Hot Press

Raising The Bar

Noble wines, melt in the mouth seafood, perfectly cooked beef, gourmet pizzas, and Jay-Z are all on the menu as David Izzo tells us about the Bar Italia success story.

- Bar Italia, 26 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1. Tel: (01) 874 1000. Baritalia.ie.

The most important ingredient in any dish is passion, which positively oozes out of expat Roman David Izzo as he talks about his 15-yearplus mission to bring La Cucina Tipica to the heart of Dublin.

That same passion is also evident in the Bar Italia kitchen, which is staffed by talented chefs from Modena, Naples, Milan, Puglia, Rome and Ireland.

“People from Naples and Milano have very different ideas about the ‘proper’ way to cook something, which makes for very interestin­g arguments!” David laughs. “A lot of ingredient­s I bring over myself from Italy, but not beef because yours is the best in the world. Lamb, too, is sweeter and more succulent here than it is at home because of all the wonderful grass the animals have to feed on. By combining the best of Italy and the best of Ireland, you end up with something really special.”

Located at the entrance to D1’s Italian Quarter – crossing the pedestrian Millennium Bridge brings you straight to them – Bar Italia’s signature dishes include Pasta al Nero di

Seppia con Frutti di Mare; Risotto Carnaroli con Salsiccia, Funghi, Radicchio e Vino Rosso; Gnocchi alla Bolognese and, underlinin­g just how great their beef is, a Cosata di Manzo Irlandese alla Griglia con Rucola e Crescione precision-cooked to order.

The last time Team Hot Press dropped in, the specials included Costolette d’Agnello in Crosta di Pistacchi & Patate al Rosmarino – the lamb was just as sweet and succulent as David said it would be – and Ravioli ripieni di Aragosta & Granchio in Crema di Scampi, which confirms Bar Italia’s winning way with lobster, crab and prawn too.

If you’re in the mood for a pizza, the Calzone with Pan-Fried Spinach, Campania Mozzarella and Scamorza cheese from Puglia is a veritable work of culinary art.

The impeccably well-chosen wine-list ranges from the rotating cast of house whites and reds to such noble vintages as Pio Cesare Nebbiolo 2014 and Ca’Marcanda Promis 2014, both of which are well worth a festive splurge. Unusually, a lot of their higher end wines are available by the glass as well as the bottle.

While sadly devoid of Grammy Awardwinne­rs when we were there, Bar Italia has been graced by more than its fair share of musical A-Listers.

“The last time he played at 3Arena, Jay-Z and his crew popped in for a pizza,” David smiles. “We’ve also had Radiohead and the Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Chad Smith, drop by recently, so you’ll never know who you’ll run into here!”

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