Cirillos is good.
That’s why, on the night we eat dinner in this popular Baggot Street destination, the room is filled with Italians: as a race, Italians are bloodhounds when it comes to hunting down good food.
The kitchen know how to make ravioli with spinach and ricotta where the pasta is transparently thin, so it forms a gauzy, starchy envelope for the filling. It’s light as a feather. It’s a beaut.
Arancini is almost as good, stuffed with taleggio and basil with a pumpkin purée, and only some dullish fried calamari lets the team down, despite the best efforts of a black garlic aioli.
The pizzas, however, are angels of deliverance. The Paolo is a bianche, a white pizza, with no tomato, and boasts sausage, a Gorgonzola cream, Mozzarella, walnuts, red chicory and a balsamic reduction. Thanks to the chicory and walnuts, it has a firm raft of bitterness, which makes it bracing and engaging to eat. The pie itself is soft, with a wide lip, and it works perfectly with the toppings.
Just as good is an Amatriciana, with tomato sauce, guanciale, oregano and Pecorino Romano. Where the Paolo had a secret agent in the shape of chicory, here the carrier of balance and the mouth party is the chilli, finely chopped and scattered across the pie.
The effect of these taste details is the creation of pizzas that are always exciting to the palate. The Cirillos pizzas look big, but you find it’s vanished from your plate before you can say Andrea Pirlo was the best soccer player you ever saw.
Our Italian waitress was a ballet teacher, and she glided across the floor during the night, and floated up and down the stairs. And don’t worry if they are full at street level: the basement, which houses the pizza oven, is a crackin’ wee room, with stylish black walls that reflects the light of the kitchen.
Good wines, decent prices, and there are going to be an awful lot of Dubs and visitors whose default option is going to be “Why don’t we just go to Cirillos for a pizza and a bowl of pasta?”
A class act.
Cirillos is exactly the sort of super-confident middle-market Italian restaurant that Dublin city needed.
Cirillos is good.
Ireland The Best Paperback, Out 22 Mar 2018
This fully comprehensive and independent guide to Ireland gives you only the very best recommendations, whatever your budget. Over 2000 recommendations for every type of adventure.
More from Megabites
Megabites Blog Sign Up
Sign up for our Megabites Newsletter, a blog which brings you all the latest contemporary news of the best food and food people in Ireland, including all that’s new on the Wild Atlantic Way.