Divertamento restaurant by the Shannon

Blanched pears in chocolate sauce with raspberries on a white, square-cornered dinner plate in Divertamento restaurant, AthloneI mentioned earlier that a new restaurant, Divertamento, had opened in Athlone at the East footprint of the bridge overlooking the river Shannon.

I took the occasion of wifey and munchkin’s return to take the girls in my life for a meal and I must say it was a good choice.

Allow me to get ahead of myself. Just look at that dessert plate there to your left – those are pears blanched in white wine with piles of juicy raspberries between them. The whole thing is covered in chocolate with a scoop of sweetened cream (although it could have been some spectacularly creamy ice cream) in the middle (just €3.80).

I’m not even a big fan of dessert, but this was truly something spectacular. I called home about it.

Interior of Divertamento Italian restaurant in AthloneOne cannot fault Divertamento‘s choice of location. Overlooking the Shannon across from Athlone Castle is a prime piece of real estate. The fare is Italian and it’s unusual, tasty and not expensive. All good things.

The open, modern-furnished place is also remarkably child-friendly with an entire kids corner complete with books, crayons and butcher paper for drawing along with child-sized chairs and a table for little people to keep busy at while parents finish their meal.

Divertamento does not have child seats for babies, but their half-circular couches and low table provide seating suitable for children of, say, two years or more. Munchkin, just turned one, was a bit small to eat from the table, but she was able to play on the couch without fear of falling and when it came time to eat was happy out with samples from mom & dad’s plates in her buggy.

wifey sits at the table in divertamento restaurant in AthloneI had onion soup (€3.80), wifey had minestrone (€4.10) and we shared a caprisi salad (€4.10). The soups were obviously fresh and delicious. My onion soup’s french bread came in crouton form (I thought a single slice of toasted bread might have been nicer than dozens of floating croutons), but the soup itself was lovely. The caprisi salad was very good, but it did make me miss juicy, sweet Californian tomatoes. *sigh*

For mains, wifey had a delicious fettuccini portobello(€11.20) which I sneaked a few bites of when she wasn’t looking. I had the putanesca spaghetti(€10.60) which combined jalepenos and olives for a spicy, unusual pasta experience. Lovely.

Also, your eyes do not fool you there, that water glass is crooked by design. The plates are square, the stemware is elegant (they do not yet have a wine license, so you are welcome to bring your own – there was no corkage fee on our bill) and the water glasses are . . . well, at a slant.

At the end of the night we couldn’t believe we’d just had such a lovely 3-course meal for two for less than €40. We bid a fond farewell to the friendly, foreign staff and headed home with the munchkin nodding to sleep in her buggy.