Where: 140 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2.

It’s always easy to know a place is good when it’s packed with people from where the food is derived. When I ate in Cirillo’s there were more Italians than Irish working and eating, I knew it was going to be good. When I saw a review in the Indo written by my hero, Katy McGuinness, I HAD to go. I trust no one more when it comes to food. Side note: I wish I was Katy McGuinness…

We booked in advance, you should too, and were seated downstairs next to a loud bunch of Italians (the stereotype is true) celebrating a birthday. I started with the Calamari with black garlic aioli and Amy ordered arancini. These arrived promptly, my mammoth pile of Calamari was thinly coated in a light batter, unfortunately some pieces were a little chewy, but the black garlic aioli forgave that. It goes without question that Amy didn’t enjoy the arancini because it was accompanied with a sauce of “funky tasting cheese”, that’s blue cheese for us refined folk. While it’s an absolute curse to be romantically involved with someone who hates all decent food and can’t really enjoy any upscale meal, it means I get all the food she’s too fussy to eat when we’re out, so it’s not all bad. Actually it works out great for me. What I’m saying is; the arancini was good. The empty plates were no sooner removed when the pizzas arrived.

I had been to Rome a few times as a teenager when my aunt lived there.In all those years since my holidays, I have never eaten pizza in Dublin that tasted anything like the stuff I had had around Italy. Finally, after eating shitty doughy pizza around dublin and Ireland masquerading as genuine italian fare, I tasted the charred pizza crust in Cirillo’s and was transported back in time to the restaurants around Trastevere where I had eaten over a decade ago. Ahhhh, memories. It probably helps that the chef is Italian and using an Italian pizza oven. The dough…well, it was perfect. I ordered a Capricciosa which was topped with parma ham, olives, artichoke and shiitake mushrooms. To be honest with a pizza as good as that, a plain ol margarita would suffice. 

Desserts were…bad. I had the panna cotta, which was deconstructed with strawberries and scabby pieces of biscotti, the whole thing tasted like a yoplait Strawberry yogurt. Amy had Ice-cream, it definitely wasn’t like the kind of Gelato you’d find anywhere in Italy…or even in Gino’s on Henry Street for that matter.

2 starters, 2 pizzas, 2 desserts and 2 cans of Coke came to €65, great value for the portion sizes and quality. Their pizza is undoubtedly the best you’ll have in Ireland, the service was attentive and prompt without being intrusive. You’ll soon realise that Dominos are fucking frauds when you try Cirillo’s, but skip on the desserts.

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