Caffè Parigi is a new kid on the block when it comes to Dublin eateries. Doing some research online for this article, it appears the place was trying to get off the ground around 2006. Well, it’s finally happened, and dear lord, it’s been worth the wait.
Located in Dublin’s dockland area, on the south quays, the first thing that strikes you when you enter, is the fabulous interior! Seriously, I know that the two men who founded the place are French and Italian, respectively, but this place has a bang of the gay off it. No heterosexual – even cultured European types – could do so much with what is a relatively modestly sized space.
So, it looks great, but what about the food? It’s also fantastic! Caffè Parigi is located right beside a building I frequent at least once or twice a week in the course of my day-job, and it’s a god-send. (Till then, we relied on the local over-priced convenience shop, or a nearby hotel.) There are two menus: breakfast and lunch. I haven’t sampled the breakfast yet, so I’ll limit my views to simply being impressed by the options, and the prices.
Have I mentioned the prices? They are recession-tastic! Panini are a fiver; salads are from four euro to around six or seven; decent helpings of pasta are six or seven euro; and the little tasty Italian and French desserts are a steal – on average about two euro. And with the quality of the food on offer, that’s even more wondrous. Now, let me make it clear, that this is a café, so you won’t be able to get a full-on three course meal. But the food is wonderful, with fresh, tasty, actual Italian and French ingredients. Thus far on my various visits, from the lunch menu, I have sampled: the crudo, pizzico, and cotto panini, the bresaola salad and the minestrone soup, which was soup of the day last Thursday.
The crudo panini contains parma ham, mozzarella, tomato; the pizzico contains spicy salami, emmenthal cheese, sun-dried tomatoes; and the cotto contains roast ham, emmenthal cheese, rocket salad. All of their panini are drizzled with the tiniest amount of olive oil, before being toasted to perfection. The ingredients are fresh, fresh, fresh: the cured meats are sliced on an actual slicer (do you remember them, from the local butchers, in the 1980s before retailers and pre-packaged meats got in on the act?); the sun-dried tomatoes are more sunned than dried, remaining tasty and succulent and juicy (and this is from someone who is typically repulsed by tomatoes..!); the rocket leaves actually taste of rocket!
Okay, I’ll calm down.. Well, in a minute: the bresaola salad was perfection, and generous: several large slices of cured beef, which were, again, not at all dry; rocket salad with plenty of flavour; great big parmesan shavings; plus a drizzle of olive oil, to keep everything together and flavourful! The minestrone soup was also a delight. I was afraid I’d be presented with a bowl of thick-ish soup, littered with bits of pasta. Not a bit of it! The soup itself was deliciously light and brothy, and it contained plenty of chopped , tasty veggies. Even the celery (another evil vegetable) was good! (Yes, I know tomatoes are a fruit, shurrup!)
Right, so you understand that I’m a fan of the food. But I’m not the only one. The place is invariably heaving, especially from noon time, with nearby workers, local residents and tourists. If you’re a bit late, you may have to join the wee queue. Plus there are always plenty of Italians there (customers, as well as the staff), which is an excellent sign: they like the food, they love the coffee. I can only assume that it reminds them of home, which can only mean that Caffè Parigi has quality by the bucketload.
With all that food and coffee and whatnot, you may find yourself in need of the facilities. Well, I’m happy to report that the toilet (there’s just the one) is perfectly adequate and is fully accessible. In fact, the entrance to the café itself is flush with the pavement, and good use has been made of the interior dining space, so access and a place to eat should be relatively easy for those with mobility difficulties.
Caffè Parigi is located on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, between the Seán O’Casey Bridge and the new Calatrava bridge. You can view the Jeanie Johnston ship on the opposite quayside, especially if you take a seat in the small, sheltered outdoor area.
Okay. I’ll finally stop raving about this place. If you’re in the area, just visit the place, it’s excellent! (Oh, and they do take-aways, including catering and delivering lunches for the workplace. Plus, they have a teeny-tiny gift “boutique“. Is there anything they can’t do?!)
17-19 Sir John Rogerson Quay
t: +353 (1) 697 00 22
(More pics will be on the way, as soon as I take ‘em!)