L’Officina in the Dundrum Town Centre is one of the flagship restaurants of the Dunne and Crescenzi collection of Italian restaurants and food stores. Situated right on the Mill Pond at the main entrance to the Centre, L’Officina is a very busy spot at any time, and come the weekend, tables are as rare as hen’s teeth, particularly if the weather is nice and you want a table outside by the water.
Inside the restaurant is a large open space with a wall of wine running down one side. An open counter on the other runs into the kitchen and the tables and chairs are fairly close together, creating a busy and buzzy atmosphere that works well in this environment.
L’Officina in Italian means workshop, a place where you improve things, and the reason they chose the name was to take the elements in Dunne and Crescenzi and Bar Italia and refine them, taking into account the sopping element in both L’Officina locations, Kildare and Dundrum Town Centre.
It seems to have worked very well; all the usual Italian favourites are here, the menu is fairly long and offers pastas, meat and fish dishes, plenty of Panini as well as a selection of salads and antipasti. There is a section of typical Italian desserts, the coffee is good and the fairly priced wine list is mostly available by the glass or carafe.
In summer, there is a very nice terrace, sitting close to the Mill Pond and with a view of the fountains that dance in time to music. L’Officina has developed quite a following locally, and so people who have no intention of shopping pop in for a tasty lunch or early dinner, while the cinema goers take over in the evening, as well as a smattering of locals just grabbing a taste of Italy.
It is interesting to think that this group of restaurants have done so well for so long on what is a relatively simple idea – source good quality Italian ingredients, serve them as you would receive them in Italy and charge fair prices. What a pity so many ersatz Irish-Italian restaurants can’t seem to get this, and thank goodness for L’Officina.