Once upon a time an Australian and an Italian moved to Ireland and went into business together in the charming coastal town of Howth. The result? Il Panorama, a café and wine bar brimming with charisma and good vibes, papered with Aussie, Irish and Italian paraphernalia … oh, and an excellent wine list.
Sun warmed and sleepy, we initially popped into Il Panorama for a coffee to shake us out of our food and warm weather induced stupor, and ended up staying for a couple of Australian chardonnays. Why not? There’s something (or perhaps a combination of several things) about Il Panorama that make it incredibly difficult to leave.
It could be the window bar, looking out over the greens and blues of beautiful Howth. Or the somewhat cheeky staff, who will sit down and have a chat over a glass of something if there’s a spare moment. And to be fair, there aren’t many spare moments – the cosily sized café seems to be full around the clock. There’s the group of women enjoying bottle after bottle of prosecco and some good looking antipasto out in the sun; there are the obvious locals sipping large glasses of red wine at the bar; the patrons sitting side by side at the window bar, with freshly made paninis and espresso, and the steady stream of customers – the names of many of them, known by the staff – coming in for take-out coffees and smoothies.
Known locally for its selective wine list (inspired by the nationalities of its owners, Fitzy and Graziano… guess who is from where) and paninis – which are named after places in Australia – Il Panorama also stocks hard to get treats hailing from Fitzy and Graziano’s homes. We were quietly thrilled to find Tim Tams and Caramello Koalas, cracking them open on the spot to enjoy with our wine. It’s the Australian way.
Il Panorama is that classically successful blend of atmosphere, fresh, simple food and good coffee and wine. Well loved by locals and tourists alike, the nook sized café, which segues seamlessly into a wine bar at some point in the afternoon, is well worth seeking out if you find yourself enjoying a day in coastal Howth.
Just be careful… you might never leave.
Where: Harbour Road 1, Howth, Ireland
Contact: 01 8397282