People often overlook the restaurants we have on offer in Wicklow Town, heading further afield to the likes of Bray and Dublin. Well, this restaurant is one absolute gem that you’re overlooking.
After having many a delightful meal from La Locandina, I sat down with the owners Alberto and Simona Vecoli, to learn more about their story and journey so far with their restaurant.
Situated on the Main Street, La Locandina is a curious little restaurant that opened just a year ago – they celebrate their one year anniversary this Wednesday (June 20th). The restaurant’s name translates to ‘Small Tavern’ in English, and that’s exactly the vibe you’ll get from this authentic Italian experience.
Owned by husband and wife Alberto and Simona, La Locandina brings delightful Italian cuisine, atmosphere and culture right here to Wicklow. The couple have lived in Wicklow Town for six years, so they’re no stranger to the area; but if you haven’t met them yet, one thing they’ve never lost is that special charm so often associated with Italy.
Alberto has worked as a chef since he was a teenager in Italy and he’s been head chef in top Italian restaurants in Dublin since they moved to Ireland 12 years ago, but they’ve always wanted to open their own place: “For years we wanted to set up our own restaurant, but could never find the right property, but when this little property right here in Wicklow Town popped up, it was exactly what we were looking for.”
Step inside La Locandina, and you’ll be met straight away with that welcoming charm I mentioned; Simona and Wicklow native Sean handle the front of house, and will make you feel right at home whether you’re eating in or taking out.
Simona, who comes from a Montessori teaching background, has this certain kindness that would almost make you think you’re in Italy; each evening Simona and Sean handle phone orders, waiting tables, looking after customers and even chimes in on food deliveries — a mammoth list of tasks for them to balance, yet they make it look easy.
Meanwhile in the kitchen, Chef Alberto and local upcoming chef Ian prepare some of the most authentic Italian food you’ll ever taste – almost all their ingredients come directly from Italy, from their cheeses to their meats.
Simona told me of the dedication her husband has to his craft: “Alberto is so passionate about the food, he constantly makes sure it is of top standard; he stays up until 1am most nights, delicately preparing the pizza dough for the next day.”
“We only use fresh ingredients that come in every day from local Wicklow suppliers,” she added.
If you want to taste an authentic Italian pizza and not the fast food version that’s become so common in Ireland, then this is the place to go. Their tomato base is made fresh in-house and a plethora of toppings from Italy and Ireland are available to create your ideal pizza.
Their most popular dish besides the pizza is their Spaghetti Carbonara, which Alberto says will “invade all your senses to give a satisfying feeling”. Fresh dry spaghetti served with Italian pancetta, the dish is spiced with black pepper and topped off with a mixture of pecorino and Grana Padano cheese.
On the menu there’s a variety of Italian wines on offer but you can also bring your own for a €2.50 corkage fee; while with beer and spirits you can bring them for free. It’s an ideal location to head for a meal on the weekend, enjoy delicious food and a few drinks, then head on to the pub afterwards.
The restaurant’s clean and cosy atmosphere almost visually transports you to Italy. Recently they’ve expanded their seating upstairs to fit up to 34 guests, making it ideal for many occasions from cosy family meals or dinner dates, to larger groups functions.
Last month Simona and the team catered for a 60 person wedding reception meal, which they were so happy to be able to cater for: “We brought them on a journey of beautiful true Italian cuisine and how Italians celebrate, while they showed us how to party Irish style! The entire group were an absolute delight to serve, and they seemed pleased too; we’ll always remember this moment.”
To mark La Locandina’s one year anniversary, all food will be 50% off for those dining in this Wednesday (June 20th). It’s the perfect reason to call in and meet the lovely team whether or not its your first time!
Why not call them on (0404) 53905 to book a table for this Wednesday and celebrate their one year anniversary, or book in for a evening meal to kick off your weekend. You can also head over to http://lalocandina.ie/ to see their menu or place an order online. (Restuarant opens from 4-11pm)
Simona and Alberto would like to give a huge thanks to all their customers, friends and local suppliers (Kelly’s Fruit & Veg and all of Wicklow Town’s Butchers). They would like to extend a special thanks to the following people: Stefano, Serena, William and Tara.