Italian food is popular worldwide, even though Italians often think it’s impossible to find authentic examples of their native cuisine outside of their own country. The reality is that nowadays it’s much easier to find good Italian food abroad. If you’re in Dublin and are looking to be whisked away to the sunnier shores of Italy, take a look at our guide to the best Italian restaurants in the city.
Dunne & Crescenzi
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
If you’re seeking a taste of Sicily, Dunne & Crescenzi is the answer. Strategically placed very close to Grafton Street in Dublin’s city centre, this place offers some of the best in Italian cuisine, using authentic Irish ingredients whenever possible. Try the Altamura bread with the antipasto misto board, made of Emilia Romagna and Tuscan charcuterie and Asiago cheese. Make sure not to miss the ravioli del plin with Tuscan ragu or the carnaroli risotto with Cinta Senese pancetta, asparagus and saffron. If you’re avoiding carbs, you can also choose one of the many healthy salads on the menu.
Located outside the city centre, Manifesto offers a great selection of Italian dishes paired with wines from Italy. They make their own pasta, sauces, bread and desserts every day, and they also cater for coeliacs and those with other food intolerances. Try the parmigiana di melanzane, made from layers of aubergines, mozzarella and parmigiano cheese, baked and served with basil ice-cream. If you’re a pizza lover, then the pizzas at Il Manifesto won’t disappoint; they’ve won gold medals at the Pizza World Championships. Reservations necessary.
Da Mimmo is not exactly a tourist spot, and is considered by many to be one of Dublin’s best-kept secrets due to its familiar and cosy atmosphere. They serve large portions at affordable prices and both the pizzas and the pasta taste just like they would in Italy. Try the penne alla Norma with grated salted ricotta cheese and the pizza bianca with mozzarella cheese, Italian sausage, mushrooms, gorgonzola cheese and Parmesan.
Expect to find homemade pasta and an authentic experience at I Monelli, a small and bustling restaurant in the Portobello district. Their tasty dishes are modelled on traditional Italian recipes and are made using both local and Mediterranean ingredients. The signature dish is the homemade ravioli filled with ricotta cheese, but you should also try the carpaccio of Fassone beef from Piedmont, the beetroot dumplings with Castelmagno cheese and chestnut honey, and leave some space for the affogato – vanilla ice cream ‘drowned’ in espresso coffee.
In the heart of the Italian quartier, Wallace’s Taverna offers a selection of over 100 Italian wines and spirits. They use ingredients such as Gragnano pasta to produce a mouthwatering menu. Don’t miss the burrata cheese from Andria, served with cream of aubergines, Cantabrian anchovy and rosemary-flavoured black bread crust, and the traditional Sardinian fregola (little balls of toasted semolina flour) with mixed seafood. To finish off your meal, the tiramisu is an excellent option, especially if eaten with a glass of grappa aged in barriques.