A Temple Bar Treasure: Caffe’ Italiano

Melanzane alla Parmigiana, Caffe Italiano

Melanzane alla Parmigiana, Caffe Italiano

Caffe Italiano is a little gem hiding on Crow Street in Temple Bar. I walk by it every day on my way work but have only really noticed it in the last month. I arranged to meet a friend for lunch today and suggested we try Caffe Italiano as I had read great reviews, but warned I had never actually tried it. I wasn’t disappointed, neither was my friend.

We sat downstairs as the place was practically empty but yet strangely didn’t lack atmosphere. It has a very Italian bar or trattoria-like feel to it. On asking for a table for two we were told to take any one and the waiter left us menus as soon as we sat down at our chosen table. Since we hadn’t seen each other in a very long time we were chatting a lot but quickly knew what we wanted as soon as we opened the menu. I went for Melanzane alla Parmigiana and my friend a classic Lasagna.
While we were waiting for our food, the waiter brought us some rustic bread and olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some side plates. I was delighted when I saw the olive oil brand as it was the very same one I use at home, one I buy from an Italian at the Howth artisan market.
Our food arrived not long after and soon shut us up! It tasted and looked so authentic despite being served on rustic-chic black slates. This kind of presentation was very un-Italian but looked great nonetheless.
When we went to order coffee after lunch I realised that we hadn’t been approached even once since the waiter took our plates…very Italian. We were left alone in our chatter for a long time, which I thought was really nice since there is nothing worse than feeling like you are being pushed off a table. I will mention though, that it did take a while for us to get the waiters attention when we eventually decided to order our coffee as he was busy chatting with colleagues. I really didn’t see this as a negative though as I wasn’t in a rush and it reminded me so much of being in Italy, how customers and waiters alike chatted among themselves and were so easygoing with their lunch break time limits. I am happy to say that the coffee also passed the test- it was great, Italian standard great. I had a macchiato and my friend, naturally being Irish and not abiding by the rules, had a cappuccino.

When we went to pay, although I hadn’t yet spoken to the cashier, he immediately launched into Italian which I was surprised at. I have never been mistaken for an Italian! Feeling absolutely delighted at this I responded in Italian and he went on by asking me if I was Italian and that I had a slight Milanese accent…a little less pleased about that comment but I’ll accept that!

Needless to say I have definitely found my new Italian haunt in Dublin. It is places like these that ease my nostalgia for Italy and give me that little piece of Italian culture away from the Bel Paese.


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