Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Monday, June 29, 2015

[Review] La Bodega, Ranelagh, Dublin 6

Some Sundays are made for roast dinners and some Sundays are made for snacking. As we strolled up Ranelagh, heading northwards, we were definitely in the mood for grazing and a cleverly positioned blackboard advertising an outdoors heated terrace at La Bodega proved the snare.

We've been to La Bodega several times and while I like the comfortably darkened interior with its mismatched seating, a summer Sunday evening felt more suitable to eating al fresco. On Sundays, live guitar music fills the dining room, gently wrapping the diners in the magic of Spain. The corridor out to the terrace passes the kitchen area but then opens up in a lovely area with raised decking, faux grass, fairy lights and lanterns. Baskets of rugs are positioned around the space so that diners can wrap themselves up when evenings get too cold. 
The outdoor heated terrace at La Bodega
The menu at La Bodega is pretty typical tapas fare and we ordered with gusto. A generous portion of Garbanzas con morcilla (chickpeas cooked with Spanish black pudding €6.50) kicked us off, quickly followed by my favourite patatas bravas (deep fried cubes of potato with spicy sauce €5.00). 

Other dishes followed in swift succession from the kitchen including pan Catalan (crunchy bread rubbed with tomato and topped with thick jamon €5.00) and another vegetarian favourite habas con jamon (pan-fried broad beans with jamon €6.00). Our little feast was rounded out by a portion of gambas al ajillo (prawns fried with garlic €7.95), with additional bread ordered from the kitchen for soaking up of the tasty juices.
Garbanzas con morcilla 
Pan Catalan
Patatas bravas
Habas con Jamón
Gambas con ajillo
It's been a long time since I was in Madrid, but when I saw the traditional dish of churros served with liquid dark chocolate, I was hooked (€6.00). Freshly fried sticks of dough, coated in granulated sugar and dipped into slightly bitter chocolate is an experience everyone should try at least once. It's a recipe for diabetic disaster, but once every so often won't hurt, right?
Churros con chocolate
It's worth mentioning that many of the tapas at La Bodega are available in two sizes, the regular size and the larger racion. I personally found the regular size to be more than enough, so I'd recommend reserving the racion portions for the hungrier days.

Any restaurant that survives for a length of time in Ranelagh is clearly doing something right. While not wildly exciting in its selection of tapas, La Bodega produces a solid, tasty selection of classic tapas, topped up with live guitar music and a comfortable interior. The new heated terrace will have the dual effect of increasing dining space while offering an attractive option for wine on a summer evening. Viva la España!

La Bodega, 93 Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Tel: +353 (0)1 497 5577
Twitter: @labodegaranelag

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Monday, June 15, 2015

[Review] Sunday Pizza and Cocktail at Osteria Lucio

A short post this week, but it's one definitely worth sharing. Every Sunday, the new(ish) Osteria Lucio offers a pizza and cocktail special for €20 and we duly visited to check it out.

Some of you may be a little confused by the transition of the former Pizza e Porchetta into the new Osteria Lucio, In short, Chef Ross Lewis, from Chapter One, has partnered with Luciano Tona to take over the restaurant and gradually transform it with their own personal definition of Italian osteria cooking. 

Eating in a restaurant located underneath a DART bridge is an interesting experience, with the occasional overhead rumble. The low arching bridge adds a slight touch of cool claustrophobia which never quite departs during the meal. This feeling wasn't helped by the fact that the restaurant was largely empty, even at 1.30 on a Sunday lunchtime. The tempting €20 pizza and cocktail offer clearly needs a bit more broadcasting. 
Interior of Osteria Lucio
On the Sunday we visited, the special pizza featured fennel salami, ricotta, dill and fennel, all partnered with a Spicy Bloody Mary cocktail. We decided to have one special pizza, which we partnered with a salami, chili and honey pizza. Once prepped and placed in the oven, the pizzas were both ready in literally a few minutes, complete with thin crispy bases. After leaving the pies for a few minutes to cool and solidify somewhat, we tucked in our napkins and pulled the slices apart. 

Both pizzas were superb - the usually strong flavours of fennel were muted just enough on the special pizza, while the addition of honey to the salami and chili pizza added a little touch of difference. The only weak point was the Spicy Bloody Mary, which to be honest, wasn't very spicy.
Spicy Bloody Mary at Osteria Lucio
Fennel salami, ricotta, dill and fennel pizza

Osteria Lucio, Malting Tower, Clanwilliam Terrace, Grand Canal Quay, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 662 4198
Twitter: @luciodublin

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

[Competition] Win two tickets to Taste of Dublin with Wines from Rioja

There's nothing better than free stuff, and thanks to Wines from Rioja, Stitch & Bear have two pairs of tickets to Taste of Dublin to give away. I'll be giving away one pair here on the blog, while the second pair will be up for grabs on my shiny new Instagram page.

Wine from Rioja is bringing its "Summer of Tapas Fantasticas" to the Taste of Dublin Festival from the 11th to 14th June. Visitors will have a chance to taste some of Rioja's best wines, alongside traditional food from the famous London jamón bodega Bar Tozino. From Spain's gastronomic heartland, Rioja wines are amongst the world's most food-friendly, and with over 600 wineries in the Rioja region, there's bound to be a wine to suit everyone. Wine experts will be on hand to offer informal masterclasses to festival goers so that they can make the most of Rioja with their favourite foods. 

In order to be in with a chance of winning one pair of tickets for a Taste of Dublin session of your choosing, simply answer the question below by leaving a comment on this blog post, or by emailing Please make sure to provide contact details, as I have to be able to reach you if you're lucky enough to win. The competition is now closed for entries.

Congrats to Daniela Simmons, who wins the pair of tickets from this blog post.

Question: What is the famous Spanish wine region that is bringing its wines to the Taste of Dublin?

Don't forget to like my new Instagram page, where I will be giving away another pair of tickets to one of my lucky followers. 
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