Donelli’s is a daytime café and evening restaurant on the market square in Wicklow Town. This stylish spot is on the corner of the square and has room outside for some al fresco dining during the summer months, or any other time the weather permits.
It looks quite small and bijou from outside, but inside it has a Tardis quality; downstairs is a small café which bustles during the day, but upstairs there is a swish dining room, arranged around the central stairwell, decorated in calming creams, with simple wooden tables, stylish leather chairs and some eye-catching pictures on the walls.
The daytime menu offers breakfast, some hot specials at lunchtime and Panini, cakes and coffee through the afternoon. A recent rest stop on the way back from Wexford elicited a very good goats cheese and r pepper Panini, and a return a few weeks later for dinner found a busy local restaurant serving a good selection of interesting dishes at good value for money prices- just what the customer wants in a neighbourhood restaurant.
The dinner menu offers two options; there is the dinner menu, and a tapas menu to choose from. On the dinner menu there are plenty of favourites and some variety. Starters include Caesar salad, home chicken and pancetta tart, chicken wings or a panfried king prawns in garlic and chilli and all are priced around the 6 mark.
Main courses throw up some surprises, there’s an oven baked seabass, glazed with harissa and lime and a Thai style risotto, a West Indian Chicken and vegetable curry, pan fried monkfish with king prawns, duck with and orange and plum sauce, a lamp rump and a choice of steaks.
On the tapas side, there are plenty of favourites, and some Italian and Greek dishes make an appearance, albeit in a tapas style. There are over 40 choices, and too many to list, but you could enjoy patatas bravas with several twists, meatballs, Spanish sausage, fishcakes or nachos.
In the end we decided on a two pronged attack - I would eat off the tapas menu, while Abigail would try the dinner menu. The dinner menu offers two courses and a half carafe of wine or a beer per person for €25, which seems like very good value. We weren’t madly hungry, but decided to share the bread and dips to start, followed by the seabass for Abi, while I got a selection of tapas. We shared her half carafe of Sauv. Blanc and some sparkling water completed the order.
Our platter of bread and dips included hummus, tzatsiki, spicy tomato salsa, olives and tapenade, with a selection of breads including, pitta, foccacia and some corn chips. They all tasted very more-ish, especially the tomato and hummus, and we had to stop eating before we had finished them all lest we had no room for the main event.
Abigail’s’ sea bass was perfectly cooked, and the Thai style risotto worked well. I got some prawns Pil Pil cooked in olive oil, garlic and chilli, good patatas bravas, a cold meat platter and a spicy meatball. We shared each others dishes, and enjoyed everything, the prawns being particularly tasty.
We didn’t think we’d make desserts, but a beautifully presented display of all the home made desserts on a large slate changed our mind, and we shared a delicious chocolate torte with a couple of coffees.Donelli’s is hitting the right note for neighbourhood dining, and is now the only night time restaurant inWicklowTown. It’s worth a trip if you haven’t been, and the daytime menu is really very good.