Gerry McMahon and his partner Aoife run this tiny corner cafe/wine bar in Galway city centre, a couple of minutes walk from Shop Street.
As the name il Vicolo (alley in English) suggests, this is an Italian operation born out of Gerry's devotion to and experience of Italian food and wine.
Il Vicolo soon became trendy in Galway despite the small space (about 25 seats) and plain bare wooden furniture, constricted though well kept toilet area and miniscule kitchen in full view. The pleasant buzz is enhanced by downtempo jazz, large windows onto the street and keen staff who, like Gerry, seem to be enjoying themselves.
The menu offers a range of bruschetta, pasta, sandwiches, scones, cakes and more elaborate dinner dishes such as Brodetto, a fish stew and slow-cooked Lamb with parmesan vegetables as well as the inevitable pasta. Featured desserts include choux pastry oozing cream with chocolate sauce, and vanilla ice cream with espresso and Baileys.
With excellent coffee and rustic soups, lunch here can cost as little as €10 per person while dinner is substantially more expensive at around €40 a head all-in.
The all-Italian wine list is enthusiastically promoted by Gerry, listing as it does many worthwhile bottles from the big name Italian wine regions along with a few interesting surprises. A Falangina white at €5.25 a glass proved to be a fine example of fruity dryness, particularly appropriate with the Fish Stew.
This atmospheric, cosmopolitan restaurant deserves to do well.