Gusto is on Parkgate Street, just down from the law courts, and just up from the bridge at Hueston Station. Owners Ive and Gianfranco are committed to serving authentic Italian food, and we have been fans since they were in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre.
A few years back I finally ventured up the stairs to the top of the Powerscourt Townhouse, and found Terrazza Italia, Ive and Gianfranco’s little trattoria in the city. I liked it and lot and thought Paolo would too, so I brought him back, and here’s what he wrote then;
“Our starters arrived – for Gerard a board on which was arrayed spicy salami, Neapolitan salami, coppa, prosciutto, quadrants of cheese, quince jelly, olives and bread – enough to spoil even a trencherman's appetite.
Mine was a little daintier and was served in a white bowl – half-a-dozen well-made meatballs in a very good tomato sauce topped with grated mozzarella. For a simple dish, meatballs can often go wrong, whether they're Italian polpette or Spanish albondigas. The trick is getting the consistency right, so they're neither so finely minced as to be dense, nor so roughly minced that they're crumbly. Like Goldilocks' porridge, the ones I got were just right.
Our pasta dishes arrived next, the classic carbonara for Gerard and the lasagna for me. Not only was my dish just right, but so was the carbonara. If you make the dish properly it comes out creamy, even though no cream is used, which is why I get so niggly when it's made with lashings of cream. And a good lasagne won't be thick and stodgy if it's been made properly by cooking the lasagne sheets before assembling. It should be light and floppy on the plate, like the one I got here.
We couldn't resist desserts. Gerard ordered a tiramisu and I ordered a chocolate fondant. The tiramisu came in a glass, a presentation I'm seeing more and more often, although I'd still prefer the old-fashioned presentation with no glass. The fondant, however, was classically presented and must have been timed to the second, cooked outside, but gloriously runny and unctuous inside.”
Fast forward and they are now in Gusto, serving the same great food through the day, and now with the added bonus of dinner. The dinner menu is a treat of authentic Italian fare offers great value for money, with main courses barely breaking the €20 mark. There is an early bird menu available which offers 2 courses for €16.90, which for food of this quality is just insane.
Go the whole hog and treat yourself to the tasting menu, eat like an Italian prince or princessa and find out why Paolo was so taken with the food. It really doesn’t get much better than this for Italian food in Dublin city.