L’Officina in the Kildare village provides a much needed rest from a day of shopping in what must be Ireland’s favourite outlet centre. Brought to you by the people behind Dunne and Crescenzi, L’Officina serves authentic Italian food in a casual and friendly restaurant.
L’Officina is located that the bottom of the gently sloping mall just outside Kildare Town and is a large buzzy space. Inside the décor is very contemporary, with the back wall ‘decorated’ with a horizontal display of wine bottles while the main dining area is split with a large high bar seating area in the centre, effectively dividing the room in two.
Just inside the door there is a self service area offering Panini and pizza slices, along with shelves of pestos, jars of honey, olive oils and balsamic vinegars to take home to the larder. To the right is the main restaurant area, and in addition to the printed menu, daily specials area written on blackboards.
L’Officina in Italian means workshop, a place where you improve things and the reason they chose the name was to take the elements in Dunne and Crescenzi and Bar Italia and refine them, tanking into account the sopping element in both L’Officina locations, Kildare and of course, the Mothership, Dundrum Town Centre.
It seems to have worked very well, all the usual Italian favourites are here, the menu is fairly long and offers pastas, meat and fish dishes, the aforementioned Panini as well as a selection of salads and antipasti. There is a section of typical Italian desserts, the coffee is good and the fairly priced wine list is mostly available by the glass or carafe.
In summer, there is a very nice terrace, with views over a field to an old ruined Abbey. L’Officina has developed quite a following locally, and so people who have no intention of shopping pop in for a tasty lunch or early dinner.
It is interesting to think that this group of restaurants have done so well for so long on what is a relatively simple idea – source good quality Italian ingredients, serve them as you would receive them in Italy and charge fair prices. What a pity so many ersatz Irish-Italian restaurants can’t seem to get this, and thank goodness for L’Officina.