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Ultimate Food Guide to: Dublin’s Best Pasta

Words: Emily Mullen

After much racking of brains, trawling of the internet and broken down email threads we are proud to present, The Ultimate Dublin Food Guide, Pasta edition! A guide that cuts through the mire of food and drink reviews made by every Tom, Dick and Harry, with opposable thumbs and access to 3G.

We might be miles from Roma, but Irish people have always had a particular soft spot for Italian cuisine. Way back when it was one of the few cuisines that were properly catered for. Many have fond memories of great mounds of honking garlic bread, soggy bruschetta and a balsamic vinegar-drenched Caprese salad from the local Italian.

Italians are one of the untouchables of the food scene, places where the service is nearly as important as the food. When we go to an Italian, we participate in bowing to the greatness of Italy and are appreciative of it all, the simple quality of ingredients, the flair of the service and the passionate adherence to traditions.

While the majority of Italian restaurants are out in the suburbs are great neighbourhood spots, there is a surprising density of quality Italian restaurants (some included in this list) that are within spitting distance of each other in Temple Bar (ironically across the river from The Italian quarter), some of the owners are even related to one another.

Many spots have been beating out a steady trade over the years. In the last couple of years, they have been joined by some dedicated pasta spots that have quickly become synonymous with pasta in Dublin.

Since lockdown, the urge to visit Italy has been strong, and many (who quickly realised how difficult it is to make pasta from scratch) have seen a growth of appreciation for the pasta makers of our land.

The answers have been piled up, measured by hand and dropped into lightly salted water. Onto your waiting fork let us fix The Ultimate Food Guide to Dublin’s best pasta:

10. Osteria Lucio

The ‘Try a New Type of Pasta’ Spot

With a serial restaurateur and storied chef like Ross Lewis at its helm it’s no surprise that it’s been included on this list (and also on our Ultimate Dublin Food Guide to Dublin’s Best Pizzas here). The pasta maker gets quite the workout during Osteria Lucio’s service, with handmade Capelli D’angelo, tagliolini, maltagliati all being fed through. Owner of Bahay food truck Riggz Castillo, gave Osteria Lucio a mention on his list.

Location:

The Malting Tower, Grand Canal Quay

Opening times:

Wednesday-Friday 18.00-22.00
Saturday 18.00-22.30
Sunday 18.00-20.00

For more information visit the website.

9. That’s Amore

That’s Authentic Pasta

As Italian as its name suggests it to be, That’s Amore even itemises its menu in Italian, visitors to the restaurant in Monkstown can pick from things like “Insalata” and “Zuppa”. Starters aside, That’s Amore has a healthy-sized pasta menu and a specials board that changes daily. It’s a true neighbourhood spot that also operates as a delicatessen and cafe. Someone who can appreciate what goes into running a restaurant or two co-owner of Mister S and Featherblade Paul McVeigh felt the love for That’s Amore, he told us that the “overall great experience..the food, the whacky service…can feel like you’re back in Italy, except its Monkstown’s own piazza!”


Location:

Monkstown’s 107 Monkstown Road

Opening times:

Tuesday – Thursday 16.30 – 23.00 Friday-Saturday 16.30 – 23.30

For more information visit the website.

8. Terra Madre

As Old School as it Gets

Many a footstep has passed over Terra Madre’s door, but few have realised what they are passing. One of the most authentic Italians you are likely to get operates under one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares. The tiny spot operates a lunch and dinner service every day. The team source a lot of their key ingredients from the motherland and decorate the menu with dishes from around the country. The spot was on the list of chefs’ Holly Dalton and Eric Matthews.

Location:

Dublin 1’s 13a Bachelors Walk

Opening times:

Monday-Sunday 12.30-15.00; 17.00-22.00

For more information visit the website.

7. Il Vicoletto

The Unsung Hero

Opened way back in 1998, the restaurant was forced to close for a while in the late 2000’s before a return under new ownership in 2009. Specialising in Central-Northern Italian cuisine, the team hand-make their pasta, combining it with local ingredients and necessary imports. Eric Matthews is a fan of the spot, he told us there’s a connection to another Italian a stone’s throw away “which is actually Rosa Madres cousins place, across the way from it”.

Location:

Temple Bar’s 5 Crow Street

Opening times:

Monday-Thursday 16.00-23.00 Friday-Saturday 12.00-23.00 Sunday 15.00-22.00

For more information visit the website.

6. Da Mimmo

The Bustling Neighbourhood Joint

Like a lot of the spots featured on this list, Da Mimmo is a family-run spot. Set up with a hefty wood-fired pizza oven (they are on our UDFG to the Best Dublin pizzas too) Da Mimmo also serve a big range of pasta, with plenty of variations on the classics, then some more are chalked up on the specials board. Eric Matthews listed Da Mimmo on his list, describing it as a “cracking place” with great ingredients, the former head chef of Chapter One told us he even had his 30th birthday there.

