You'd be forgiven for thinking we'd have found every single hidden gem of a restaurant in Dublin by now.
You'd think so, considering how much we bang on about Dublin's secret treasure troves. But we think we've found the best one yet - and that's not even an exaggeration.
Tucked away by the canal in Dublin 8's quaint neighbourhood of Portobello is I Monelli, the Italian restaurant that defines the term 'hidden gem'.
You may know I Monelli already from its Rathgar location, but now she's sitting pretty at 1-2 Portobello Road. Yep, right overlooking the swans. Run, manned and managed by Italians who know their way around a kitchen, I Monelli boasts authenticity that others dream of.
Fresh fish like you wouldn't believe, cuts of meat that are as succulent as they are aesthetically pleasing, and pasta that melts in the mouth - this restaurant won't leave you quickly.
Their menu is broken down into four parts, in true Italian style; Antipasti, Paste, Secondi and Dolci.
Head chef Ivano Addabbo's incredible menu caters to every taste, preference and food type - with plenty of vegetarian options, fish caught that day, lighter options for those watching their intake and loads of meatier options.
What you wont find on the menu, however, are the specials. Which are to die for.
Combining bold flavours with soft, smooth textures - everything on offer in here if top notch and will leave you wanting more. Not for lack of portion sizes...
As you'll definitely be full after these.
Ravioli, salted cannolis, fresh scallops, beetroot dumplings, affogato, the best truffle pasta to be found in Dublin and fresh-from-the-oven bread that will make you feel sorry for coeliacs - I Monelli has it all.
Trust us: Go for the pasta, stay for Ivano's bread.
And to top it all off, being the purveyors of fine food that they are, I Monelli also stocks an impressive selection of wine, which the staff will be more than happy to allow you to sample. Everything from full-bodied reds to crisp whites to summery Rosés - you won't go thirsty in here!
But the best part of it all?
Your host, Gianni De Santis.
The warm, welcoming and unreserved head of the I Monelli ship, who's got everything firmly controlled at the helm. Gianna will chat to you like you've known him forever, deeming the whole experience cordial, companionable - and rounding everything off to an affable end.
As you can see, this place really does have it all. We're hooked.
I Monelli is located at 1-2 Portobello Road, Dublin 8 and is open from 5pm - 10pm Monday - Saturday, closed Tuesday and open 3pm - 10:30pm on Sunday.