Restaurant Reviews from AJ Alpha

Status: Newbie

Credibility Score:
52.5%

County: Dublin

No. of Reviews: 19

Member Since: 08 December 2008

Last Visit: 03 February 2013

The Best Restaurant

Michael's Italian restaurant

57 Deerpark Road, Mount Merrion, Dublin, Area Code: South Co. Dublin

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Cuisine:
Italian

Price Range:

Good
31 reviews

Reviewed 05th October 2012 ( visited 05th October 2012 )

We are regular patrons of Michael’s in Mount Merrion, regularly going to lunch, and also dropping by for coffee and cake. The coffee is an award-winning blend in the latest Good Food awards, and they make the best cappuccino is Dublin, if not in Ireland. All the food is home made from the crab cakes (yum!) to the cakes (try the pistachio and limoncillo, it’s moist, flavoursome and very more-ish), and at lunchtime you can watch Michael himself preparing and cooking the food. Freshness and invention are two keynotes to the food here, which is among the best in Dublin. On our most recent trips we have had Crab Cakes, served with plum and melon, olives, tomato, fresh hollandaise and dressing, and Mushroom Bruschetta, comprising large cap mushrooms fried with balsamic marinated cherry tomato and lemon juice served on toasted bruschetta, with olive oil, reggiano and basil leaves and tallegio cheese with Michael’s own dressing; and on a previous occasion ate the Warm Vegetable Stack (layers of focaccia, roasted aubergine and courgette, red pepper, mozzarella, pine nuts, basil pesto and tomato confit) and Tuna Caprese (Ortiz Tuna, tomato, mozzarella, basil leaves, slow roasted tomatoes, pine nuts and black olives served with their own Balsamic Vinaigrette). All of the pesto, tapenades and focaccia breads are made in-house. This is Italian food to die for, and extremely reasonable. Michael’s is also a wine store and deli, so you can have wine by the glass (or bottle!) with you lunch. They are open for dinner on Fridays but now have added Saturday evenings as well. The evening menu extends the Italian daytime theme to also include fillet steak and Dublin Bay prawns, as well as their home made agnolotti pasta and hake fillets among other lunchtime favourites. This place will be hopping on Saturday evenings, as popular as it is as lunchtimes (don’t forget to book, otherwise you may well end up being disappointed).
Most Visited Restaurant

Michael's Italian restaurant

57 Deerpark Road, Mount Merrion, Dublin, Area Code: South Co. Dublin

View on Map

Cuisine:
Italian

Price Range:

Good
31 reviews

Reviewed 05th October 2012 ( visited 05th October 2012 )

We are regular patrons of Michael’s in Mount Merrion, regularly going to lunch, and also dropping by for coffee and cake. The coffee is an award-winning blend in the latest Good Food awards, and they make the best cappuccino is Dublin, if not in Ireland. All the food is home made from the crab cakes (yum!) to the cakes (try the pistachio and limoncillo, it’s moist, flavoursome and very more-ish), and at lunchtime you can watch Michael himself preparing and cooking the food. Freshness and invention are two keynotes to the food here, which is among the best in Dublin. On our most recent trips we have had Crab Cakes, served with plum and melon, olives, tomato, fresh hollandaise and dressing, and Mushroom Bruschetta, comprising large cap mushrooms fried with balsamic marinated cherry tomato and lemon juice served on toasted bruschetta, with olive oil, reggiano and basil leaves and tallegio cheese with Michael’s own dressing; and on a previous occasion ate the Warm Vegetable Stack (layers of focaccia, roasted aubergine and courgette, red pepper, mozzarella, pine nuts, basil pesto and tomato confit) and Tuna Caprese (Ortiz Tuna, tomato, mozzarella, basil leaves, slow roasted tomatoes, pine nuts and black olives served with their own Balsamic Vinaigrette). All of the pesto, tapenades and focaccia breads are made in-house. This is Italian food to die for, and extremely reasonable. Michael’s is also a wine store and deli, so you can have wine by the glass (or bottle!) with you lunch. They are open for dinner on Fridays but now have added Saturday evenings as well. The evening menu extends the Italian daytime theme to also include fillet steak and Dublin Bay prawns, as well as their home made agnolotti pasta and hake fillets among other lunchtime favourites. This place will be hopping on Saturday evenings, as popular as it is as lunchtimes (don’t forget to book, otherwise you may well end up being disappointed).
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Il Valentino
5 Gallery Quay, Grand Canal Harbour, Dublin 2, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin

Called in whilst walking around the Grand Canal Dock for a coffee and a shared sandwich. Very good coffee, had cappuchino and you could taste the coffee (decent brand). Choice of sandwiches limited at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. No indication as to whether they would make others up (no menu that I could see) but shared a tuna and salad foccacia and both bread and contents were good (it is a bakery after all). A Large and a regular cappuchino and the sandwich came to just over €10. Cannot complain on pricing. Service was fine. Run by Italians and with Italian clientele, which must be a good sign. Inside seating, although a little cramped. Outside seating with a view of the Dock available. To be recommended if you are in the area.

