In our never-ending quest for carbs, we frequently find ourselves craving pasta just like mama used to make. Not our mamas, because we were raised in 90's Ireland; a land where 00 flour didn’t dare to tread and our mammies relied on value bags of Roma, but these days we’re spoilt because there are plenty of Dublin restaurant kitchens turning out lovingly-made fresh pasta that we don’t always have the skills or time to do ourselves at home. We have a theory here in ATF: if a restaurant is taking the time and care to make their own pasta, a relatively cheap and easy to source ingredient, because they know they can do it better, they’re probably taking the same level of care with everything else they do too. So with that in mind, here's some of the best places in Dublin to eat freshly made pasta.
Did we even know what a cappellacci was before Host? Nope. Did we even care? Nah. Do we care now? Absolutely. These pillows of fresh silky pasta stuffed with caramelised pumpkin and walnut are one of our favourite things to eat in Dublin - us and everyone else. They also turn out lots of other beautiful pastas, like the tagliatelle for their rump bolognaise. Read our Host once over here.
To be fair to Grano, we could probably dedicate an entire article to their pasta alone, such is the range of fresh varieties on offer from their kitchen in Stoneybatter. Recent highlights have included a rabbit ravioli, pig cheek rigatoni, and basil tortellino stuffed with burrata and tomatoes. There isn’t a dish on their menu that we don’t want to try, and seeing it hand-rolled in front of you at the pasta counter makes it taste all the sweeter. Read our Grano once over here.
When two acclaimed chefs (Ross Lewis and Luciano Tona) come together to create a neighbourhood Italian, you know it’s going to be good. Osteria Lucio is a hug in restaurant form. A short stroll from Grand Canal Dock Dart station, it focuses on simple ingredients with maximum flavour like homemade squid ink fettuccine with Irish prawns and baby squid. The solid wine list and friendly service make it somewhere we're happy to linger, probably long enough to make room for a tiramisu. Read our Osteria Lucio once over here.
Picture the scene; you walk in to one of the best seafood restaurants in the country, are handed a menu listing pretty much every type of fish that came within a 4km radius of the Irish coast that morning and you decide to order the pasta. To share with someone else who's ordering the seafood platter of course. You haven't gone completely crazy. Michael's owner/chef Gaz Smith's wife Rita makes their homemade agnolotti stuffed with mozzarella and parmesan, with as much love and care as the fish dishes, or you can pop down the street to Little Mike's and you might be lucky enough to find fresh tagliatelle with crispy pig cheeks.
Ciaran McGill’s team in the kitchen of One Pico consistently produces food with great care and attention, so it’s no surprise their pasta is freshly made, like the lobster ravioli with crab bisque and lobster oil topped with a very generous scattering of fresh truffle. A version with parmesan that’s been aged for 36 months also features from time to time. If only every restaurant in the Molesworth Street/Dawson Street area was working their kitchen like this.
The customers continue to flock to Crudo in Sandymount, and now it’s even easier to find thanks to the signage change over the door. Inside, you’ll find a menu of fresh pasta that changes frequently and sounds simple, but delivers a serious hit of flavour, like their summer truffle cacio e pepe.
Just off Camden Street, Dall’Italia has carved out a solid following in Dublin, thanks to the tasty food, but also the versatility of the menu. In addition to the usual suspects like lasagne, you can customise your preferred pasta, topping, and sauce. Spaghetti aglio e olio with aubergine and bacon? Nice one. Penne pesto with bacon and spinach? Sure, why not. Carbonara with chicken and mushrooms? You’ve pushed us too far now. It’s basically pick ‘n’ mix for pasta.
Cirillo’s is just the kind of place we love - understated, under the radar and building a solid reputation through word of mouth. Anywhere that proves their pizza dough for 30 hours gets our seal of approval, but our main draw here is the pasta and gnocchi made on-site. Grab a glass of wine, a seat looking on to Baggot Street and feast on dishes like duck egg spaghetti carbonara, prawn raviolo with straccitella, and gnocchi with spring vegetables.
Chef/owner Keelan Higgs has ensured Variety Jones is perpetually fully booked with his whole fish, venison and duck cooked over charcoal in a corner of the kitchen, but the handmade pasta, like comté ravioli and spaghetti al fredo proved to be an unexpected bonus. He perfected his pasta skills in a two-Michelin starred restaurant in Tuscany, and Dublin's all the richer for it. Read our Variety Jones once over here.
Allta Wine Bar - Coming Soon
We’ve been excited about Niall Davidson’s new opening Allta pretty much forever. We had hoped we’d see the wine bar open by the end of the summer, and while that hasn’t happened, the flurry of recent activity on their Instagram page is giving us some glimpses at what we can expect. If this hand-extruded bigoli with spider crab and a juniper-smoked egg yolk is any indication of what’s to come, it's going to be worth the wait.
Also, tease alert: A new pasta bar is coming to Dublin very soon, and from what we know, we think it's going to be joining the hype train. More news when we're allowed to spill.