Manifesto restaurant in Rathmines is a real Italian, serving great food using top ingredients and is reasonably priced. Owner Lucio Paduano is passionate about the food, and keeps it as authentically Italian as possible.
They are justifiably famous for their pizza, having won gold medals in 2006 and 2010 for their pizzas at the World Pizza Championship in Italy, but the main menu is a feast of quality Italian cuisine of the highest order.
The room is Rustic with bare brick wall cleverly lighted with large picture mirrors lit behind. Wooden posts and beams complete the look. At the front is the large pizza oven and the tables are nicely spaced and sport white runners. The room is full, and there are several tables of Italians, always a good sign in an Italian restaurant!
Paolo liked it a lot and here is a snippet from an old review of his;
"Then the pizza and the lobster spaghetti arrived. Both were prettily presented, the pizza had the edges cut and folded to make it into a many-pointed star with the centre well filled with mozzarella, aubergines, courgettes and red peppers. It looked great on the plate, but the points of the star were without filling. My lobster dish was sensational. It looked great, it was perfectly cooked and the flavours of the lobster and the tomato sauce were beautifully combined. "
The wine list here is one of the best in Ireland.
In honour of an absent friend I ate like an Italian, so had a starter, then a pasta course, then the main course. I started with the most delicious scallops, perfectly cooked and presented on a bed of spinach, on a very beautiful plate that swirled into a cliff on one side. A passion fruit reduction was bitter sweet with the sweet meat of the scallop and worked perfectly.
My pasta dish of home made scialatiello pasta with clams, mussels, prawns and calamari came in a deep copper pot. It looks fantastic and tasted as good as it looked. Cherry tomatoes finished the dish and the seafood flavours permeated the sauce and pasta.
Just before the main course a selection of sorbets appeared. These were really works of art and were so carefully presented I felt almost guilty eating them. At each end two real walnut shells were closed, one inside was the most wonderful homemade walnut ice cream. There was a frozen strawberry with delicious strawberry sorbet and beside it a walnut ice cream, again in the shell of the nut. I have had sorbets and amuse bouche in some of the best restaurants in Ireland, and further afield and this is one of the most inventive plates I have seen in over 10 years of reviewing restaurants. Fabulous!
My main course of classic Saltimbocco was almost wasted on me, I was so full after the pasta, but I managed to work my way through it with plenty of water. Hardly a hardship, definitely in the luxury problem field.
I loved Manifesto. This isn't just one of Ireland’s best Italian restaurants; it's up there as one of the best of any description. Inventive, precise and visually stunning, not to mention delicious food and good, friendly service. If you haven't been, rectify the oversight. If you have, go back!