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A. Caviston
1 Westview, Greystones, Wicklow

Dropped in for a midweek light lunch. Pleasant surroundings, amenable staff, good choice on menu, but 8 craw claws, two small pieces of brown bread (no butter), a couple of leaves and some garlic butter for €12.95 seems like pricing from the heyday of the Celtic Tiger. We were considering the starter portion at €7.95, but the waitress said “there are not many crab claws in a starter portion” and suggested the main course. Whilst the food tasted nice, I seriously doubt this would have suited any but the most abstemious as a “main course”. Seafood chowder with a larger slice of brown bread (and butter) at €5.95 was more reasonable and good, although not out of this world (a few chunks of largely white fish, a couple of pieces of salmon and that was it). I left wondering just how many crab claws were in a starter portion!

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Harrys Bar and Restaurant
Bridgend, Inishowen, Burnfoot, Donegal

This well known and widely recommended restaurant has a deserved reputation for the known provenance of its food. Given its location just over the border in Donegal, it must attract a considerable clientele from Derry city as well as the surrounding rural areas, and of courses visitors and those travelling in the area. The ambience of the combined pub and restaurant is modern and attractive. The staff are pleasant and well informed. Given its reputation, we decided to try the steak and had an 8oz filet (€26) and an 8oz sirloin (€21). Both were very good, the sirloin, perhaps not surprising, much more flavoursome than the filet. They were served with one side order of choice. We both chose french fries and also shared a vegetable side order (grown in the restaurant's own garden apparently). I would comment that neither were particularly plentiful and that the steaks outlasted both the fries and the vegetables. Together with two relatively small starters and two (inexpensive) drinks, the total came to over €65 before tip. Frankly, although the quality and presentation of the steaks was certainly good, I felt that overall it was not value for money. Apart from the steaks, portions were on the small side. Would we go back? If passing, maybe. Would we make a special journey (even just from Co.Derry)? Not necessarily. 11

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La Mere Zou
22 St Stephens Green, Dublin , City Centre South, Dublin

I have never been to La Mere Zou in all the years that it has been in Dublin, because it is downstairs and less than totally accessible to those of reduced mobility. However we braved the external stairs yesterday, which fortunately have hand rails, and were helped by a member of staff. We were really glad we did! The restaurant is in a cosy, attractive little room (it can accommodation around 30 people, but is not cramped or crowded) with an additional side room (for upto 8 people sitting at one table). A table d'hote lunch menu of four starters, five main courses plus some specials (which can attract an additional charge - of €1.50 to €3), desserts, coffees. We started with a goat's cheese and potato roulade, accompanied by Granny Smith puree and beetroot jam, and a seared yellow fin Tuna Nicoisa salad with black olives and poached quail egg (the latter, almost a meal in itself with the delicious bread). For main courses we ate confit duck leg (lots of meat which fell off the bone) accompanied by duck fat roast potatoes and bitter orange jus, and sea trout with fennel and apple salad, crab beignets, and fennel aoili. Fantastic tastes! The two course menu at lunchtime costs €18. There is an early bird menu in the evenings at €26.50 and a table d'hote evening menu at €35 as well as a la carte. A good wine list and a very good red house wine. Excellent food, beautifully presented, classically cooked with a modern twist. I cannot praise the food highly enough. It was matched by friendly, efficient and knowledgeable service (as a French restaurant they seem to employ only French front of house staff, which I consider good). Also accessible facilities. The only question really is, why didn't we make the effort with the stairs before?

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Michael's Italian
57 Deerpark Road, Mount Merrion, Dublin

