|Address||Suffolk Street, Dublin 2|
Located on Suffolk Street, Pacino’s is an extremely convenient place to go for a meal before a night out or simply somewhere to eat without having to worry about spending your month’s grocery budget. What makes this restaurant stand out from its competitors is the quality service it offers. The staff here are very friendly and attentive. It must be said that the evening we chose to review it, there was a table of forty that demanded a lot of attention and, as a result, there were one or two slight blunders. Nevertheless, I would still recommend this fine, competitively priced establishment.
The interior is fairly pleasant and the music is at just the right level to allow banter but, at the same time, enhance the ambience. I do feel the need to point out one detail in the décor, though: our table was at the front of the restaurant and in the lovely brickwork on the walls were drilling holes in plain sight. It did not make the best first impression, considering it would have been perfectly possible to cover the unsightly DIY evidence. Perhaps it was just our table, but it would be desirable for the management to fix this detail.
Also, when it comes to service there were a few timing errors and our waiter did forget to give us a dessert menu (it took roughly 35 minutes for him to bring the menu). To make things worse, we had to ask him for spoons when we were eventually served our dessert. At the same time, he was a very nice man and we could forgive these mistakes due to the busy evening.
The final teeny tiny black mark, if we are to be really fussy, is that the table had been set to the wrong side, which I did not notice as, like the waiter, I am left handed.
When it comes to the food, our party ordered a variety of items from the menu, and one thing has to be said: the food really is amazing value for money.
Only three of our party of five, ordered starters: Naan and Sencha both ordered the barbecued ribs at €6.50 a pop, and I ordered the goat’s cheese salad with green lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and mango, drizzled in a honey dressing.
The Pacino’s special barbecue sauce was indeed special as both the boys agreed it was the highlight of their starter with a nice zingy touch. However, on the down side, one plate of ribs was in fact, rib-less. The goat’s cheese salad was rather tasty with its combination of savoury cheese, sweet mango, leafy green lettuce, honey dressing and juicy cherry tomatoes. It was also quite good value at €8.95 for a medium-sized salad.
Naan and Sencha both ordered the nine-ounce fillet of steak at €24.95. The response to the tenderness and cooking of the steak (Sencha preferring his steak as rare as possible) was two thumbs up as the chef had cooked them exactly as ordered – rare (excuse the pun) in Ireland.
Ms Mango ordered a large Cajun salad as she was in a bit of a rush and the response to the salad was most positive indeed. She remarked that it combined just the right amount of Cajun spices to compliment the green salad, beef tomatoes, and juicy pineapple pieces (and I dare say the Pinot Grigio helped).
Mr Mango, on the other hand, ordered a twelve-inch Pacino’s pizza and not a scrap was left. The dough was not too deep and the toppings were neither burnt nor under cooked: a good pizza overall and again very good value for money at €14.95.
I ordered the chicken Gratella, which consisted of strips of chicken breast that had been basted in olive oil and herbs, then grilled and served with a Cajun creamy tomato-based sauce that had a nice little kick to it, and potato wedges, for €15.50.
For dessert, the party (sans Mr & Ms Mango) each ordered a different dessert. I ordered the orange crème brûlée (€6.25), which had slight undertones of vanilla since the citrus orange tang was the dominant flavour within the crème. The crème topping had the correct amount of brown sugar for the flame to create a nice, crisp top layer without hindering the crème itself. If I am going to be particular about my crème standards, I would suggest perhaps a little less egg and a tiny bit more double cream to improve the texture and make it a tiny bit less “eggy” – a minor detail and a personal taste at that.
Sencha ordered the banoffee pie, which went down a treat, and at €5.95 it was quite a surprise that it was so tasty.
Finally, Naan had the strawberry cheesecake which, like the crème brûlée and the banoffee, was rather good – not too strong and not bland in the slightest. The perfect end to a pleasant evening.
After the meal the cellar bar (formerly La Bodega) is a nice place to sit down, have some wine from the bar and, if you get a little peckish, there are hot and cold tapas available to order.
On the weekends, there is live music and the general atmosphere is rather laid back, with a mildly romantic feel to it. Perhaps an ideal place to take your significant other, as it really is a hidden gem.