About Us

La Lombarda is the oldest Italian family restaurant in the UK. It was first opened in 1922 by Giuseppe Berni (Joe) who was born on Castle Street in Aberdeen in 1902. He married Wilhelmina Copland (Ina) in 1936.

When Joe opened La Lombarda he only sold hot drinks, sweets, cigarettes and of course ice cream which he made himself. It was not until 1926 that he started to branch out by offering breakfast and pies, nothing Italian – Aberdeen was not ready for that!

During World War II La Lombarda was renamed ‘The Corner Café’ an anglicised name that was common for many Italian owned businesses during that period. La Lombarda re-appeared above the corner door in 1964 when the restaurant was taken over by Joe & Ina’s only daughter Monica and her husband Fabrizio Necchi.

When Joe stepped away from the business in 1964, he bought the property next door on The Castlegate and opened up Birnie’s Confectioner where he continued to sell his sweets and ice-cream. Today that has been reopened as a Trattoria (a typical Italian name for a family restaurant) called Gio’s by La Lombarda by Joes granddaughter Chantal.  

Monica married Fabrizio who was from Borgovalditaro in the Emilia Romagna region of Northern Italy in 1964 and together they ran La Lombarda until they both retired in 1999.

It was when Monica and Fabrizio took over the business that they started to introduce real Italian food. Over the years Monica and Fabrizio together expanded the Castlegate corner and the business to include a take-away, a wine bar ‘Villa Romana’, a function room ‘Valentinos’ and an outside catering business.  

La Lombarda is Aberdeen’s longest established Italian Restaurant and was one of the city’s most popular eateries during the years Monica and Fabrizio ran it.

The restaurant was leased out for a number of years after Monica and Fabrizio’s retirement.

Monica and Fabrizio have 2 daughters Claudia and Chantal. Claudia and her husband Harry opened two successful restaurants in Aberdeen and Ballater before retiring from the catering industry.

Now in 2023, La Lombarda’s 101st year of being owned by the same family it is time for the third and fourth generation of the family to breathe new life into the business.  Monica and Fabrizio’s’ youngest daughter Chantal and her three children, Owen, Anya and Esme who recently returned from living in America plan to re-establish La Lombarda as one of the top restaurants in town!  

Starting on a small scale with the Trattoria called Gio’s and soon to be followed by the opening of the original La Lombarda restaurant which embraces the Castlegate and King Street.  In 2024 further expansion is planned to reopen the take-away, function rooms and bar.