There is so much to like about Il Colosseo in Athlone: it’s bright and airy, the waiting staff are friendly, the pizza is delicious.

On a recent visit I had the Salamino pizza with ‘nduja Puglian spicy sausage. Salami or pepperoni pizza seems to be one of the most popular options in English-speaking countries, but in Italy tends to be eaten less often because people prefer lighter, traditional toppings based on vegetables, tuna and onion or, more recently, for gluten free and vegan pizza. Talking of toppings, regrettably I have seen pizza with potato fries and Frankfurters in Italy (I am a bit of a pizza purist and nerd), I guess that’s an acquired taste.

Pizza at Il Colosseo Athlone
Pizza at Il Colosseo Athlone

Pizza at Il Colosseo Restaurant in Athlone

Let’s talk about Il Colosseo’s pizza: the base was crispy, expertly cooked by the chef working frantically in the open kitchen. A king of multi-tasking, you can see him furiously and expertly chopping, tossing, stretching and cooking. Before you know it, your plate of food arrives and you can’t help but smile. The ‘nduja was spicy , soft (it is a spreadable sausage after all) and packed with flavour and the base did not become greasy because the dough had a great structure. There were also thin slices of salami and strips of brightly coloured peppers.

I have a confession to make: as good as this pizza was, I still preferred the pizza I had at Il Basilico next door. It’s a take-away place but it has a wood fired oven. The flavours are more intense because of it. What I don’t understand is why Il Basilico hasn’t got more online reviews. From my research I can see that Basilico and Il Colosseo are owned by the same people. I can understand it makes sense to give people options by having formal dining on one side and a convenient take-away on the other side. The pizza menus are quite different across the two places.

Il Colosseo describes itself on the website as “Italian fine dining in the heart of Ireland”. The menu comprises pasta, pizza, meat and fish dishes. There are only a few pizza options including Margherita, vegetarian and pepperoni. The prices are very competitive for the quality of the products.

Ambience at Il Colosseo Restaurant Athlone

The decor at Il Colosseo is modern and welcoming with large windows and stylish shutters. The colour scheme is light and the overall atmosphere is smart and relaxed at the same time. This restaurant is popular with families and couples and is a good venue for a celebration. Service is a bit rushed but friendly.

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