Harlequin Café and Wine Bar is located on Stephen Street in the centre of Waterford City. It has become one of the most popular Italian trattoria in the area for casual dining. The restaurant is one of tiniest but best used spaces we have seen, and there is not a time of day or evening when it’s not packed; but the hustle and bustle is all part of the ambience.
Harlequin serve food all day from breakfast, through lunch and dinner; it is the type of place you can drop in for a quick espresso and croissant as easily as have a full dinner and bottle of wine in the evening. The prices are exceptional value for money, and I believe that this is one of the reasons they are still thriving when so many others are struggling.
We popped in on a Saturday after some shopping for a spot of lunch, and couldn’t believe even at this time the wait for a table was up to half an hour. The menu was precise and very Italian, which was exactly what we had expected.
The open working kitchen with chef’s barely being able to look up from their work provided theatre, and we wondered as we watched how they all worked so well together in such a small space.
This is a proper Italian, and with loads of temptations on the menu we decided to share some dishes. A plate of Antipasto Misto got us off to a good start, a generous plate of bresaolo, mortadella, Parma ham with lots of different salami; it was served with salad and crispy Italian bread drizzled with olive oil. We followed this up with gnocchi carne; an over generous plate of potato dumplings with a minced beef and courgettes sauce and a tortellini pomodoro; homemade and stuffed with spinach and ricotta and covered with creamy tomato sauce.
Desserts are homemade, and a great way to finish in Harlequin, along with their good quality coffee. The ingredients are sourced directly from Italy where appropriate, and everything else is sourced locally, so the produce is always good.
A short well chosen wine list completes the picture, and it’s easy enough to see why the people of Waterford have taken Harlequin to their heart; well made Italian food that stays true to its origins is hard to beat, couple that will friendly service, a great atmosphere and good value and you have a must visit spot on the Waterford landscape.