Genoa Cafe in Athlone is a bit of an institution: it opened its doors in 1943 and was founded by Frank Magliocco. It started as an ice cream parlour and has been a popular take-away for several decades. Fish and chips is what Genoa Cafe is most famous for, so when a group of friends came to visit me from London and told me they had cravings for fish and chips, I took them there.
The cafe was refurbished in 2019 – gone are the red frontage and 1970s furnishings, in are calming pastel colours and bistro-style seating.
Fish and Chips at Genoa Cafe
When we ordered our fish and chips we didn’t know what the portions were going to be like. We were pleasantly surprised when we saw that each portion comprised of a very generous amount of chips and two pieces of battered cod. In fact, we ate the leftovers for dinner (and someone had them for lunch the following day!). We were sitting outside and, although the weather wasn’t positively summery, our friends had their pet dog and thankfully Genoa is a dog-friendly cafe.
One portion of fish and chips can be easily shared between two people, unless you are extremely hungry (or possibly hungover?).
The cod was light and flaky inside, and the batter was fluffy and crispy. I think the batter had some baking powder in the mix as it looked quite plump. The chips were thick cut, soft inside and quite crispy outside. When a member of staff heard myself and a friend speak Italian to each other he told us that he lived in Italy for several years and we switched to Italian. My friend and I thought that the level of service became slightly better from that point on: he gave us plenty of dipping sauces including tartare and garlic mayo. I guess if you speak Italian it can be a bit of a bonus if you plan to visit Genoa Cafe!
Genoa Cafe is on Church St, Athlone.