Greeted by warm, friendly staff and seated at our table we were then brought a selection of homemade breads; Guinness brown bread or an Italian white plus a shot of pumpkin soup while we began reading through an extensive menu and impressive wine list.
The menu was divided into Antipasti, Le Paste and Mains. There was a selection of menus to choose from which included and Early Bird menu; great value at €19.95. Dario has also put on a Treats Menu, 3 courses for €28.75 featuring house specialties and then you have the A La Carte Menu, a little bit more expensive but well worth a look.
There is a wide selection of starters from the Soup of the Day which was tomato & red pepper, Caracalla - Italian pork neck with parmesan shavings and chilli balsamic; pasticcio which is gratinated local seafood dish with fennel and coriander cream and a parmesan crisp.
Mains had a selection of pasta dishes including fresh spaghetti marinara, orrichiette pasta with steamed local monkfish, creamed leeks, lemon and coriander infusion; a risotto of fresh Dunmore seafood with fresh herbs and parmesan or a roast Barbary duck breast with vegetable and broad bean soffrito, red pepper and lemon pesto.
We started with the tomato soup and gamberi all aglio, shallow fried Kilmore Quay prawns in chilli and lemon garlic butter, and followed a great start with the aforementioned orrichiette with the monkfish and the spaghetti Marinara. Orecchietteis a kind of home-made pasta typical of Puglia or Apulia, a region of Southern Italy. Its name comes from its shape, which reminds one of a small ear. In Italian orecchio means ear, and the suffix 'etto' means 'small'. This was a lovely dish, and anyone within listening got an earful about it afterwards.
Everything we tasted was cooked to perfection, al dente pasta and sauces that were an infusion of tastes and seasonings. All dishes are authentically Italian with most of the ingredients coming directly from Italy, however produce that can be sourced in Ireland is locally bought, and this includes all fish, meats and vegetables.
For dessert we went with a selection to share for €10, a little taste of tiramisu, cassata ice cream, a chocolate mousse with ice cream and a caramel pannacotta, along with tea and coffee. For the more adventurous or on a good night out with the girls there is a massive list of dessert cocktails to choose from, all around the €8.00 mark.
The wine list was extremely well put together with a selection of 6 red and 6 white house wines which were also available by the glass or in ½ bottles; there were 30 under €30, a smaller selection over €30 and the Super Tuscan selection which ranges in price anywhere from €36 – €305.
Dario is the Head Chef and a wonderful proprietor, and Pat is front of house. La Palma on the Mall is formal dining in a relaxed atmosphere; everybody has a job to do and they do it with complete attention to detail, but it’s not fussy or intrusive. La Palma is one for the shortlist next time you are out in Waterford.