After a long week, there’s nothing like the feeling of settling in at a cosy table for a delicious meal with someone you love. It can relax you. It can change your perspective. And it can reconnect you to the person you love. Talking over the glow of a candle at your favourite restaurant – while you let someone else handle the cooking – sets the stage for a perfect date night.
For most of us, these special nights are a rare, but very special, occasion. A lot of thought goes into choosing a restaurant that brings three magical elements together: amazing food, thoughtful service, and an atmosphere that brings you closer to your better half. It’s not easy to find the winning combination, but Ranelagh is a good place to start looking.
As Ranelagh continues to grow and attract a diverse population to its southern bounds, a handful of restaurants continue to impress with their cosy locations and stellar menus. And though there are many restaurants that are worthy of mention, we have a particular fondness for Italian food when it comes to impressing our better half and having a memorable and relaxing night out.
While there are many places to get Italian food in Ranelagh and surrounding areas, we’re particularly fond of a few that consistently deliver a beautiful meal and experience. Here we outline three choices for that special, romantic dinner out that you won’t forget.
Tucked away in a corner of Ranelagh is Antica Venezia, a beautiful restaurant that prides itself on authentic Italian cuisine. With an extensive wine list and an impressive menu, it might seem hard to choose a dish. We recommend sampling a few to get the best flavour for the restaurant’s specialties.
You can’t go wrong with the homemade pastas (try the Panzarotti Porcini) or any of the restaurant’s signature pizzas. Antica Venezia consistently gets high marks for their service and overall attention to detail, so you can rest assured you’ll be well taken care of during your meal. Don’t overlook the dessert menu as you wrap up your evening – you won’t regret it.
Antica Venezia: 97 Ashfield Rd
Just off the green line Luas, there’s an Italian bistro that’s easy to pass by if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But once inside, the exposed brick walls, free-flowing wine and fresh Italian fare will have you taking another look.
Pinocchio is known for its perfectly cooked pasta, but the the menu features many other items to satisfy every taste. The atmosphere is relaxed and the servers are attentive and welcoming, making for a delightful experience for any occasion.
If you’re interested in trying your hand at making your own pastas and pizzas, Pinocchio’s parent company also offers a cooking school – which would be another great date night activity!
Pinocchio: Luas Kiosk
Last on our list is the always incredibly impressive Manifesto – a favourite among locals, tourists, and just about anyone who has been lucky enough to have a meal prepared by the very talented Manifesto chefs.
The pastas are not to be missed – especially the hand-stuffed raviolis. But even more impressive are the pizzas. Take note of the creative toppings: crushed tomato and lightly dressed rocket, feta and pesto. Overall the refreshing, bright dishes paired with the cosy, warm atmosphere come together to form a perfect setting and experience for a memorable date.
Because it’s a small restaurant and has generated substantial buzz for its pizzas, tables can be tricky to land if you don’t book ahead. Believe us when we say: it’s worth the extra effort.
Manifesto: 208 Lower Rathmines Road