The Life of Eliseo
Meet Eliseo, owner of Lapa Street Food, formerly known as Pastabox. Eliseo was a chef in southern Italy before moving to Dublin in 2005 to work in Italian restaurants and cafés. After 8 years, his love for traditional Sicilian cuisine encouraged him to take to to the road to bring authentic, home made Italian food to the Irish people.
Lapa Street Food Market stall featuring chef Eliseo
“Back home in Sicily my mother cooked us Bolognese 5 days a week!” Eliseo built on these family recipes to create his classic dishes as “quality is what matters” in Italian cooking. He set up his market stall in Howth, Dublin and began cooking al fresco as is custom back home in Southern Italy. What makes his food so unique is that each portion is made to order and so is as fresh as could possibly be!
The island of Sicily is rife with foreign influences and is home to one of the world’s most unique, robust and delicious street food cultures and so Eliseo decided to extend his menu beyond pasta. He soon added other traditional delicacies into the mix including arancini (rice balls), a popular street food ubiquitous throughout Sicily and cannolis, delicious cream-filled Sicilian desserts!
Eliseo, owner of Real Sicilian Street Food
Elise’s vast experience has allowed him to become the first person in Ireland to serve market goers fresh, home made Italian street food. “The hardest part of his business- the Irish weather!”. There are now 3 on his team who work in East Point on Wednesday, Mespil road on Thursday, Sandyford on Friday and Marlay Park on the weekend. Lapa Street Food also caters for private and corporate events. Eliseo’s dishes are so authentic and made with such passion and care they transport you to the bustling back streets of Siciliy!
The menu is divided into freshly cooked homemade pasta options, street food snacks and desserts.
The pasta is first on the menu. Each steaming hot portion is made to order and is handcrafted by expert chefs. The Bolognese is the undisputed king of meat sauces, and is Eliseo’s favourite. A rich and full-bodied meat (ground steak) sauce is ladled over thick hearty rigatoni pasta and dressed with freshly grated parmesan. It’s an irresistible, almost childish pleasure that guarantees joy on a winter’s day with its warm, slurpy goodness.
Arancini – saffron-scented rice balls, coated in breadcrumbs and fried to a golden brown. Fillings range from tomato and mozzarella, to ham and cheese to meat ragu. A perfect on-the-go snack!
Cannoli – crispy tubed-shaped shells of fried pasty dough filled with sweetened ricotta, usually topped with candied fruit, pistachios or chocolate chips. You can be sure that every Sicilian family who emigrated abroad has the recipe in their back pocket!
Where to find Lapa
Elesio operates at EastPoint (Wednesdays) Mespil Road (Thursdays) and Sandyford (Fridays)
**Food for Thought
- Bolognese refers to a thick meat sauce that originated in Bologna, a city in Northern Italian.
- In Italy, Bolognese is never served with spaghetti! Unless the restaurant is for tourists. Italian chefs believe that a thicker, flatter pasta shape (tagliatelle, tortellini, gnocchi) is needed to hold the chunky meaty sauce.
- Pasta was not invented by the Italians! It was introduced to Italy during the Arab conquests of Sicily in the 9th century and is likely the descendent of ancient Asian noodles. Due to pasta’s affordability, long shelf life and versatility, it became a firmly rooted staple in Italian cuisine.
- There are over 600 different pasta shapes produced around the world.