The restaurant is located in a romantic period house, which has been converted into a lively, homely bar area and a cosy and intimate dining room, located five minutes from St. Stephen's Green. The emphasis throughout Il Primo is on providing some of the finest wines from Tuscany with a range of simple and delicious Italian dishes in the heart of Dublin.
In the last few years it has had a re-birth in the hands of John Farrell and Anita Thoma. Both have worked in Il Primo for many years and have brought a new lease of life since taking over. John and Anita have introduced some exciting new wines and recipes from recent trips to Italy.
The wines are John's special passion and his interest in Italian wine can be seen in the eclectic wine list. While John runs the front of house, Anita attends to the kitchen. Her approach to food is plain and simple. The emphasis in the kitchen is on well-sourced ingredients, cooked with as little interference as possible. Handmade pastas and a great selection of risottos form the core of a menu that also includes a daily-changing range of house specials.
On a recent lunch mission there, the place is as busy as ever and this day was no different. The good news is they are used to it, and the service is always brisk, while stil being friendly. On this day, dining alone, I had the homemade pappardelle with smoked haddock in a creamy sauce as a starter, and went for the slow braised shank of lamb for the main course. The homemade pappardelle was perfectly cooked and the haddock in cream sauce a delightful combination. A simple well prepared starter and things were off to a good start. The lamb shank was slow cooked, falling off the bone, and it came on a bed of roasted vegetables, well flavoured from the meat juices. Both dishes were excellent, and I am intending to go back for dinner at the earliest opportunity.
Il Primo is a successful, busy restaurant for all the right reasons. If you haven't already been there, try it soon.