L’Alba D’Oro first opened in 1975 on 5 Henderson Row, in Edinburgh’s affluent New Town. The Golden Dawn was a new venture for newly-weds Filippo and Maria-Celeste Crolla, and the name (and later, logo) was inspired from the Apennine mountains surrounding their beloved hometown of Picinisco, Italy.
L’Alba D’Oro then expanded into the unit next door (7) in 1978. In 1987, they bought the adjacent unit (9) and created a pizza and pasta house, which later extended into a further unit (11) in 1995. In this year, the entire business premises were renovated and separated to become an upmarket fish & chip shop, and pizzeria. The Pizzeria also operated at lunchtime for the bustling office trade, offering soup, focaccia and coffee alongside their very popular pizza and pasta.
Adding a further product line to its portfolio in 2001, L’Alba D’Oro then began selling wine at affordable prices, from everyday bottles to global icons. Customers were encouraged to request favourite wines, which could then be bought by the case. L’Alba D’Oro was probably the only fast-food takeaway in the world to sell Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Cristal Champagne and Louis XIII Cognac alongside fish suppers. Both customers and the media loved this unique offering. However, licensing laws later changed in Scotland, and it was decided that only the Pizzeria (now Anima) would hold a liquor licence from 2010.
A new chapter was written into the history of L’Alba D’Oro in 2004, when Filippo, Celeste and son Gino decided to return the business to its roots, separating the fish & chip shop from the pizzeria. The family wanted to concentrate on growing the chip shop’s sound reputation, built on local affection and international recognition, whilst rebranding the pizzeria’s concept to better serve its expanding market. In November 2014, the Pizzeria operating from 9-11 Henderson Row was rebranded as Anima – Italian Soul Food. It was a bold but successful move, as Anima is now regarded as one of the best places for authentic pizza and pasta in Edinburgh. In November 2014, it celebrated its 10th Anniversary.
L’Alba D’Oro has often been referred to as an Edinburgh institution, praised and awarded throughout its history by word of mouth, television and both national and international media. It achieved its ultimate accolade in February 2002, when it became the first take-away in the world to receive a four-star award from a national tourism body; The Scottish Tourist Board. Recently, it was named the No.1 Fish and Chip Shop in the UK, by The Times newspaper (Weekend Supplement, August 2014).
On Sunday 26th April 2015, L’Alba D’Oro celebrated 40 years of award-winning fish & chips, offering 40% discount instore, in support of The Edinburgh Sick Kids Friends Foundation.
L’Alba D’Oro and Anima are still family-run businesses, operated by Filippo and Celeste, their son Gino and his wife Emanuela.