Visitors familiar with the fine dining restaurants that were previously at this address in Dundalk (most recently the excellent Rosso) may be surprised to find that it is now home to a much more accessible operation that proclaims its ‘diciassette’ (€17) three course menu on the steps up to the door.
Changed times, indeed, but don’t let this put you off as this informal and family-friendly restaurant offers authenticity and customer-friendliness.
A comfortably furnished bar overlooks Roden Square at the front, with the L-shaped restaurant area behind it. There’s a wood-fired pizza oven at the back and, although the décor is laid-back, the minimalist settings on bare tables are good quality and friendly staff are quick to welcome new arrivals and take orders.
Aside from the ‘diciassette’ – which offers several choices on each course including vegetarian options, and is fantastic value – wide ranging lunch and dinner menus offer everything from delicious home made soups, salads and sharing plates like the bruschetta plate and an antipasti board, to an appealing choice of pasta and pizza, plus daily-changing blackboard specials and also a range of grills in the evening; these menus too are keenly priced and give generous servings of very tasty freshly prepared food.
Really good basics convey the philosophy – the house minestrone, for example, is jam-packed with good things, making a real meal in a soup bowl, especially when served with their excellent crusty yeast bread.
The wood fired oven is put to good use, and not just for pizza – it also gives special flavour and texture to the gorgeous breads including the piadina (Italian flatbread) and foccacia used for wraps and sandwiches.
And the drinks menus offer quality and value for money too – as well as well-priced wines, by both the bottle and glass, and great coffees (a point of pride), you’ll also find Pellegrino (of course), fresh orange juice, Llewelyn's organic apple juice (produced not far away, in north county Dublin) and apple juice spritzers as well as mainstream soft drinks.
All round, this quality-focused family-friendly restaurant is a great asset to the Dundalk dining scene.