Il Primo restaurant
16 Montague Street, City Centre South
The restaurant is located in a romantic period house, which has been converted into a lively, homely bar area and a cosy and intimate dining room, located five minutes from St. Stephen's Green. The emphasis throughout Il Primo is on providing some of the finest wines from Tuscany with a range of simple and delicious Italian dishes in the heart of Dublin.
AWARDS & PRIZES
Il Primo reviewsSubmit a review
Reviewed 15th December 2013
I ate in Il Primo for our company's Christmas Night out. I had been really looking forward to it and although the menu wasn't entirely to my taste, It was an opportunity to try some new things. For the starter I went for the Porkbelly. Which was the one thing I was sure I would enjoy. Thinking it would be something substantial and who doesn't enjoy crispy pork. What I got was 3 slices of fatty cold cut pork, similar to Denny ham. With a covered of mixed leaves. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. For my main I had the Guiney Fowl with Savoy Cabbage. Savoy cabbage was lovely. However the Guiney fowl was too dry with no real sauce accompanying it other than that of the savoy cabbage. Dessert options were very limited for me. But I decided to try the Panna cotta. It reminded me of one of those set yogurts we used to have as kids. Although I enjoyed them. Can't really complain about the service. Staff were nice and friendly if a little forgetful when bringing refills of drinks. Overall a big disappointment and one I won't be revisiting again.
Reviewed 26th September 2013
I don't know what 'prawnlover' is talking about. Surely not Il Primo? Myself and my boyfriend must go to Il Primo at least twice a week over the last two years and have NEVER come across bad service or poor food standards. Whether it's a Monday or Saturday night the service is always exceptional. Just last Saturday night I brought a table of 8 there for my friend's birthday. I was hoping that the service and quality of food wouldn't suffer due to the number of guests at the table. (More guests = more challenging for the kitchen and more difficult for the wait staff to serve.) There was no need for apprehension. The food was delicious and we wanted for nothing. The wine kept flowing and we were very happy with the food. The birthday boy was given a flaming sambuca on the house. Everyone was very impressed.
Reviewed 29th July 2013
I regularly read reviews when making a restaurant reservation but rarely post one. Il Primo deserves a 5 star review however. My boyfriend and I visited Il Primo on Saturday evening and it was a perfect dining experience. The food was creative and delicious and the service was impeccable. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening. Il Primo is a little gem and worth a return visit.
Reviewed 14th July 2013
We made our maiden visit to Il Primo on a warm Monday evening with a 6.30 reservation. We were greeted by a pleasant waiter and shown to a window seat in the upstairs dining room. We were the only diners in the restaurant at that point and were joined by one other couple half way through our meal. The tables are generously sized and well spaced to permit private conversations. We were brought some bread and delicious olive oil to whet our appetites and the a la carte and pre-theatre menus. We both opted for the latter (€23 for two courses and €26 for three) as the available choices suited our taste as well as our pockets. We were impressed at how the waiter could take both our foof and drinks order without writing anything down, but less impressed when our starters arrived before my apertif. My partner started with Buffalo mozzarella, heirloom and vine tomatoes/basil pesto, Kalamata olives which was good but spoiled by the use of tomatoes straight from the fridge, which masked their flavour heirloom or not. My starter of organic salmon and pollock fishcakes, pickled cucumber, caper and dill dressing was spot on tasty with a wonderful dressing. For starters we both opted for spaghetti dishes - courgette ribbons, peas and ricotta for her and prawns, chilli, garlic and spinach for me. Both dishes were deemed excellent - mine with a nice bit of chilli kick but not so much that it masked the other flavours. It was also evident that the pasta was home-made, a fact confirmed by the waitress. Unfortunately a side dish of wild rocket and aged parmesan salad did not arrive with the meal and only came half way through the main course when the waitress re-emerged and was reminded. We finished with a delicious affogato al caffé and chocolate cake with vanilla cream (from the a la carte menu €8). With a bottle of house Rose and one Peroni beer the total came to €100 including tip. Quite good value for some excellent food though let down by too cold tomatoes and a forgetful waiter.
Reviewed 03rd April 2013
Myself and my girlfriend ate here recently and called ahead to make sure they were still serving an early-bird, although we were going to be a few minutes late they let us have it, which was nice. The two waiters were very friendly, though they seemed stressed and at points were inattentive, for example when we arrived we were seated upstairs and after given the ala carte menu the waiter disappeared without a word. It was ten minutes before we could get his attention again to get the right menu and drinks. I had the asparagus soup which was awful, it was a light brown, had the consistency of low-fat milk and tasted like water with a handful of bullion thrown in... Regardless I was starving so I ate it. My partner had the tomato and mozzarella salad which was just a plate of mixed leaves with the odd tomato and blob of mozzarella thrown in. For mains I had the Salmon Risotto which arrived cold, again I waited a good 5 minutes before I could get the attention of a waiter who replaced it. Taste-wise it did what it said on the tin. My partner had the Oxtail Tagliatelle which was actually quite nice, then for desert we had a panna cotta - I can't remember what flavor it was supposed to be, but that didn't matter because there was literally no flavor to be found and was hard as a rock thanks to too much gelatine. I just don't understand why places put panna cotta on the menu if they're going to put too much gelatine in - it's a simple recipe, almost impossible to mess up if you use the correct measurements. All in all a thoroughly underwhelming experience, il primo in this instance lacked any apparent effort or attention to detail on the part of the staff. Big Fail !