We are regular patrons of Michael’s in Mount Merrion, regularly going to lunch, and also dropping by for coffee and cake. The coffee is an award-winning blend in the latest Good Food awards, and they make the best cappuccino is Dublin, if not in Ireland. All the food is home made from the crab cakes (yum!) to the cakes (try the pistachio and limoncillo, it’s moist, flavoursome and very more-ish), and at lunchtime you can watch Michael himself preparing and cooking the food. Freshness and invention are two keynotes to the food here, which is among the best in Dublin. On our most recent trips we have had Crab Cakes, served with plum and melon, olives, tomato, fresh hollandaise and dressing, and Mushroom Bruschetta, comprising large cap mushrooms fried with balsamic marinated cherry tomato and lemon juice served on toasted bruschetta, with olive oil, reggiano and basil leaves and tallegio cheese with Michael’s own dressing; and on a previous occasion ate the Warm Vegetable Stack (layers of focaccia, roasted aubergine and courgette, red pepper, mozzarella, pine nuts, basil pesto and tomato confit) and Tuna Caprese (Ortiz Tuna, tomato, mozzarella, basil leaves, slow roasted tomatoes, pine nuts and black olives served with their own Balsamic Vinaigrette). All of the pesto, tapenades and focaccia breads are made in-house. This is Italian food to die for, and extremely reasonable. Michael’s is also a wine store and deli, so you can have wine by the glass (or bottle!) with you lunch. They are open for dinner on Fridays but now have added Saturday evenings as well. The evening menu extends the Italian daytime theme to also include fillet steak and Dublin Bay prawns, as well as their home made agnolotti pasta and hake fillets among other lunchtime favourites. This place will be hopping on Saturday evenings, as popular as it is as lunchtimes (don’t forget to book, otherwise you may well end up being disappointed).

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Tyrrellspass Castle Restaurant
Main Street, Tyrellspass, Westmeath

The new M6 motorway between (west) Dublin and Galway city is brilliant: 196km in around 2 hours and within the legal limit. However where do you stop for a coffee, a sandwich or lunch en route? Well take the exit for Tyrrellspass, go through the village heading westwards and at the end on the righthand side is the Tyrrelspass Castle restaurant and coffee shop. I remember this as a pit stop on the old main road years and years ago, and it is still going strong. The offer ranges from scones, sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, soup of the day, various coffees and teas, through a variety of beers (and presumably spirits) to full-scale meals. These would generally be of the roast, potatoes and two veg and from the looks of the meals being consumed by other patrons they are to put it mildly substantial. Our experience was a toasted sandwich and soup of the day with (fresh) brown bread and cappuchinos. Service was good, staff are pleasant and helpful, the food arrived promptly (which is what you want for a pitstop), it was clean, well furnished and one cannot have any complaints. Fulfills its purpose: no pretentions to haute cusine, good basic food. Reasonable prices, plenty of parking.If you are driving westwards you then can choose between continuing on the old main road abnd getting back on the motorway at the eastern side of Kinnegad or retracing your 'steps' through Tyrrelspass back to the M6 junction you came off on. We did the former but in the interests of speed next time will probably do the latter. The coffee shop/restaurant will fulfill you basic needs without breaking the bank!

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The Egg Cafe (Avoca Rathcoole)
Naas Road, Rathcoole, Dublin

Excellent. The Egg Cafe is part of the Avoca complex just off the Naas dual carriageway at Rathcoole (take exit 4 heading south-west). It is a waiter/waitress service restaurant upstairs over the Avoca shop (lift provides easy access). The menu changes periodically and there is a soup starter and pasta starter/main course that change apparently daily. Four of us had duck pate with pistachio and apricot; soup of the day; crayfish with leaves, and crispy cod brandade (deep fried cod balls) as starters. Main courses were Fish pie with potato topping (salmon, cod, etc); ravioli (asparagus and peccorino with wild mushroom sauce); and lamb stew with mashed potato and white soda bread. All agreed the food was cooked and presented to a very high standard. Prices of starters ranged between 5.95 euro (the soup) to 8.95 euro (the Crayfish). The main courses ranged from 13.95 for the pasta to 15.95 euro for the lamb. Service is excellent, and the desserts are to die for (so I am told), chocolate tart and a crumble. My cappuchino was made with low fat milk (on request) and without chocolate on top (yes I know, what's left of a cappuchino, but wait....). I asked if they had cinnamon and some was sourced directly from the kitchen and prov ided in a little jug so one could add as much or as little as one liked. This is service par excellence! A good wine list supplements the excellent food: we had a Rueda Sauvignon Blanc for 28 euro. Good wine, very enjoyable with the food. Essentially this is a place for lunch as they close up around 4.30pm/5pm, although the adjoining self service cafe is open as late as the store is open i believe. We have also eaten in the waiter service restaurant in Avoca Kilmacanogh (about 6 months ago). Clearly Avoca's differ for the Kilmacanogh experuience was OK but nothing to write home about (search in vain for any review from me on Menupages!), however Avoca Rathcoole - although a bit out of the city - is well worth the trip. And if you work in City

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Ilia Restaurant
Dominick Street, Mullingar, Westmeath

Ilia Tapas is a confusing name. One might expect a Spanish tapas bar but although there are (Irish style) tapas elements, you can equally get a more traditional starter, main course, dessert. Four of us met for lunch and started with soup of the day (good), baked brie (even better) and mixed breads (OK), followed by linguine with shellfish, fish and chips (excellent: lightly battered cod) and homemade hamburger, plus two desserts, a bottle of wine and 2 coffees.Good decor, very reasonable, good food, very nicely presented (particularly the desserts). Good service. We were the only ones there at the outset (12.30pm just after they opened), but about 4 or 5 tables occupied whilst we were there (about 20 tables in total). Hope it keeps in business, good to have a 'port of call' in Mullingar when travelling through. Can recommend it for lunch.

