Picadero’s is situated in the centre of Main Street, Maynooth, and is recognizable by the outdoor seating and black awnings. This is an idyllic location on a sunny summers evening to watch the world - or at least Maynooth - pass by. Inside the restaurant is contemporary with black slate floors, exposed brickwork and there is often a guitarist by the bar playing Spanish music, add the dark tables, red leather chairs and candles and it doesn’t take long to get into the atmosphere. With a glass of sangria in one hand and the menu in the other, get stuck into the menus and find some favourites.
Picadero’s is open for lunch from 12.30 and serves through the afternoon until 6pm offering exceptional value for money with a tapas platter for €14.50 or a choice of specials such as meatballs, Spanish tortilla, grilled chicken or cured Serrano ham for €9.50. There is also a selection of gourmet burgers, fajitas, burritos or tortilla wraps, with chunky chips or a side salad all priced from €7.50 to €15.00.
There is an early bird menu served between 3-7pm Monday to Saturday and all day Sunday, offering 2-courses for €18.00 or 3-courses for €23.00. Starters offer a choice of five dishes including soup of the day, Spanish tortilla, nachos, chicken wings or garlic bread followed by a selection of eight dishes such as meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, a beef stew served with crusty garlic bread, burritos available in meat or vegetarian, a choice of beef or chicken burgers or a pan fried chicken dish. Everything is served with homemade chunky chips and a house salad. All desserts are homemade and you can choose between a Catalan style crème brulee, an almond & pear tart or a choice of ice creams.
Then you have a choice of the a la carte menu, (Spanish or Mexican) or a tapas menu. This is where it gets interesting; the tapas menu is very authentic and features real treats like the Jamon Iberico de Bellota from the acorn fed Iberian black footed pig, sardines a la Plantar, pimientos de Padron and lot’s of more prosaic favourites that you have no doubt come across on holidays.
The main menu is also well thought out, and seems a step up from what passes for Spanish or Argentine food in Ireland. Starters that catch the eye include the hearty Spanish fish soup, scallops with black pudding in lemon garlic butter and steamed mussels Marinara and a tapas platter for two.
Mains tempt with Paella that’s cooked to order and include Dublin Bay prawns and langoustines, while monkfish a la plancha and a seafood fricassee of Zarzuela vie for attention alongside some Argentine style steaks.
The wine list is also extensive with a definite Spanish/Argentinean influence. Whites are priced between €24.50 for Campo de Borja Blanco and €39.00 for the Jose Pariente while the reds are priced from €25.50 for the Langa Grenacha to €32.00 for the Inurrieta Navarra Sur. The house wines were familiar as the house wines of the infamous El Bui restaurant in Barcelona; they are available by the bottle, carafe or the glass. There is also a large selection of Sherries, beers and sangria.
We decide to trust the staff with the food, and after giving some pointers on likes and dislikes we leave the selection to them. What we got was a great selection of the staff’s favourites – to start we Estofado – a tasty beef stew which was served with potatoes and vegetables; sizzling prawns sautéed with garlic, baby chilies and olive oil; deep fried goats cheese on a baby leaf spinach salad with honey, pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts and dressing and black olive tapenade with a selection of homemade breads which was also great for mopping up the sauces from all the dishes, the most delicious part.
This was followed by their special of chargrilled chicken which was stuffed with Spanish sausage and served on a bed of vegetable paella and Zarzuela, a fricassee of clams, monkfish, Dublin Bay prawns, mussels prepared with tomato and potato. Both were really good choices, full of flavor and perfectly prepared, and they complimented each other well.
Picadero’s is doing a fine job of serving authentic Spanish food in a busy and buzzy setting. It’s brought to us by the same people who run the hugely popular Donatello’s just down the road. They do a great lunch special daily for €9.50, and there is a selection of homemade burgers, so they are good for a bite at any time of day.