Reviewed 14th December 2012
5 out of 5. Always. There's nowhere in Dublin like it. Tommy and Vincenzo just makes us feel so welcome every time we walk through the door. Last night we had maybe the best meal there we've ever had there. We ended up going there on a whim as usual, and when we called to make sure they could take us, we were told, the kitchen is closing in a few minutes, but sure come on we'll wait for you. THIS is the kind of attitude that only the better restaurants have. I was wondering whether Il Primo would jump on the December band wagon and hike their prices up for Christmas, (which I feel is a crude and bad practice. Sure, you might make a few extra quid from newbies walking through the door, but it will also serve to alienate the regular customers.) Although Il Primo is doing a Christmas set menu, its still great value thankfully. And anyway, didn't I say it was the best meal I had had there? My main course was amazing. I had risotto with pan seared scallops and asparagus. I always say that I have to be in the mood for risotto. Well, last night it was exactly what I wanted. The sauce was creamy and rich and laden with lovely garlic, the rice was nice and firm, and the scallops and asparagus sitting on top had a beautiful charred and glossy appearance. It was simply gorgeous. We got a little after-dinner drink on the house to say Happy Christmas and thanks for being great customers. Other restaurants could learn a thing or two from Il Primo. Didn't Paolo Tullio once write that the average lifespan of a restaurant is seven years? Il Primo have been open for twenty.
Reviewed 05th September 2012
I've walked passed this restaurant for years and always said I had to dine there, as everyone there (downstairs in the bar area anyway) always looked like they were enjoying themselves. Finally I saw the Irish Times deal and went. I was not sorry. The place was buzzing, pretty full with an excellent atmosphere. The food was superb and service very good. I had the Pan-fried marinated sirloin, wild rocket and parmesan shavings to start – delicious, and an excellent sirloin steak with blue cheese for mains and a lovely polenta torta for desert. Excellent mean and I would highly recommend this restaurant.
Reviewed 20th August 2012
Although we have been here many times in the past sitting downstairs by the bar, it was the first time that we've had a 3-course meal sitting upstairs. I ordered the rocket salad with strips of beef and parmesan shavings. It was as good as always and I also make this dish at home. My husband had bruschetta with garlic prawns which he enjoyed very much, although he didn't get much garlic. We ordered the beef pizza and haddock risotto as main courses. The pizza was nice, the haddock risotto flavoursome but the rice was far too overcooked and I also found a few bones. My lemon almond torta was the star of the night. My husband chose the cheese plate, which was fine. We enjoyed a good bottle of wine. Espresso materialised about 2 minutes after we had ordered it, thus couldn't have been freshly made hence the lack of sufficient crema. The service was friendly, but could be improved upon. For eg we had no cutlery on the table when the main courses arrived and empty plates were left on the table for a long time. Other than that it was an enjoyable evening.
Reviewed 29th July 2012
Best restaurant experience I've had in a long time! I had heard so much about il primo and finally got the chance to eat there last night. My husband and I left feeling like we were walking on air. With 3 very young children we don't get to eat out as much as we used to and as big foodies when we do get to eat out now we really want everything to be perfect - and it was! We really loved the atmosphere - ate downstairs which was very buzzy but still managed to be romantic, just what we were looking for. Head chef Anita Thoma really took care of us and really makes you feel like each and every guest is valued. The food was sublime and SO much of it - the prawns for our bruchetta starter were so plump and juicy and my main course seafood & asparagus tagliatelle and my husband's dry aged beef & blue cheese pizza was best pizza he's ever had. Thankfully my husband isn't into deserts so I had 2 - the tiramisu and a beautiful torte. Best part of the meal though was my husband's cappuccino which I also sipped - no sour taste here, just a lovely richness that lingered in our mouths for ages after we left. We'll be back!
Reviewed 09th June 2012
I couldn't recommend this place more. Myself and my boyfriend have become serious regulars recently and although the food IS excellent (glamorous Italian food served in a frill-free fashion), I think we go more for the experience than anything else. The service is outstanding. The wines are delicious. (Anything Tommy suggests is what we order). The decor is simple and sophisticated. Upstairs has a trattoria vibe, while downstairs has a bit of bustle (and you also get to see into the kitchen which I love.) Il Primo is swiftly turning into my favourite place to eat in Dublin.