Tag Archives: Dublin

Proper Pizza

As most of the regulars know, I have a bit of a thing for Pizza. Over the years I’ve eaten all sorts and types you can think of. A lot of my love for Pizza stems from one pizzeria that alas no longer exists but back in the late eighties it was the standard that I judged all others by and if you are of that age and ever ate in Fat Freddy’s Pizzeria in Temple Bar you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pizza Margherita
Image via Wikipedia

Since it closed down I’ve tried everything from those frozen ones in the supermarkets, through most of the American styles until I discovered Domino’s in the mid nineties and from then on whenever I thought of Pizza I would think of Domino’s.

Not because they were the best but more because they were consistent and only a phone call away almost any time of the day or night. When hunger strikes, Domino’s to the rescue.! Those guys on the mopeds were like superheroes to me.

Even at a point in my life when I was eating Domino’s 3 or 4 nights a week I knew there was better, proper pizza out there. My problem was that sometimes it would be great and others times it would be so-so and others just plain awful and all from the same restaurant. I think the reason for the difference was more to do with the delivery drivers than the chef, to be fair, but why risk it when you know exactly what you’ll get from Domino’s and you know that it will be okay every time.

Dick and Dave's Wood fired Pizza Co.
Dick and Dave's Wood fired Pizza Co.

Then a few years back, on holidays on the continent, I re-discovered proper Italian pizzas and I decided that the mediocrity of Domino’s was no longer enough for me. I still like their Pepperoni Passion, even now I’ll occasionally sneak a Domino’s order in every couple of months, but by and large I’ll eat Italian style pizzas when we’re out at an Italian restaurant and I do a pretty good Italian style pizza at home as well. I know it will never be as good as what I have eaten in Italy for a number of reasons, the principle ones being my lack of a 400+ degree stone oven and the lack of San Marzano tomatoes. But I’m happy in the knowledge that I’m as close as I can get at home.

When eating out, particularly recently, it’s become a little bit of an obsession for me, there are so many Italian restaurants in Dublin that seem to be highly regarded, so one has got to be close to if not matching a proper Italian pizza – or at the very least my teenage memory of Fat Freddy’s? right?

Well I’ve eaten a lot of pizzas recently and while La Med in temple bar had a nice sauce the bread was flat and obviously machine made, Botticelli (also in temple bar) is definitely a step up, the sauce is of a similar quality and the bread has the look of being handmade and certainly tastes superior, but it’s still a pale intimation of anything you would taste in Italy or even a reasonable Italian restaurant on the continent.

The best that I’ve had in a Dublin restaurant recently was Bar Italia on lower Ormond Quay, just across from the North end of the Millennium bridge. The evening in question we did not have a reservation and Italy were playing in the World Cup so we were grateful for the table and my pizza really surprised me by how good it was. Head and shoulders above La Med and Botticelli, but it still seemed to be lacking something and I’m at a loss to think of what it was.

Oddly the best tasting pizza I’ve had in Dublin recently did not come from a restaurant but a van, yup, Dick and Dave’s Wood-Fired Pizza Co. that I tasted at The Point Village Market when we visited a few weeks back. Both the base and the toppings were incredibly fresh and so tasty, my only criticism was the sauce, it was a little thin for my liking and this took away from the look of the pizza but still had great flavour. Was it as good as a pizza you would get in Italy, no, but it’s definitely the best that I have tasted in Dublin.

So do you have a favourite pizza place? If so tell us about it below.

A Saturday Morning in Dublin City

On Saturday, Elly and I were out of bed and on a bus into Dublin city centre before 10am – an unusual occurrence for us to be out and about that early on a weekend but we were both eager to have an early look around The Point Village Market.

Chorizo and Salami
Chorizo and Salami

We’ve visited a number of markets around the Dublin area in the last few months and been somewhat disappointed. In one case the Market was no longer in operation at the location still being advertised online. So while we were both hopeful, we also weren’t raising our expectations to much, just in case we were disappointed.

Thankfully, we weren’t. Now I know the weather was awesome last Saturday and that certainly did help to make it a wonderful day out but the market is definitely worth a visit, for a number of reasons. It’s easily accessible via the Luas (red line) which terminates right beside the market, or by a leisurely stroll down the river bank as we did.

A Selection of Cheeses
A Selection of Cheeses

The selection of stalls was very good although my initial impression was a little lack lustre as the first row we encountered seemed to be all books, bric-a-brac and jewellery stalls, not my thing really. Elly, on the other hand was in her element being the bookworm that she is :)

Thankfully just as I was starting to get bored we spotted the first food stall, selling baklava, Turkish delight and the largest muffins I’ve ever seen! We settled on purchasing some baklava for later and moved on not wanting to load ourselves up too much until we’d seen all that was available.

a wood fired Pizza Oven
a wood fired Pizza Oven

From here we turned a corner and things just got better, there were produce stalls for everything and anything – butcher, bakers, yes even a candlestick maker! What really amazed me was the selection of produce available: fruit and veg, cheese, fish, organic lamb, bread, jam, chutney, olive oil, oysters, chorizo and salami – even Indian ghee was available.

Most seemed to be artisan and/or organic produce and everyone was very friendly and wanted to tell us about their produce and was more than happy to talk at length about them; but this didn’t come across as some sort of pushy sales technique.

Dick and Dave's Wood fired Pizza Co.
Dick and Dave's Wood fired Pizza Co.

There were also a large selection of food stalls and I was happy to see that this didn’t mean a chip van or two. Instead there was genuine choice: Hot dogs, organic meat pies, oysters and wine, taco’s, pizza (from a wood fired oven) and a fish and chip van that we’re not sure even had chips, but they did have chowder, calamari and scallops on the menu.

By now it was heading for midday and we were starting to get a little hungry, so after some discussion we decided that we would share a pizza between us, partly cause they looked really good but also because they were using a sour dough bread for the base, cooking it in a wood fired oven and using some really great looking ingredients and I’m happy to report that the pizza was fantastic. A great lunch to set us up for the rest of our day.

Murphys Ice cream in Temple Bar
Murphys Ice cream in Temple Bar

After we ate, Elly loaded me up like a pack mule with all our purchases (thankfully we had brought a small rucksack) before we headed back towards the city centre and paid a visit to an asian supermarket (oh the spices, but more on that another day), some other shopping and the last stop of our Saturday morning experience, a visit to the new Murphy’s Ice cream store in Temple Bar where we spotted and said hello to Kieran, Thea and the rest of the team as they were busy setting up the store and scooping ice cream to an appreciative crowd in Temple Bar.

As we sat down on the kerb in the blazing afternoon sun to enjoy our ice cream, a busker finished his break, strummed a few chords on his guitar and sang the opening line “Here comes the sun”, some soap bubbles appeared on the breeze, the sun seemed to shine a little brighter, even the pigeons were smiling 😉 and in a flash I remembered that while it has it’s faults you can’t beat Dublin in a June heatwave :)