BORSALINO lies just a few hundred yards from the border with Aberdeenshire.
But there are good reasons why the city should be proud to claim it as its own.
This is just the kind of characterful, home-grown eatery we need more of.
For more than 30 years Borsalino has provided classic Italian cuisine.
The restaurant is a little crammed (an extension is planned), but that’s part of the charm.
And if your waiter (Salvatore, a wonderful tenor) wants to sing a bit, why not?
As soon as we were seated, Salvatore recommended a wine, describing it in simple terms like “fruity” (useful if, like me, you can just about distinguish a red from a white).
The wine (£13.85 a bottle) was great with the bruschetta (£4.25) starter, a pleasingly rustic dish of bread, chopped tomatoes (two varieties), and a drizzle of oil.
My wife’s mussels (£5.95) – cooked in wine, garlic, coriander – were the best she’s tasted. She begged for the recipe but was told things were too “crazy” in the kitchen to go asking.
Not that you’d know that in the calm of the dining room, where a guitarist sat in the corner, singing jazz classics.
The main menu has all the Italian classics – penne arabbiata, spaghetti bolognese, spaghetti carbonara, all for under a tenner.
The steaks (uncooked weight, 8oz) are grilled and served with vegetables and potatoes.
And the pizzas are fantastic, especially Borsalino’s own creation.
I was tempted by the chicken breast and button mushroom risotto (finished with cream and parmesan) but instead chose a special – king prawns with cherry tomatoes and rice (£12.95).
My wife picked veal with wild mushrooms, served with a white wine and cream sauce (£13.95).
Again, the food was perfect, the meat tender and well-seasoned, the sauces playing a support role.
There are plenty of dessert options on offer (cheesecake, tiramisu, ice-cream, cheese and biscuits) but we called a halt there, with the bill coming to £51.05.
Moans? The portions were on the small side, but that’s about it.
The Borsalino is as good at accommodating kids as it is hand-holding couples.
The restaurant does wee portions of main meals for them – as every good place to eat should – rather than resorting to processed offerings.
It’s not the cheapest evening out, but it is one of the best.