Il Vicolo restaurant and wine bar has recently moved to new premisies on Bridge Street in Galway City.
Il Vicolo is owned and run by Aoife Flaherty and Gerry McMahon, whose brother JP is the man behind Cava, the Michelin Star winning Aniar and Massimo, so good food runs in the family. Il Vicolo started as a purely daytime café, but the expansion into evening trade means Galway has added another unique little premises to its burgeoning foodie scene.
We visited for dinner after an arduous day on the beach in Spiddal, where the water temperature was similar to the Mediterranean, and the sun beat down on us like it had got lost from its usual path many miles from Ireland.
The standard menu features bruschetta, some Carpaccio and a selection of salads, but specials are the way to go of an evening.
We loved the Carpaccio of celeriac with air dried lamb, drizzled with a house dressing; it was fresh and delicious, and a family recipe from the chef. A bruschetta with a bean puree was an interesting take on this staple, and some tasting and sharing meant we both got to try the contrasting flavours and textures.
Main courses offered two vegetarian options, grilled seabass on a bed of kale, and seared steak with potatoes. Deirdre chose the Zucchini Ripiene; baked courgettes filled with almonds, scamorza and Parmigiana, with a pesto cream and fresh leaves. This packed some flavour punch, and was both filing and light at the same time, however contradictory that may sound.
I went the way of the carnivore, and had the salt seared rib steak with a twist of lemon, served on baby carrots and asparagus, with little round potato disks with a dusting of paprika. The steak was perfectly cooked, and locally sourced, and after the fresh starter was a perfect size.
We managed a shared elder flower panna cotta and Dee enjoyed a couple of glasses of Gavi di Gavi, while I stuck with some sparkling water, since I had the drive to Dublin ahead. The laneway was hopping at this point, with service and friendliness in spades.
We would have loved to settle back with a bottle and chill out, but at least now we have an excuse to go back again soon, as if one was needed. Great little spot for a casual evening with friends, and if the sun favours you, it’s really hard to beat.