A local trattoria that serves great food, has a great ambience, and redefines hospitality as we know it – welcome to That’s Amore in Monkstown.
Everybody has a dream of living in a warm, friendly neighbourhood. The sort of place where people look out for each other. It should have a local market selling fresh produce and a pub that puts people and service in first place. In short it should embrace all the human contact that people crave, and that can be difficult to find in either city or country. Naturally, this idyll demands a local restaurant where they know your name, where you are welcomed, and that you are happy to return to again and again. Is that a lot to ask for? Maybe not, but it is very elusive.
Well, ‘That’s Amore’ in Monkstown is that neighbourhood bistro, or in this case, trattoria. Silvia and Marco are from a small town 30 kilometres to the south of Rome and moved to Ireland 7 years ago. About eighteen months ago they opened ‘That’s Amore‘, a small dining place on the same row of buildings that has Goggins pub at the other end.
Now, this is not a venue for the misanthrope. The tables are tightly packed, so no wide spaces to provide for an intimate tête-à-tête. It is permanently busy (don’t just breeze up looking for an impromptu lunch or dinner, book!). It is lively and quite noisy, with lots and lots of happy and satisfied customers. Much greeting and kissing and good humour. Now all this reminds me of something … I’ve got it. Italy. Italy, and most of the trattorias I have been to in that much blessed country. That’s a good starting point for any eating place, but how about the specifics.
Well, brother John and I arrived at 9 and our table was ready. To reach his seat required my dining companion to vault over the table. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, all that was needed was a bit of tweaking. There is no real problem here; rather I am trying to persuade anyone who needs a lot of bling where they dine to stay away. Please, stay away.
While we perused the menu and listened to the tempting specials, the bread arrived. Slices of pizza style flat bread, beautifully seasoned. So, we agreed what we wanted to eat and drink. The wine arrived first. A really lip-smacking Nero d’Avola from Sicily. Good start.
Then the ‘Antipasto Misto’ arrived. Prosciutto, salami, bresola, mozzarella (buffalo), aubergine, sun dried tomatoes. Italians are generous, very generous. Silvia and Marco are no exception. For a lunch, we could have settled for this alone.
John opted for penne arrabiata and was pleased, if not amazed, by the dish. I went for the four cheeses pizza. It was the largest pizza I have ever had. More than that, I think it may have been the best pizza I have ever had. Thin, superb, dough base, plenty of cheese (importantly, not too much). I am a good man at the dining table but even so, after finishing this, I did not need breakfast the following morning.
As well fed as we were, we opted out of dessert, and settled for espressos, which came with the offer of complimentary drinks, either limoncello or sambuca. We chose the former.
This wonderful place sends out a message about hospitality and generosity and great simple food. And it’s on my doorstep, lucky, lucky, me.
107, Monkstown Road
Tel: 01 284 5400