Casa Mia is in the Italian Quarter in Sligo. Pat Grimes - who is well known from Bistro Bianconi since 1993 - and his team have worked tirelessly over the past year developing Tobergal Lane, a dark lane nestled between the main thoroughfare of O Connell Street and the Garavoge River into The Italian Quarter, home to Bistro Bianconi, Gullivers and A Casa Mia.
On a recent trip to Sligo we visited A Casa Mia, and I have to say it’s one of the nicest cafés or wine bars I have come across. While Ireland’s is now ridiculously well served with restaurants, really good daytime places are harder to find. From 8.30am to late it is bustling with atmosphere, the food is all homemade and freshly prepared and the décor is just fab.
It occupies a great corner on the edge of the river with glass windows the whole way round. On one side you look straight into the bakery where you can see staff preparing fresh cakes, panini or their own ciabatta breads. The other windows look into the restaurant and no matter what time of day or night it always seems to be busy.
Once inside the décor is trendy but rustic, with a huge white oak island in the centre which can seat up to 30 people at any given time, while around the edges are smaller tables for two or four. Shelving surrounds the room with all kinds of everything; there are books you can take away and return, games for children including retro favourites like Connect or building blocks.
On a Saturday afternoon the place was hopping and manager Louise and the crew had all kinds of everything on display from sweet delicacies of chocolate tarte, strawberry and vanilla cheesecake or their raspberry and coconut muffins, while on the savoury side there was homemade lasagne, vegetarian shephards pie or a selection of wraps, sandwiches and ciabattas. I enjoyed a buffalo mozzarella, tomato and pesto ciabatta and a latte while the others went for desserts of warm chocolate cake with ice cream. And a pot of tea.
We will return for a later visit and get stuck into the tapas menu and a glass or two of wine. There is good value here with tortilla coning in at only €3, while the more complex dishes like prawns pil pil or meatballs are around the €6 mark
The wine list starts at €19.50 for an Italian Chianti which is also available by the glass at €5.75; the the list rises to €39.95 for the Barolo Bricco Dei Gancia, which is a very good robust example. There is also a fine selection of ports and Italian beers if you’re not a wine drinker.
Casa Mia is a fine spot and they have gotten the balance right between light dining, guiltily gooey desserts and a more sophisticated evening offering. The Italian Quarter brings an extra dimension to the Sligo food scene, check it out on your next visit.