If you have visited South William Street (now dubbed Dublin’s Creative Quarter) you’ve probably laid eyes on Zaragoza; a sizeable tapas restaurant with maroon signing encouraging you to ‘Explore, Eat, Enjoy.’ The restaurant’s distinctive lampshades cast a warm glow that is easily spotted among the hustle and bustle of the city’s trendiest street.
Open only a year this coming September, Zaragoza has shaken up the Dublin tapas scene. It’s always buzzing, especially on the weekends, so booking a table is advised! The restaurant is bright, modern and stylish; overall, a very pleasant place to dine. Time spent here is relaxing from the moment you enter until the moment you leave.
Our window seat provided us with a full view of the restaurant while allowing us to take part in a little people watching out on the street.
The menu is clear, and well presented with cute little icons for all the varieties of tapas. Tapas at Zaragoza are more like raciones, which are larger sharing portions in Spain. The restaurant recommends two dishes per person, which is plenty; and a great idea if you want to try a bit of everything.
The wine menu is extensive, well presented and we ordered a bottle of Celeste. I was very happy to see Ribera del Duero on the menu, my favourite variety of Spanish wine. For those who are unsure of their choice, the knowledgable staff are delighted to offer suggestions.
And nothing better accompanies a great wine than a delicious meat dish!
The striploin was cooked to perfection – the meat was melt in the mouth and juicy. It was served with just the right amount of chunky chips (always better than skinny!) which were lightly crispy with a fluffy centre, as chips should be.
The pork fillet was incredible. I sometimes find that pork can be a little dry, but this again was cooked perfectly. The portion was generous with three fist sized fillets. It was lightly seasoned; only enhanced by a delicious creamy sauce of morel mushrooms and a thin cheese crisp, which I think was parmesan – it had a lovely texture and sharp taste.
In general I tend to avoid chicken wings, but when these arrived at the table, they looked so delicious I had to try them. The glaze and texture were absolutely delicious; the wings were spicy with a hint of honey and the blue cheese dip was subtle without being overpowering. They are the best I’ve ever tried and I’ll be bringing my sister in to taste them. She’s a connoisseur of chicken wings and I have every confidence they’ll become a firm favourite. The wings came with hand wipes, always important!
The salad was crisp and beautifully presented, with very fresh and plump cherry and heirloom tomatoes, striped cucumber, ribbons of red onion and boiled quail eggs, a very Spanish touch.
We took a break between courses and I seized the opportunity to photograph the restaurant’s fully stocked and elegant bar where many a cocktail is ordered.
All the kitchen activity can be seen through a glass wall. Always a good indication that restaurant is serving high quality, well prepared food in a hygienic environment.
Next came the scallops. Nicely presented on a bed of Iberian ham and caramelised onions. The scallops were cooked to perfection, which I expected after the calibre of the preceding dishes. The Iberian ham took me right back to my year living in Salamanca.
The most interesting dish of the night was the medjool dates stuffed with crispy raclette cheese and walnuts, wrapped in bacon. The flavours were striking and lingered on the tongue.
No dish was better than the other – the food here is incredibly flavoursome, of high quality and the cooking is first rate.
It was time for dessert. Even though I have tried Zaragoza Dublin’s crema catalana before on the Campo Viejo tapas trail, I had to have it again!
The chocolate fondant was rich, delicious and the caramel ice cream was perfect. The consistency of quality of the dishes from savoury to sweet doesn’t falter.
Our servers, Segio and Esther, were professional and friendly. It’s clear the team at Zaragoza have become like a family and love what they do.
What I’m most excited about is that I know I can bring anyone here. The restaurant is accessible; perfect for a pre-night out dinner with the girls, a family event, a lunch meeting, a date… There’s also a conservatory area toward the back of the restaurant for more intimate gatherings.
To find out more about Zaragoza, click here to visit the website.
Click here to view the tapas menu.
South William Street, Dublin 2
+353 (0) 1 6794020
Monday – Sunday: 12 noon – Midnight