- a blog about food and value

Review: Il Valentino, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin

il-valentino-logoOne of my favourite places to eat lunch around Grand Canal Dock, where I am currently doomed to work, is Il Valentino “Bakery-Café” on the corner of Pearse Street and Charlotte Quay. It’s not for everyone, because you’re not going to get a dinnery lunch and there aren’t that many tables, but it’s as fine an authentic and tasty Italian sandwich place as you’re going to find in Dublin, if not Europe. Leaving aside Italy which, naturally, has that kind of thing wrapped up. Also they make a fine cup of coffee, which is a rare and a beautiful boast.

As for the kinds of sandwich, they are mostly quite cheesy, so it says something about how much I like the place that I am fashionably lactose-intolerant and can only actually eat a couple of their sandwiches but still fairly regularly turn up. The thing is, for about a fiver, you can have, for example, a really lovely and mayonnaisey roast chicken on focaccia, one which is crumbly and olive oily and delicious and from which the cheese is easily removable, or a spicy salami sandwich with whole olives embedded in the bread. To name but two. Other creations feature mozzarella, pecorino and/or smoked ham and are apparently very nice indeed. Or there are beautiful-looking (and from I’m told -tasting) mini pizzas.

il-valentino-breadIf one feels so inclined, there are also lovely desserts. For those of us who are dairy-product impaired, there are some ricciarelli (marzipan) biscuits and, for others, soft ricotta biscuits with chocolate chips. According to the website, these are both €10 for 10 to takeaway, which I wish I didn’t know because now I will be bringing them home in great quantities and shortly thereafter I will be buying clothes in a larger size. Otherwise, there are pretty cakes, none of which are expensive.

All in all, for about €8, you can have your sandwich, a soft biscuit and a coffee and that is more than good value for this newish and underserved part of town, certainly if you are inclined to eat in. To my limited and vague knowledge, the only place cheaper is my staff canteen, offerings from which regularly frighten all who frequent it.

It would be wrong to ignore the service in Il Valentino, which is always noticeably as top-notch as the food. The guy who makes the sandwiches at lunchtime and is never put out by my badly-timed demands particularly deserves a mention. When it comes to this place, everyone should tip more.


  1. went here once for lunch and loved it … must go again now that the weather is conducive to a little walk at lunchtime .. yum yum

  2. Possibly the best coffee in Dublin. If not the best, then it’s in my top 3.

  3. Mmm yes, very good coffee…to my mind just pipped at the post by Coffee Angel on the Sean O’Casey bridge

  4. My other two contenders would be the Italian crowd in the Food Emporium on Abbey Street, and Cafe Calgiostro in the Italian Quarter.

  5. just had a delicious sandwich from here … yum yum. Thanks for reminding me about this place!