It would appear the Perthshire town of Crieff is a very busy place on a Thursday night, as I couldn’t book a table for love nor money recently.
My family and I were spending a few days there in the October school holidays and we’d gone on a recce earlier in the week to seek out somewhere nice to eat.
The Italian on the High Street was selected after a peek at its menu, but we thought we’d better phone before heading there on the Thursday night, only to be told it was fully booked.
The story was the same at several other locations and I was starting to think we might be out of luck.
Another trawl online took me to the Delivino website, which I hadn’t tried earlier due to Google telling me it closed at 8pm. As it was already approaching seven o’clock we had decided we didn’t have enough time, but the website appeared to let us book a table for four at 8pm, and a quick phone call confirmed our booking and sighs of relief were breathed all round.
Delivino in Crieff
I was pleased we were heading to Delivino for a couple of reasons: one, because it had looked very appealing on our scouting mission earlier in the week, and two because we had actually eaten in its sister restaurant a few years previously, on another family break in Auchterarder.
We had experienced a fantastic meal and great hospitality there so we knew we were on to a good thing on our visit to the original Delivino in Crieff.
We enjoyed an unseasonably warm walk to the restaurant, which was reflected in the door being wedged open for air and the windows completely steamed up inside.
It is a very homely, welcoming cafe/restaurant with a relaxed vibe and effortlessly stylish decor. The low lighting and dark green paint create a comforting feel, along with pretty fairy lights and pictures of Italian scenes upon the walls. I also liked the authentic Italian drinks on the shelves behind the bar.
We received a very warm, friendly welcome and were quickly shown to our table towards the front of the busy restaurant. Every table was packed with families, locals and tourists and it was a lovely atmosphere.
Delivino’s website states that it champions the food philosophy of Spain, Italy and southern France: “Good ingredients, simply cooked to show them at their best.”
The influences of these countries are clearly evident in the menu which includes lots of seafood, meat, pastas and pizzas.
There was also a burgeoning specials board offering the likes of pan fried hake and lamb and redcurrant stew.
My son and I both love fish, so when I spied a fish platter I suggested we share it for a starter. And we were both delighted I did.
A large wooden board arrived with items taken from the deli counter to create a fantastic sharing dish. We had smoked and hot smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, juicy olives, artichokes and hummus alongside sliced bread and mini oatcakes.
Everything tasted fantastic and I liked the variety. I thought the hummus and bread were a nice touch and I enjoyed every element. My only slight complaint was I had hoped for more fish. Some prawns or shrimp would have taken the dish up another level.
My wife chose the wild mushroom bruschetta with herbed ricotta and tarragon oil from the specials board and it was beautifully presented with many nice little touches. She said it tasted as good as it looked.
My young daughter enjoyed her dough balls and garlic butter from the kids menu.
Earlier in the day, I had made the mistake of deciding what I was going to order from our original choice of restaurant, and it can be difficult to quell the disappointment of knowing you’re not going to get what you’ve been looking forward to. However, I was pleased to find a close alternative to a seafood linguine in a tiger prawn linguine.
It was simply done, with chilli oil, lime and cherry tomatoes. As well as the chilli oil, it also had some chillies, so the dish certainly had a kick. The prawns were big and had a nice texture and I really enjoyed my main.
There wasn’t a huge selection of vegetarian dishes for my wife to pick from so she opted for the roast vegetable penne which was cooked in a house tomato sugo (a traditional tomato sauce) along with crumbled feta cheese.
She had been concerned the dish could have been a bit boring but said it was very tasty and had just the right amount of feta.
The children had been eyeing up the pizzas at other tables and both were wide-eyed when theirs arrived. A margherita for my daughter and an interesting choice of “puttanesca” for my son. This one came with sugo and mozzarella, anchovies, black olives and onion.
It was a new one on me but he really enjoyed it, and so did I when he kindly let me have a slice. I can also vouch for the margherita.
Both were beautifully light thanks to the super-thin crust, and bursting with fresh flavours.
As time was ticking and the restaurant emptying we decided to skip dessert, sated as we were thanks to a fantastic feast.
A couple of minor hiccups are the reason for a slightly lower service score below but that did not detract from our evening and all of the servers were incredibly friendly and helpful on what was a very busy night for them.
I was pleased to see the original Delivino offering the same quality of food and warm hospitality as that of its Auchterarder counterpart.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our visit and walked home in the warm night full of good food and happy memories.
Address: Delivino, 6 King Street, Crieff PH7 3HA
T: 01764 655665
Price: £111 for two courses for four, a bottle of wine and a soft drink
- Food: 4/5
- Service: 3/5
- Surroundings: 4/5