Where to Eat in Ireland – Scarpello & Co, Derry

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Scarpello & Co has developed a positive reputation for delicious sourdough pizza in Derry. Expect charred, chewy crusts with interesting combinations of toppings that make pizza feel exciting again! Some innovative appetisers and antipasti will appeal to foodies craving a bit of variety from cabbage with mussels, to broccolini with burratina.

Scarpello & Co, Derry

20-22 Buncrana Road, Derry/Londonderry, BT48 8AB

Friendly staff, exciting menu

Very popular, book ahead where possible

W/Th: 930-2030, F/S: 930-2130, Sun: 1030-2030, closed M/T (for updated hours, check here)

£19 pp

Atmosphere & Service

Right before setting off on the Wild Atlantic Way, I met up with old friend and fellow ex-Riverdancer, Joanne Evans. She suggested a lunch at a favourite local eatery, called ‘Scarpello and Co‘.

Joanne was very certain that I’d love Scarpello and she was right! The atmosphere inside is welcoming and relaxed, despite looking over a petrol station car park. The interior is well laid out, from the dark green paint choices to the open-plan layout. The chefs, co-workers and produce are all on show. That takes considerable self-confidence in your product. The staff uniform is red tee-shirts. Every person we spoke to had that uniquely Derry charm that makes you feel like you are visiting with friends. The level of informality felt right for the space.

Menu & Options

The menu focuses on all things sourdough with an Italian twist. The stars of the show are really the pizza choices and my attention was drawn to Number 6, which featured mushrooms, pancetta and slow-cooked leeks – one of my favourite tastes in the world.

Joanne chose a Marguerita pizza and added shavings of fresh parmigiano reggiano and fresh prosciutto with rocket. To round out an already ambitious order, we went with garlic toast and padrón peppers from the appetiser options.

Food & Drink

These appetisers came first. The peppers were heavily doused in salt (perhaps 10% too much) but had been expertly handled so they were just the right temperature. The sourdough in the garlic toast was crunchy perfection, soused with garlic butter and herbs. I could have taken even more garlic flavour, but my palette is almost French in that regard!

Before long, the pizzas arrived, filling their oversized plates with bubbling goodness. The Neapolitan and Sourdough Pizza families are not closely related. Good examples of the former have cracker-thin dough lightly strewn with ingredients; the latter rests or dies on the quality of the sourdough. This was charred, chewy and topped with unctuous toppings, the salty and yeasty dough risen to perfection. The leeks and cheese had intermingled in a yielding mess so rich that the accompanying aioli dressing was not needed. The portion is big (I’m not complaining) and I went back to my campervan with a box filled with pizza crusts to dip in aioli for my evening snack. I can tell you those crusts made a generous supper too.

Joanne made a great fist of her giant Marguerita pizza, but admitted defeat at a little over half-way. No doubt the remainder found a welcoming home that night too!

Insider Tips

  • Save some room for the freshly churned gelato (vanilla, chocolate, pistachio).
  • You might get lucky if you’re passing by and try to get a table. However, each time I’ve returned it’s been busy. Have a back-up plan: Scarpello offers take-out pizzas, so you can at least get one to go!

Where to Stay near Scarpello & Co

Derry has quite a few mid-range hotels which are perfectly comfortable, and it’s easy to get to Scarpello from those. Honestly, I don’t think you need to pay top dollar to get a good welcome in Derry and I tend to use the mid-range Maldron Hotel Derry, which is near everything I want to see.

Overall Experience

As someone who grew up in the North of Ireland, I loved the food I had when eating out as a child and young adult, but I don’t think I can claim there were many gourmet experiences. I am happy to say there is a burgeoning food scene in the North and not just in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast. Scarpello & Co shows that there is the creative skillset, positive service attitude and endurance to make a success of a food business when so many have been forced out of business by the pandemic. It’s rare that I’m so fulsome in my food reports, but if it is deserved, a restaurant should be celebrated. Bravo to the Scarpello team.

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I'm Patrick, your Irish guide to the skies and beyond. With 58 countries visited, my journeys have taken me from busy economy to fabulous first-class.

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