A friend emails me this morning looking for a weekend recommendation. He wants to head to a cheap and cheerful Italian place in Dublin city, but doesn’t know where to go.
He mentions Bottecelli’s in Temple Bar, Taste of Rome and Pasta Fresca on Chatham St, the Little Caesar’s empire, Milano, and Nico’s on Dame St. I’ve yet to try Milano or Nico’s but I’ve heard good things.
One of my favourite cheap Italian eats around town, however, has to be Pizza Stop. Hidden away on Chatham Lane, just off Grafton St, it has a warm, welcoming, and simple interior with red and white check tablecloths. Set up in 1982, it was one of the first pizza places in Dublin.
I tend to gravitate towards the old reliable pizzas and pastas in here, because they do them so well, but I’ve heard good reports about their other mains.
- I think their lasagana with salad (€12.50) is easily one of the best around. The pizzas (€9.50-12.50) have a delicious thin crust, a sweet tomato sauce, and quality toppings.
- Penne arrabiata (€8) is a light, cheap, and filling meal. I love this spicy blend of tomatoes and chillies.
- Pizza Stop also prepare some great salads. Like most places, they’re priced at around €8.50, which is a bit more than I’m willing to pay for some leaves and vegetables – irrespective of their overheads.
Non-fussy, simple, friendly, and attentive. I occasionally go here for lunch, or to meet up with a gang of old friends for a reunion. I’ve spent many hours here as part of big tables, and there’s always a great, relaxed atmosphere.
I’m inviting arguments here. Pizza Stop’s prices are slightly below average. You could easily have a starter, main and coffee for no more than €20. That’s about what an early bird might set you back in a similar restaurant. It’s not going to change the way you look at Italian food, but I’ve never been let down by this charming place and I’ve always come away satisfied.