L’Arco has been open since mid 2009 and is located in Ballyvaughan. It is on the left hand side just before the famous ‘T’ junction with all the road signs, left will bring you to Ailwee Cave and right to Fanore. It is built on the site of an old Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks and the beautiful stone entrance and courtyard are part of the original building. The restaurant is quite large and the most striking aspects for me were the fact that it was really warm on a very cold Sunday evening and that the tables are large and very well spaced apart. The atmosphere is friendly and the staff professional and attentive.
The menu is 100 per cent Italian and primarily pasta dishes, pizzas, and some very good special offers. The current deal for the months of February and March offers starters, main course, dessert, coffee, and a bottle of wine for an incredible €50 for two people and the really good part is that there are no restrictions in terms of what day or time the offer is available.
I was starving so we ordered the plate of antipasto misto all’ Italiana which fed all three of us. It comprised a beautifully presented platter with salami, mortadella, gorgeous bresola, prosciutto cotto, prosciutto Parma, artichoke heart, rocket, sundried tomatoes, black olives and a selection of brigante, regno sardo and parmesan cheeses. The price was €16.50 but as I say it fed three of us. I also decided to try the marinated salmon as the description looked very inviting. It comprised Burren Smoke House salmon marinated in lemon and orange juice plus some secret ingredients. The serving size was big and the cost €9. As for the taste – fantastic, it will be my choice of starter when I return.There was also home made soup, crostini, caprese plus others to choose from.
For mains, I choose ravioli ricotta e spinaci al burro e salvia €13.50. The raviolis were large and the spinach and sage stuffing was perfect, another hit. My companions chose the pasta special of the day from the blackboard, it was spaghetti serintino, a ham and courgette based dish but the stunning part for me was the pasta itself, it was cooked to perfection and what a taste. It had great depth of flavour for a seemingly simple dish, cost €12. My junior companion had the prosciutto and funghi pizza €11, first of all the size caused an intake of breath; it was certainly big enough for two 10-year-olds. I do not get overly excited about pizzas but his one did the trick for me so much so that I had two slices of it the next day for lunch.
As for the wines, well there is a selection of house wines from €17.50 per bottle and €5 per glass plus seven reds and seven whites ranging from €19 to €49 for a top class Amarone. I asked David our host and restaurant manager or for a recommendation and on his word we had an extremely unusual wine called Campa Della Fojado which is a blend of Riesling, renano and Italian grapes. Very complex and a super accompaniment for the different foods we had. As we were obviously enjoying the food David asked if we would like to meet the chefs who are 26-year-old twins from Italy, Matteo and Gianmaria. They are bursting with enthusiasm and talk about the recipes that their mother handed down to them. One recipe in particular was for the chocolate cake and it will also be my choice when I make a return visit.
During February and March they are open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 5.30pm to 9.30 for last orders, probably the same hours in April and then open seven days a week after that so call ahead if heading that way so as not to be disappointed. If you are wondering how far it is to Ballyvaughan?, from Kilcolgan it is 20 miles and takes 30 minutes. For reservations call 065 7083900, and if it is your first visit tell them I sent you and there will be a complimentary glass of Prosecco.
As always, I welcome your comments,
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