' which has then happened.
“I'd love to be able to thank that person because their actions have made my staff even happier than usual. Everyone knows what an AA rosette is and it's something that everyone can take pride in. There's Michelin stars and then there's AA rosettes, so to have one is utterly fantastic.
“It may have been my vision to create one of the best pizzeria in the UK, but it was the hard, hard work of my team here, all the staff, that took my vision and made it a reality.
“So this is award is for them – and for the customers who enjoy our food so much.”
The secret AA visit took place on September 4.
Other One Star AA Rosette holders in 2009 list include Edinburgh fine dining establishments The Tower and The Witchery. The full Edinburgh list is available:
An AA spokeswoman said: “As far as we are aware La Favorita is the first pizzeria in Scotland to receive an AA Rosette. The restaurant impressed our inspector with the use of fine produce and traditional wood-burning pizza ovens, as well as the contemporary décor and friendly atmosphere.
“The AA is proud therefore to award La Favorita with one AA Rosette in 2009 recognition of its demonstration of culinary excellence.
“This Rosette rating recognises excellent local restaurants serving food prepared with care, understanding and skill, using good quality ingredients. These restaurants achieve standards that standout in their local area.”
Issued on behalf of Vittoria Restaurants by Holyrood Partnership. Contact Raymond Notarangelo on (0131) 561 2244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Holyrood Partnership
Phone: 0131 561 2244