My favorite pizza place in Dublin–maybe my favorite pizza place ever–is Skinflint. But for a long time I’ve been hearing about Paulie’s Pizza down in D4 near the DART bridge. It is owned and run by the same people who own and run Junior’s Deli. Junior’s holds a special place in my heart after a particularly eventful experience with a breakfast sandwich three years ago. I always enjoy myself at Junior’s so I expected to enjoy myself at Paulie’s too.
Like a couple of Italian kids, Paulie’s and Juniors compliment each other without being too similar. I was surprised to discover that Paulie’s has a very sophisticated cool upstairs area complete with water buffalo head and full bar. I thought it was a one-floor smoosh fest like Junior’s. After being turned away on Friday night, I learned my lesson and made a reservation for early this week. You can only make reservations on the day from 4pm. Frantic phone answering must take place between 4 and 6 on a daily basis; I imagine it’s not far from what occurs when the opening bell rings on the New York Stock Exchange. Any place that only takes “on the day” booking and only seats about fifty people total, is going to be popular. Diners love a challenge to get a table and then feel very smug crammed in feeling like victors in box seats at the Opera.
The clientele is young and hip. Google and LinkdIn offices are just around the corner after all. The pizzas seem expensive, but sharing is a possibility. In fact, I was worried I might leave hungry if I did share, but it ended up being exactly the right decision. The crust is thin, but not Skinflint (read: paper) thin. It has bounce and chew and does form a crusty ring around the outside that holds all your toppings in place.
My pizza had pesto, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, rocket (arugula), and some parma ham. It was a special of the day. It was delicious. I was so excited I didn’t even capture it for the blog photo. Sorry. It went straight in my mouth. I had also (fearing a less than fully tummy if I shared a 12″ pizza) ordered some fried mozzarella balls for the table. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but it was a stroke of genius; just the right amount of salt and fat and tang (thanks to the spicy tomato sauce) to get our metabolisms up and running and ready for the main course.
We ordered a bottle (or two) of the house wine which was good: inoffensive if not stunning. There is a great cocktail list, and the bar did look awfully inviting. It being so early in the week, though, I stuck with the wine. There are pasta dishes on the menu (none of us partook), but oddly, no salad options. A big salad would have been welcome to those of us halving our pizzas. I must also add that two people went for their own personal pizza and only one finished.
The dining room was a lovely place to sit. It was busy but not loud. The lighting was low without being too dark. When I booked I was told they would need the table back by 9.30, but we were still chatting and finishing wine at 9.50 without being herded out. I presume that if it had been a Thurs-Sunday evening we would have been up and out by 9.30.
Paulie’s is a great choice for dining in the D4 (Ballsbridge, Sandymount, Aviva Stadium) area. I don’t know that I would choose it over Skinflint when my pizza cravings come on fast and sharp, but I will definitely go back. The cocktail list is too good to pass up.