* Written for Spotted By Locals *
Situated slap-bang in the heart of Edinburgh’s Leith Walk, Gaia Deli is the last place you’d expect to find. Hidden in plain sight, Gaia is easy to stroll past without a second glance, due to its tiny shopfront; but once you’ve been inside, it’s impossible not to go back.
Gaia is a little Italian haven in the centre of Scotland’s capital. If you’re not Italian, then it’s very likely that you’ll be the ONLY non-Italian you hear inside. Family-run, friendly and loved by locals, the deli is bright and cosy, adorned with fairy lights and books for the customers to pick up and enjoy as they please. The food itself will have you coming back time and time again as the perfect spot for lunch. Their panini menu is lengthy and delicious and is washed down very nicely with a cup of classic Italian coffee. The deli’s setting, slightly away from the Old Town, means that the prices are affordable, but the quality is incredible.
My go-to sandwich is always the Panino Classico – a warm ciabatta with mozarella, tomato and cooked ham – but if I’m looking for something different, or traditionally Italian, then I always have one of their Arancini – risotto balls deep-fried in breadcrumbs.