Amore Dogs is David Ramsden’s attempt to capitalise on the huge success of the next door The Dogs restaurant. Amore Dogs is a foray into staple Italian dining, delivered in much the same surroundings and style as The Dogs. The approach seems to be working well. On Friday lunch time there were more people seated in Amore Dogs than I’d seen in total, in its previous incarnation - the lavish, but somehow not quite right, The Affair restaurant. With The Dogs and Amore Dogs Ramsden is developing something of a monopoly on Hanover St dining.
The pressures of day-to-day work and other commitments, has meant this was Lunch Club’s first outing in a while. We arrived shortly after 12pm and were given a table on the mezzanine level. This gave the perfect viewpoint across Amore Dogs, especially the bustling bar and the hugely canine image behind the bar. Trendy is perhaps the right word to describe Amore Dogs; I think it’s a restaurant and concept which is fresh to Edinburgh, perhaps more at home in London or New York than here e.g. re-using cutlery between courses and being hurried to leave but being happy about it are not the traits I’m used to in Edinburgh.
The tables and seats in Amore dogs remind me of those in my old university hall of residence ‘restaurant’. For one whole year I enjoyed some of the worst cooking imaginable on identical seating. Back then we would often leave without eating and spend our cash on cheap, yet somewhat more fulfilling takeaways. Thankfully Amore Dogs produced food that warranted no follow up phone call to the pizza parlour.
Our waiter was a little too quick to sign all four of us up for their antipasti plate (¬£3.95 each). We ordered two and were disappointed with the portion size - the usual olives, salami and ham were all present , but it just fell short of what we’d come to expect from quality Italian restaurants. My risotto cake with ragu sauce (¬£4.95) was a good effort, with the risotto cake done to perfection and a fair serving of pork and beef ragu. The linguine with mussels (¬£5.50) and the spaghetti with meatballs (¬£4.75) all warranted appreciative nods from their recipients. The guest lunch club member also appreciated his rigatoni al amitriciana, although I found the swathes of sauce a little less than authentic!
I’ve often heard Amore Dogs and The Dogs described as “good value”. I think “fair value” is a more accurate way to describe their offerings. Just under ¬£5 for spaghetti with 8 mussels or spaghetti with 5 average sized meatballs, is neither great nor ghastly value. Amore Dogs menu shows a little more ambition for dinner with swordfish (¬£12.40) and whole stuffed pigeon (¬£9.20) among the offerings available. The menu is large and varied enough to please all tastes - there are also pizzas.
By the time we left Ramsden was instructing his staff to quickly turn around our table to reduce the small queue. There’s no doubt about Amore Dog’s popularity.
Here are the quotes from the lunch club members:
Quick service, ok food and a lively setting
Fresh, tasty, affordable lunch in trendy surroundings
Hip d√©cor, caf√© style, with pleasant food
Smart caf√© hits the spot
Amore Dogs is located at 104 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DR
Telephone: 0131 220 5155
Further photographs are available.