Meal Ticket: Fiorentina, Dublin 2

When it’s a pre-theatre eat-and-run sort of night, you don’t want to be shelling out big bucks, so we recently found ourselves perusing the €10 menu in Fiorentina

   
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Fiorentina

  • 40 Parliament St, Dublin 2
  • 01-635 1922
  • Italian

With the Dublin Theatre Festival in full swing until mid-October, we’re still in the thick of theatre season in Dublin. We’re lucky to have so much choice, but we also need to eat.

Catherine Cleary wrote in this newspaper recently about the return of big bills on the Irish dining scene, but when it’s a pre-theatre eat-and-run sort of night, you don’t want to be shelling out big bucks. And so we recently found ourselves perusing the €10 menu in Fiorentina, a modern Italian trattoria on the corner of Dame Street and Parliament Street. The idea of a dinner for a tenner wasn’t so unusual a few years back; Green 19 on Camden Street made its name dishing out hearty mains for 10 quid. But of late it’s become a rarity, and so without realising, we wondered rather suspiciously what they could possibly feed us for €10.

The answer, as it turns out, is quite a lot. All pizzas and pastas here are €10 before 7pm (excluding gnocchi and risotto). The menu has no-frills Italian classics; six pizzas and five pastas to choose from. The décor has quite a few more frills, with grey panelled walls, “statement” partitions and lots of, shall we say, interesting, artwork. Staff are friendly and happy to oblige three women on a mission to make curtain call.

We go for a Fiorentina pizza – a huge thin-crusted disc with a smear of tomato sauce, some aged Parmesan, melted rounds of mozzarella, some rather wet spinach (which looks as if it had been frozen) and an egg cooked on top. The base is good, but the centre is soggy from the spinach. Two generous pasta dishes arrive, a traditional Bolognese made with an Irish veal ragu and handmade pappardelle. For some reason, some bagged leaves are set on top. These really don’t add anything and quickly follow the lead of the spinach and become limp. The ragu is good though, rich with a deep tomatoey base.

An All’ Amatriciana is the best of the bunch; a large tangle of bucatini – a thicker version of spaghetti with a pin-prick hollow centre. It has more bite that spaghetti and is cooked perfectly. It’s doused in a slightly tangy tomato sauce with liberal amounts of chilli and onion and hidden jewels of salty, chewy pancetta.

We order a decent 2014 Madregale Terre di Chieti, €27.50 (the last bottle in the house) and before we know it we’re back out the door with dinner and wine for under €20 a head. Fiorentina’s proximity to popular venues for gigs and plays such as Smock Alley, the Project, Button Factory and the Olympia would suggest this pre-theatre €10 deal will be popular long after the curtain falls on the theatre festival.