Location:

North Dock’s 148 North Strand Road

Opening times:

16.00-22.00

For more information visit the website.

5. Forest Avenue

Small Plates Big Flavours

Named after the street that co-owner Sandy Wyer grew up in Queens, the restaurant has a definite New York feel to it. Listed on the Michelin Guide, Forest Avenue has different vibes than others on the list, opting for smaller tasting plates packed with complex flavours, over great big mounds of pasta. Such is the demand for Forest Avenue’s pasta that the team produce it for sale in their Greengrocers section. 3FE owner Colin Harmon is a big fan, telling us he opts for “whatever incarnation of the Agnolotti dish in Forest Avenue that’s on the go.”

Location:

Dublin 4’s 126 Leeson Street Upper

Opening times:

Wednesday-Friday 18.00-21.30

For more information visit the website.

4. Host

The Low and Slow Special

With a tagline that includes “fresh pasta” in it, Host was bound to be high up on this list. Known for their fresh papperdelli with eight-hour braised beef shin braised in tomato and white wine. Holly Dalton included Host on her list, while the owner of Bahay Riggz Castillo added, “they’ve always got three rotating fresh pasta dishes on the menu, every one of them is banging, every single time.” While Paul McVeigh likes the Pumpkin Cappellacci from Host. Echoing McVeigh’s sentiments co-owner of Piglet Wine Bar Enrico Fantasia said, “I tend to prepare and eat my pasta at home but since I tried Host, life is much easier… Their pumpkin Cappellacci, or the Duck Ragù Pappardelle are seriously addictive.”

Location:

Dublin 6’s 13 Ranelagh

Opening times:

Tuesday-Saturday 17.00-21.30

For more information visit the website.

3. Rosa Madre

When You Need Your Champagne Sabered

Part-theatre part-food, a trip to Rosa Madre is never unforgettable. Primarily a seafood restaurant, the team excel at homemade pasta too. During the pandemic, the Temple Bar restaurant switched into pasta production in an effort to stay afloat. Holly Dalton and owner of Lil Portie Nico Reynolds are both fans of Rosa Madre, alongside Eric Matthews who said, “It’s a great Italian restaurant and its run by a really charismatic Italian guy Luca. The chefs in there are fabulous, pasta is all made from scratch, the sauces are beautiful whether its the lobster spaghetti or a really delicious tortellini with cheese, ham and truffle. It’s just fabulous. It’s a great place.”

Location:

Temple Bar’s 7 Crow Street

Opening times:

Tuesday – Saturday 17.00-23.00

For more information visit the website.

2. Grano

The Cult Hit

There won’t be any prizes for guessing, which two restaurants are included in the top two of this list. Anyone lucky enough to secure a spot in Grano will be treated to homemade Calabrian pasta, served with seasonally-driven recipes. Serial restauranteur Niall Sabongi, Eric Matthews, Riggz Castillo are all fans of the Stoneybatter spot, while Paul McVeigh told us that Grano is where he had his “most memorable Italian meal in Dublin EVER”. While Holly Dalton encouraged everyone to “book it now”, she added that, “Grano delivers everything you could possibly want from a restaurant. Romantic atmosphere, excellent service, interesting wine list, I could go on and on about this place. The fresh pasta steals the show here. The pheasant tortellini particularly stands out in my memory.”

Location:

Stoneybatter’s Manor Street

Opening times:

Tuesday-Friday 17.00-22.00 Saturday-Sunday 12.30-22.00

For more information visit the website.

1. Sprezzatura

The Pasta of the People

You just need to take a look at the opening hours to realise how popular this place is, when booking you are either faced with a nice early lunchtime 12-er or a Spanish-timed dinner. Niall Sabongi, Holly Dalton, Andy Noonan, Paul McVeigh all mentioned Sprezza.

Here’s what the rest of them had to say;

Crossy “If you can get a booking you need to go to Sprezzatura and order EVERYTHING!! Their small and big plates are amazing… I always try and go with 2 people and order one/two of everything… I was lucky enough to get into their new Rathmines venue. Wine on tap is a big plus.”

Garrett Fitzgerald “The guys at Sprezzatura are doing an amazing job”

James Kavanagh “Sprezzatura is always lovely & a fun buzz.”

Caitriona Devery “It’s a casual, fairly speedy joint which is perfect if you’re going for drinks somewhere on Camden Street. Italian inspired with Irish ingredients. A very happy marriage. The pappardelle with duck ragu is chef kiss

Locations:

Dublin 8’s 5/6 Camden Market

Rathmines’s 221–223 Rathmines Road Lower

Opening times;

Camden Market Monday-Friday 9.30-22.00

Rathmines Monday-Saturday 12.00-22.00 Sunday 12.00-20.00

For more information visit the website.

Honourable mentions: Bar Italia, Oliveto, Dunne & Crescenzi, and Gigi’s

Not got enough Italian? Read our Ultimate Dublin Food Guide to Dublin’s Best Pizzas here

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