26 Blooms Lane
Lower Ormond Quay
When I went to live in London many years ago, I couldn’t get over how many great little genuine Italian eateries there were in comparison to what we were at that point used to in Dublin – tomato sauce tomato sauce. That was until Stefano and Eileen Crescenzi opened Dunne and Crescenzi and subsequently Stefano Crescenzi also opened Bar Italia with the inestimable David Izzo. Where would we be now if we didn’t have this urban mode of Italian dining to which we have all become so accustomed.
I know that when I go into town I love to visit Bar Italia for a great fix of urban dining with authentic Italian food. In a great corner location right beside the Milennium Bridge over the River Liffey, it couldn’t get more atmospheric. The room is lovely, bright and colourful, with a Knuttel painting of fiesty diners dominating the room. The floor is tiled, the chairs and tables are smart casual, and there is always a great buzz.
They have a terrific selection of Italian charcuterie, cheeses, vegetables, which you can have served in all sorts of combinations. Antipasto misto is the chef’s selection of charcuterie, olives and farmhouse cheese, with toasted ciabatta. Last time I had it there was Mortadella, two varieties of salami, Parma ham, peppers and olives. They also do a vegetarian antipasto including marinated artichoke, aubergine, courgette, cheese and olives with bruschetta. We have also had Bresola, which is a cured beef, with Parmesan and rocket salad, dressed with extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and lemon which is delicious. These are all priced around the €10/€11 mark and crostini with pate or perhaps smoked salmon is around the €7.50/€8 mark. Bar Italia do terrific authentic pizzas using pizza dough made fresh dail on the premises. I particularly like the Pizza Salsiccia et Patate, which is fresh Italian sausage, campana Mozzarella cheese, garlic potatoes and rosemary. They are all reasonably priced around the €10/€13.50 mark. Their pastas too are just sinfully divine. Tagliatelle can be had with a beef ragu although my favourite with tagliatelle is wild mushrooms, pancetta, garlic and Tuscan white truffle oil. Risotto, made from Arborio rice, is with fresh Irish clams, mussels, prawns, squid, monkfish, chilli, cognac and extra virgin olive oil. They also use pasta which we don’t see that widely on menus in Ireland including fresh ‘Panzerotti’ which is with a sauce made from Fontina cheese from the Aosta Valley. Main courses are also well priced are not going to break our already broken Banks! Mains from around €18/€23 mark include fillet of beef with black pepper sauce; veal with Parma ham; seabass with thyme and sundried tomatoes…… There is a fine selection of wine from Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to Barolo, Proscecco to Dom Perignon. I think you will find more than you could ever want at Bar Italia.