Pacinos Italian restaurant has been in Suffolk Street since 1994. It has had several make-over’s down the years, but in the last 6 or so they went on a culinary journey, getting back to a menu heavy with authentic Italian dishes, and some crowd pleasers as well.
At one stage in the deep and distant past, before the Celtic Tiger but after the Vikings Suffolk Street was for a while the culinary capital of Dublin. An assortment of quasi American style hamburger joints and “celebrity” restaurants have come and gone since then, and maybe that’s why Pacino’s seems to be there so long, in some ways it’s retro and maybe a blast from the past, but if you bother to venture in you will find a stylish and airy, yet traditional restaurant.
The décor is simple, wooden tables and chairs, a raised dining area, and wooden floors throughout. It’s a busy and buzzy place that fills up quickly at lunchtime, attracting students from nearby Trinity College, and also appealing to the local retail and office crowd. They now have a music venue downstairs, do a mean line of cocktails and manage to keep the food just so.
We have eaten here many times and Paolo became a fan when his friend and Italian chef Luca Mazza was cooking here. Sadly they have both passed away and it is certainly with memories and nostalgia that I pop in for lunch.
We stick with the Italian favourites and a shared Italian Charcuterie board gets us off to a good start. High quality ingredients are the key here and that’s what we got, especially the cheeses which were wonderful.
Main courses consisted of two traditional favourites; Saltimbocca for me was exactly right and very good, making use of the excellent Irish-produced rose veal.
It comprised three pieces of veal, each topped with a slice of prosciutto and sage leaves, held together with a cocktail stick and sautéed with wine. If you order it in Rome, where the dish comes from, that's precisely what you'll get.
Catherine had the bean and pasta stew – pasta, fagioli and salsiccia – a peasant dish from central Italy which has been around for centuries, it is Italian comfort food at its best. We finished with two good coffees and as we were leaving I thought of absent friends and the value of traditions, especially when it comes to food.
Pacino’s is a well run restaurant serving simple, fresh food at good value for money prices. It has a welcome hint of nostalgia about it, while being very much now with their modern take on classics and emphasis on good fresh ingredients. Go along for a nice lunch, fun night out with friends, or take yourself down to the Cellar bar for a bottle of wine and some first class entertainment.