If you’re planning a trip to Sligo and wondering where to dine by night, I’d recommend Bistro Bianconi, or The Bistro as it’s more commonly known among the regulars that flock there by the dozens. Here’s what it looks like. It is one impressive building.
It’s located in The Italian Quarter in the heart of Sligo town, which boasts a selection of fine eateries and French bakery Le Fournil (try Clo’s donuts on a Friday, endearingly coined Clonuts. Also available at Kate’s Kitchen). This quarter is also home to Rachel Murray Eyecare for my fellow bespectacled readers. She provides fashion forward four eyes with the latest in designer eyewear. Keep an eye (or four) out for her eyestyle events.
This is the restaurant my family and group of friends always goes to. We barely give other restaurants a second thought… not that we’re not open to change, it’s just that with The Bistro, you’re always guaranteed a great bite. It’s consistently good. I love the lighting and the atmosphere, not to mention the grub. For me, their unique selling point is the atmosphere. It’s something you rarely get at other restaurants: eruptions of laughter (although it’s spacious enough that it’s not invasive) and the traditional singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ by everyone in the audience as your waiter arrives with a candle in your dessert.
Over Christmas a gang of us ladies met up for dinner and drinks. We entered a draw – they were giving away a voucher every night over the festive period and I was delighted to win. Always enter competitions. If you’re not in it, you can’t win it! So, this helped along the way when a gang of 8 of us (couples retreat!) met up recently for an Early Bird. This is an option every day until 7pm. The Bistro really does cater for every budget. For 2 courses it costs €16.95 (3 courses = €19.95).
My personal favourite starters is their garlic bread and bruschetta (cheese on top is good too… but I always avoid the cheese when I’m getting a takeaway as it gets a bit rubbery… so stick to the plain… extra buttery greatness).
Can we just take a moment to agree: BRUSCHETTA is pronounced: ‘Brus K ta’.
It’s not ‘Bru SCH ta’. Apologies, but I like languages and it’s a bit annoying when you’re wrongly corrected every time you say it correctly and you then start to question yourself.
Language lesson finito.
Although I like to get adventurous with food, it’s more a case of ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ when I go to The Bistro. It’s the Mexicano pizza every time, with that signature dollop of sour cream on top. The Michelangelo is another popular choice among our circles.
The trio of the desserts is nothing special but The B.C.C.C. and Mont Blanc are my all time favourites from the main menu. I usually ask for a combination of both… and extra hot chocolate sauce. I love their coffee too. It’s Segafredo and I like how this is exclusive to The Italian Quarter (The Bistro and A Casa Mia).
The long standing waiting staff is a sure sign that they’re happy in their workplace and damn great at their job. Front of house, Michelle, is an asset. Full of friendly chat and banter, we always love to be greeted by her. I don’t know if the place would be quite the same without her.
Many thought that it wouldn’t work: moving from their prime location on O’Connell Street. But this reliable cocktail of great staff and top food has proven us all wrong.
Open every day from 5pm, follow updates on Facebook.
Did you know? if you’re working late midweek and too late for The Bistro, Rugantino around the corner take orders up until 10pm (or just after). This is a lifesaver. It’s an Italian restaurant, run by Italians. It’s also a great shout for pizzas.