8 South Anne Street
Phone: 01 679 5266
Gotham, busy, unpretentious, NYC-inspired restaurant opened way back in 1993 just off Grafton Street and it’s as constant as the northern star.
Sriracha prawns on grilled flatbread with pomegranate, mint and cucumber salsa, salad, garlic mayo and lime. In a way that’s all you need to know. I love the way this restaurant thinks. But, of course, that’s only part of the story of a pioneering restaurant that brought a new style to Dublin and which continues to plough its very particular furrow with confidence and the kind of laid back style that requires huge attention to detail.
Chuffed as I am that Gotham’s website leads with a quote from me writing in The Irish Times Restaurant Guide 2009, this is not the reason that I love it. I love it because it has been part of my life, and of our family life, for so long. Well, since it opened over two decades ago.
I love it for its uncompromising approach to making pizzas, for the fact that it was serving guacamole before most people in Dublin could define the word, let alone pronounce it, for bringing informality and quality to Dublin when such a combination was pretty much unheard of, and for being a refuge in the heart of the city’s busiest shopping area.
Some of Dublin’s best pizzas emerge from the Woodstone oven and founder David Barry (who runs it with his partner Jackie Keating) was brave enough, when he started the Independent Pizza Company back in 1984, to use the simplest and the best formula: flour, water, yeast, salt and a touch of sugar. This is American style pizza, thin and crisp thanks to the intense bottom heat of the Woodstone oven. In other words, the way I like it.
It’s a properly unfussy place in that you feel comfortable eating with elbows on the table and with infants in buggies and students smooching in the corner. But there is an admirable fussiness, nay obsessional attention to detail, about sourcing ingredients. And that includes the wine selection, always short and concise, always ticking all the boxes, offering decent value and being a bit out of the normal run. Otherwise it would be inconsistent with the rest of the place.
I mean this is the place that invented the Chinatown pizza, where hoisin takes the place of tomato on which crispy duck, scallions and cashew nuts are laid, topped with mozzarella. My old friend, the late Paolo Tullio, would be shocked but I love it. All the pizzas are named after parts of New York, by the way.
There is more to Gotham than pizza, of course. Besides juicy, well dressed burgers there are spicy crab cakes and salad, a punchy penne dish and much more.
The walls are covered with old covers from Rolling Stone, exceptionally nostalgic for people d’un certain age and, no doubt, a bit of a mystery to the younger folk who flock here. Gotham is splendidly democratic, welcoming and just very good at what it sets out to do.
I can’t imagine it’s on the shortlist for a Michelin bib gourmand and I mean that as a considerable compliment!