Tucked away down a laneway in the centre of Killarney, this smartly presented Italian restaurant serves some of the best food in the town.
The attractive frontage – cleanlined, contemporary, neat – would certainly attract the interest of passers-by, and it has quickly earned the support of local diners.
Arriving guests are greeted courteously by a member of the waiting staff in the small reception area. On arrival the restaurant seems tiny as there are only three tables on the ground floor, but the main dining room is on the first floor, accessed by very steep and narrow stairs.
The decor is unfussy, with sturdy chairs at linen-clad tables, good quality silverware, and lots of wood and subdued lighting creating a warm ambience.
Quality ingredients are the foundation for an appealing menu offering an extensive range of dishes – and not only in the familiar categories (starters, pasta and rice, meat, fish, salads and vegetables); unusually for an Italian restaurant, a separate vegetarian menu is also offered, with a choice of four special starters and main courses. Try the risotto alle verdurine, for example - cooked perfectly al dente, with a nice crunch in the vegetables, it is a very pleasing dish.
A particular speciality is Irish grain-fed Hereford beef – contra filetto di manzo con fantasia di funghi, is a predictably popular dish of char-grilled rib-eye with mushrooms, white truffle oil, roasted baby tomatoes and croquette potato.
Chicken is corn-fed, veal is represented, of course, and there’s a good choice of fish and seafood, including a tempting mixed fish and crustacean plate (although, at €29.50, it is the dearest dish on the menu).
Desserts tend towards the classic, but may be led by seasonal ingredients, such as fresh figs, when available – and a glass of grappa could be just the thing to accompany your sweet.
The menu is clearly described and informative - explaining, for example, the different types of pasta used in each dish – but the wine list, which is mostly Italian and reasonably priced, has no descriptions or tasting notes.
With the range of dishes offered going well beyond the standard mid-range Italian fare, good honest cooking, and an all-Italian floor staff providing service that is both professional and friendly, it’s not surprising that this restaurant is so popular - it is clearly tickling the taste buds of locals and visitors alike, so reservations are advisable.