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About Us

La Balena is Italian for ‘the whale” and Matteo Giovanazzi, who is behind the project, says: “We know everyone’s going to call it ‘the Whaler’s’ anyway, so it was the obvious name”.

Matteo comes with impeccable credentials having done most of his training in Glasgows La Parmigiana and latterly worked as head chef in Caffe Parma, a firm favourite with a few islanders living in Glasgow – his wife, Laura, is from Lewis while his own family background goes back for 200 years in the restaurant business. 

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The Giovanazzi family originates from the small town of Compiano ( which can be seen in the bar area) in the region of Emilia Romagna - Italys capital of food. This is where many of Matteos recipes come from although a few other have been developed along the way to compliment the diverse ingredients found in Scotland.

An award-winning chef, Matteo Giovanazzi is offering familiar Italian fare of pizza and pasta but also intends to place heavy emphasis on island seafood and the produce of local butchers. 

Matteo and Laura decided to take the Stornoway plunge while Laura was expecting their daughter Sofia and are extremely grateful for the welcome they have received.

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