Luna 1
Reviews Italian

This Restaurant Makes You Feel Naughty, Excited And Cherished All At The Same Time

There's no better spot for a special night out

Whenever a new restaurant opens there's always a stampede of critics beating down the doors to get in and tell the world about it first. 

People love hearing about the latest hot spot, but that's often unfair on the fledging restaurant trying to find their feet.

So when it came to reviewing Luna I wanted to give it time to breathe like a good wine. It was always going to be hyped and positioned as one of the best restaurants in town, but I'd rather make that call after six months than on the opening night. 

Luna is part of a stable of wonderful restaurants including 777, The Butcher Grill and Dillinger's. I'm often accused of biased towards them or even accepting money to write positive reviews, but the simple fact of the matter is that the owners are true foodie visionaries who've dragged the overall culinary landscape to another level. Both through their own venues and by inspiring others. 

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Stepping into Luna is like walking onto a movie set. Pulling the curtains back on the room feels as close as you jumped into a time machine and entered a New York restaurant in the '60s. 

Most waiting staff nowadays show their tattoos, wear T-shirts and come with a side of millennial attitude, but the service in here is refreshing. Waiters all wear a tux and whisk you to tables and carry plates as if floating on air. 

A world-class dining experience should make the customer lose their breath, look around the room and marvel at the small touches and feel a sense of excitement like you do at the movies or an international concert. All of that comes in abundance here.

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One thing you'll certainly notice on the way in is the slicing machine where a skilled operator cuts salumi. I'd hazard a guess that machine cost at least €10,000, if not more. It looks like a Rolls Royce perched on a bench slicing through hunches of pig, making wafer-thin slices. 

You can't ignore the salumi plate as a starter and the meats were indeed spectacular. It was, however, the burrata that came with them that stole the show – it was easily the best I've ever had.

The real beauty about this sort of food (there were olives, artichokes, bread and other bits too) is that it brings people together. Reaching across the table, eating with your hands and tasting everything breaks the ice, if it needs breaking. 

We knew the portions would be big so we tried to stop eating, but it was a struggle. I actually had a lobster pasta which was deep, rich and flecked with wonderful fresh flesh. As with all lobster dishes it was the flavour extracted from the shells into the sauce that made it.

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If there was a slight disappointment, it was the main courses. Not because they weren't good, but because the starters had set the bar so high. I never wanted that first course experience to end, such was the quality, and anything that followed would be tough to replicated. My 'drunken pig' and the fillet steaks the lads had were superb, but we were gasping for air given the size of the portions. 

The final cherry on top, both literally and metaphorically, was the dessert trolly. Wonderfully nostalgic, perfectly kitsch and absolutely on point with the overall decor. The waiter handling it made the whole experience joyous, fun and everything a good meal should be. 

As the four of us sat there savouring everything, we rubbed our bellies with content. The bill was close to €400, but on occasions like this (a yearly catch up with the oldest of friends) and with the quality so high, you don't even blink at a bill like that. 

If a restaurateur told you a year ago they were going to have waiters in tuxedos, a €10,000 slicing machine, 1960s Italian food, a dessert trolley, unisex toilets and put it all in a basement on Drury Street, you'd probably have dismissed them entirely. It could never possibly work, you'd have thought. 

Well it does, and it works bloody well. 

Luna makes you feel naughty, excited, cherished as a customer, and above all else gives you a dining experience you could never have conjured up in your own head. 

I waited a long time with some high expectations but Jesus, this place doesn't disappoint.

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Written By

Niall Harbison

Niall founded Lovin' Dublin with a few fairly simple aims: discover new places to eat in Dublin and share simple recipes cooked up in his kitchen.