top of page


A neighbourhood Italian getting it all right


20 Mar 2024


Neighborhood Name


Restaurant Address


Website Name

Restaurant Info

View the Listing >>

Written by:

Lisa Cope

What should we know about Crudo?

In what was formerly Dunne & Crescenzi in Sandymount, the next generation of the family, Sean Crescenzi, opened Crudo with friend Jamie McCarthy in mid-2019. They were finding their feet and figuring things out when Covid shut them down in early 2020, so it's been a stop-start few years, but they've now settled nicely into their groove.

Feedback seems to have been getting progressively better about their neighbourhood Italian offering, aimed at locals, without cutting corners to satisfy blander taste buds, and they've been quietly going about their business with a limited social media presence - clearly it's not needed to drum up customers.

Where should we sit?

It's a homely room with simple furniture and someone's much loved (and long held) cookery book collection dotted around the walls. We do love a bit of people watching and you never know who you'll see in Sandymount so we'd go for the window if it's free. Andrew Scott was who we saw in Sandymount - he walked right past the window on his phone - and we're told Andy Farrell (the Irish Rugby Head Coach) is a regular.

Those tables at the front are also perfect for familes. They seat six so there's plenty of space, and are right near the door in case anyone using their outdoor voice needs to be swiftly removed. Otherwise there's four tops along the wall and twos in the middle, but there's the ability for maneuvering depending on bookings.

What's on the menu?

They open for lunch and dinner with a lot of the same dishes, but lunch has a slightly reduced menu, and the addition of paninis which come with soup or parmesan fries. A lovely suppliers list (including first names) is up front so it can't be missed, and there's a €10 (frozen food free) kids menu that will excite parents used to paying €4 for just a juice.

There were a lot of specials on the day we visited, but we try to stick to the dishes you'll be able to order too. Bear in mind though that even if you've picked your food in advance based on what's online, expect a whole new realm of greedy confusion to reign down when you're presented with chalkboards of new options, each one sounding better than the last.

One of the best tests of any Italian is bruschetta, especially in a country where tomatoes are more often mealy, insipid balls of disappointment, than juicy, round pops of sunshine. Here a fluffy wedge of Oaksmoke sourdough comes just grilled, rubbed in garlic, and topped with marinated datterini tomatoes, basil and EVOO (€13) and you can add half a creamy, springy burrata ball for an extra €5.50. €18.50 might be on the pricier side for a starter, but it's big enough to share, and it's worth it when the Italian-imported ingredients are this superior.

Arancini (€15) are always on the menu, and ours came with 'crispy fried risotto', crayfish and lobster bisque, and a preserved lemon and basil crema underneath. These were as big as baseballs, and another starter easily shared between two. The risotto itself was a bit dry (maybe because of the crispy frying), but had proper chunks of crayfish, and the crema was one of the best things we've tasted this year. So vividly lemony, there wasn't a creamy basil-streaked smear left on the plate - it made the whole dish (and possibly our whole day).

We feel like we've been hearing about Crudo's scampi risotto since day one. Just cooked arborio rice comes with a lavish amount of fresh prawns, Dublin Bay prawn and sambuca bisque, prawn oil and crème fraiche (€24). It's one of those dishes you won't be able to make much conversation while eating, other than ummmms and errrmmaagaawwddss, and the elevation of all the flavours here shows up so many other risottos around town.

Even the most committed meat eater should try the hand-rolled ravioli filled with cavolo nero and brie, served with deep-fried wild mushrooms, hazelnuts, and black truffle and parmesan fonduta (€25). It's one flavour bomb after another, the chewy mushrooms and and crunchy hazelnuts the perfect foil to those big pasta pillows and all that cheese. The pasta was a little underdone in the centre, but we couldn't dream of parting with the plate, and there was so much to love here that we didn't really care.

Desserts contain your traditionalist options like tiramisu, affogato and cantucci biscuits with Vin Santo wine, and as you might expect by now are no slow coaches in the taste stakes. Tiramisu (€9) comes in individual portions with hazelnuts and Frangelico, and a chocolate biscuit on top. We loved the crunch of the whole nuts in there and all the flavours in the glass jar, but it was a little heavy on the cream and a little light on the sponge.

A doorstop of a dark chocolate tart (€9) came with a bitter chocolate base, an unrestrained chocolate filling, sprinkle of sea salt and the genius addition of mandarin oil. Staff told us people regularly take some of the monster portion home and offered to wrap up any we didn't finish - what a lovely takeaway. Excellent espresso sent us on our way.

What about drinks?

The wine list is 90% Italian (as it should be) with the odd bottle from Spain, France or Portugal. There's a noble 13 wines by the glass, and it's the kind of place where they'll be happy to give you a taste of anything open before you commit. We went on their recommendations and had a fleshy, structured Sicilian Grillo, and a light, bright Marzemino (all herbal notes and sour cherries) from Alto-Adige. Both felt like something you'd be poured in that local trattoria on your holidays - wines made to work with the food you're eating.

How was the service?

Danny Meyer talks in his brilliant book Setting the Table about gatekeepers and agents, and we think about this walking into every single restaurant. A gatekeeper sets up barriers to keep people out - the staff member who blocked your path asking if you had a booking, the server who didn't acknowledge you and eventually shrugs saying there's an hour wait for a table. An agent on the other hand facilitates, makes things happen.

When we walked into Crudo, we had a heroes welcome, an owner offering to seat us before knowing if we even had a booking. There were bright smiles, genuine chats, inquiries as to whether the table was okay - we think it would be just the place to be on a day when you're feeling fragile and need to be cosseted. There were only two servers for a half-full lunch service but no missteps or delays, and regular glances and check-ins to see if we needed anything. It feels like a very smooth operation.

And the damage?

€120 for a three course meal for two with a glass of wine each and one espresso. It felt like fantastic value considering the quality of the produce, the quality of the dishes, and the portion sizes. We could have shared a starter and dessert and left very happy.

What's the verdict on Crudo?

Crudo is that little Italian you find on your holidays and can't understand why food doesn't taste like this back home. None of it is over-complicated, there's nothing to scare anyone away (paging your parents), but it's all done with carefully gathered ingredients and some very skillful, generous hands in the kitchen.

We could pick the most minor of holes in it, but none of them would matter, because as casual neighbourhood restaurants go, Crudo ticks every one of our boxes, and if Sandymount isn't your neighourhood, it's only a 10-minute walk from the Dart.

New Openings & Discoveries

bottom of page