Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pristine Cuisine at La Cucina

On Friday last, myself & The Hubs set off down the M7 for a weekend break in Limerick.  The eating plan for the weekend was pretty much mapped out - so many places to eat, so little time!  Our Friday night dinner was to be at Bridgestone listed and Best Casual Restaurant winner, La Cucina in Castletroy.  Run by dream team Lorraine (@italianfoodie) and Bruno (@mritalianfoodie), this small but perfectly formed Italian restaurant draws customers from all over Limerick.  Our taxi driver told us that "the queues are out the door but the pizzas are fantastic". Now that's a recommendation!

The Bridgestone Guide loves La Cucina too

As we pulled up outside, the queue was indeed out the door and people were leaving with giant pizza boxes and brown bags of food for a relaxed Friday night dinner at home.  Inside, it was buzzing.  Lorraine and her team were flying around behind the counter, the phone was ringing for takeaway orders and the chefs were throwing pizza dough around in the kitchen behind. We managed to grab a table in the corner, take a seat and just watch what was happening while we waited for our friends Cat & Shane to join us.  Residents of Castletroy, they are apparently more than familiar with the pizza at La Cucina, the lucky sods.

 Antipasto & Broooshedda

The Specials

It took us ages to decide what we were going to eat and we decided to try as much as possible because we were both starving (having an early lunch always helps this process!).  I had the Bruschetta al Pomodoro while The Hubs ordered the Antipasto Misto to start.  We had to share them between us because they were delicious.  My bruschetta was full of ripe cherry tomatoes, enough garlic to chase off a horde of vampires and plenty of olive oil to moisten the bread.  Hubs' Antipasto was a wooden platter with grilled bread, variousl salamis, cheese, grilled aubergine and olives.  The platters went back to the kitchen in spotless condition, then a sampler of the special bruschetta arrived "just for a taste, like". This time it was Fagioli and Funghi.  The four of us descended on the platter which was cleared in an instant.

Penne Vodka & Pizza Pollo e Pancetta 

Being gluttons, we both ordered main courses - mine was Penne Vodka (how could I resist after Donal Skehan making it in Kitchen Hero) and Hubs had Pizza Pollo e Pancetta.  I can see why people queue for the pizzas in La Cucina, they are excellent - crisp crust, not soggy underneath and not overloaded with toppings.  I kept stealing his crusts while his back was turned as the vodka sauce made a most excellent dip.  The Penne Vodka was the most beautiful shade of flamingo pink and completely different to how I make mine, which is hardly surprising seeing as I'm not Eeeetalian and tend to add a few bits here and there.  I absolutely loved it.  Oh, did I mention the wine?  I'm a vino bianco drinker so I had a glass (or two) of the Sauvignon Blanc and the Falanghina, both of which were crisp and dry and a perfect match for my meal.

I also got a chance to taste Bruno's Arancini.  He's currently embroiled in a Twitter War #ballswars with Pat from The Loft in Arklow as to who makes the best balls. Paolo Tullio recently praised Pat's balls and Bruno was very unimpressed.  I shall judge both and declare a winner very soon.  Bribes may be accepted, cash only, no cheques.

To sum up, La Cucina is the restaurant I wish was close to my house.  It's buzzy, it's incredibly busy and it serves fantastic food to very appreciative customers. Limerick, you are a very lucky city indeed.

The Menu of Deliciousness

 Where the magic happens...


  1. I really need to get myself along to La Cucina. Lovely to see they are doing it just like in Italy. Crispy thin base, and lot of great ingredients on top. My Bucket list includes this fab restaurant. Real Italian Pizza in Ireland, how fabulous is that, as Ina, would say ;)

  2. Sounds great and the pizza looks yummy - will keep la cucina in the back of mind for the next time I'm in limerick. Pics making me hungry and it's only breakfast time...

  3. My parents live close by it's their top favourite treat - must get them to take me next time I'm down!

  4. Love vodka penne. This all sounds delicious. And as for the #ballswars... I'm in!