Dublin restaurant Alma is a popular Breakfast and Brunch spot, serving coffee, breakfast and lunch with an Argentinian twist. The Parisi family, sisters Anabella (Ani), Luciana, Macarena and Agustina, and their parents Alejandro and Lucrecia, first opened their eatery on Dublin’s South Circular Road in 2019, following a move here from Argentina. Eldest sister Ani tells us that the family’s interest in Ireland was initially sparked when one of their number came to Ireland as part of a sabbatical year after school. “She obviously loved it,” says Ani, “and that’s when the rest of us felt a bit curious about what she liked, so we started saving money before coming here.”
The attraction to Ireland was to prove an enduring family affair, as one by one all four siblings decided to come to Ireland and stay for good, and their parents subsequently followed. “It was crazy how we all loved Ireland,” Ani recalls. “It reminds us of the south of Argentina, Bariloche, where we lived for a very long time.” As the food loving Parisi clan began to settle into their new home, opening a restaurant seemed like a natural next chapter in the family’s story. “We love food, and we all worked in food businesses before, except for my parents, so we all felt it was something we would love to do.”
In putting the ALMA menu together, careful consideration was given to tailoring the traditional flavours of their native Argentina with those of their newly adopted homeland. “We didn’t want to be exclusively an Argentinian place, as we are in Ireland. We felt we needed to do a mix between cultures and reflect it in our dishes and coffee,” Ani explains, adding, “In this way we showed people a bit of our flavours from Argentina but also combining them with what Irish people like to eat.”
Their delicious Dulche de Leche pancakes are a good example of this approach, pairing buttermilk pancakes with Dulce de Leche, Brandy and Orange Mascarpone, Seasonal fruits topped with Orange Zest, Mint and Toasted Almond Nuts. Unsurprisingly, they have been a big hit with ALMA regulars from the very beginning. ALMA’s refreshing espresso tonics, made using Two Fifty Square Speciality Coffee and Poachers Tonic, were also in demand during the recent heatwave in early July, while other popular dishes include Steak con Chimichurri, made with Irish Sirloin Steak, house Chimichurri, free-range fried egg, sauteed Kale and roasted potatoes.
The menu includes an impressive array of fresh seasonal produce from suppliers such as Tartine Organic Bakery, The Irish Gaucho and Robinson Meats, with teas and coffees from Wall & Keogh and Koyu Matcha. “We found amazing producers,” Ani confirms, adding, “We are very happy with all of them and how they work, and the most important thing is that they are lovely people as well.”
She confesses that the Covid pandemic has made things very tough for everyone working in Dublin’s dining scene right now. “It’s been a hard challenge because you need to get used to measures to keep everyone safe, at the same time getting used to changes and regulations,” she adds, “But we will continue trying our best.”
“Our family lives for this business, and thanks to the support of everyone we were able to survive this pandemic. All our staff are amazing as well, they helped a lot in this difficult journey and we couldn’t have done it without them. Same for our customers, they’ve been so supportive throughout the pandemic, we couldn’t ask for better people to surround us.”
As we head into autumn, Ani tells us that there are all sorts of innovations planned for the menu at Alma. “We have some great ideas with our Head Chef Dani, so we are really looking forward to trying out some great new autumnal and winter dishes. We hope to see everyone soon. Stay safe!”
On the basis of their track record so far, we are sure that their new dishes will be more than worth the wait.
ALMA, 12 South Circular Road, Portobello, Dublin