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The Sandwich Co
17d Forte Shopping Centre, Letterkenny, Donegal

The Sandwich Company has outlets in a number of locations including The Diamond in Derry. we chanced upon it on a previous visit to Letterkenny and went out of our way in March to go there for lunch. They will make up a sandwich to order on the spot, with a wide range of breads and a wider range of contents. There are also salad-based 'dishes of the day', although these look as though they are on most days. It it extremely popular, and has both sit-in and take-away customers. At lunchtime a lot of local office (and other) workers flock here. The food is extremely fresh, very well presented, and very reasonable. Accompanying the sandwiches are a range of coffees and soft drinks, smoothies, etc. It is on the ground floor which makes it accessible both for mammys with buggies and those with special needs. It's v ery clean with efficient service both behind the coutner and in tidying up the seating area. Highly recommended.

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Ananda
Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 14, Dundrum, Dublin

Very attractively designed restaurant on second floor of the "leisure area" of Dundrum Town Centre. Accessible either from the the foyer which also leads to the cinema or from the street (Sandyford Road) opposite the public carpark (where there is also a lift). The service is excellent, and the food generally extremely well prepared and presented. Of the 4 of us, one had monkfish (excellent), two had lamb (which were reportedly excellent) and I had the duck, which although cooked in the manner recommended by the staff was somewhat chewy: not the best I have ever tasted and not worth €22. Prices are expensive: €255 for 4 people for two courses each - and we shared two kebab starters (@€15 each) plus 2 bottles of wine, naan bread and 3 coffees incl. service. This is our second visit: previously two of us had the €20 early bird menu which is excellent value for the quality of the food, although the portions were not for those with a large appetite (but c'mon, €20 for very good food really cannot be beaten). So by all means go, you'll enjoy it, but perhaps take advice on what to choose, particulary if you are an Indian neophyte.

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ITSA @ Harvey Nichols
Harvey Nichols, Dundrum Town Centre, Sandyford Road, Dundrum, Dublin

This is trhe 2nd time we have tried HN's food offer. Last time it was lunch in the restaurant where the service was oor and it was difficult to attaract staff to ;provide water ("we don't have any jugs for the table, sir"). After many months, we decided to try the Cafe for lunch. Don't bother. Midweek. Quite busy but 50 minutes to provide three main courses isn't the sign of a well run operation. When we asked after about half an hour when the food might come, there was a swift apology and an immiedate offer of free coffees afterwards - clearly the staff are primed to make the offer, so a long gestation period for the food obviously isn't rare. An adjoining table's All Day Breakfast also took over half an hour. The food when it arrived was adequate but not really noteworthy. There are Dublin restaurants successfully offered 2 course lunches for only 2.50 euro more than we paid for a main course. Two "homemade burgers" when they arrived were OK (though we hadn'tbeen asked how we wanted them cooked) but the fish pie, once one got through the "herbed parmesan crust" needed a spoon to eat, not a knife and fork, the contents were so liquidy. On the basis of my experience HW has two strikes, two outs - we won't be going for the third strike and out!

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La Maison
15 Castle Market Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

Excellent French style bistro in city centre. Menun is extensive enough to offer good choice, limited enough to know the chef knows what he is doing. Check out the menu on these pages. Very good fish dishes - can personally recommend the crab canelloni starter, the skillet of fresh seafood and the seabass en croute main courses, as well as a varied and very tasty pate board as a starter. Food is plentiful, attractively presented, good recipes and mixes of items on the same plate. You probably won;t need any extra sides dishes, but be advised by the staff. Wine list is predominately French, naturellement, but with a white Italian and Spanish in there. Service is friendly, helpful, efficient and unobtrusive. Seating can be outside, on ground floor or on 1st floor, so although it appears cosy inside, there is plenty of choice. You cannot book in advance, only on showing up when they will take your name and advise on when a table will be available, which might be a problem particularly for out-of-town visitors. However at 7pm on a Thursday evening you should get a table straight away; an hour later and you may have to wait. But the food is well worth it. Highly recommended!

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Michael's Italian
57 Deerpark Road, Mount Merrion, Dublin

Now and again you find a great place to eat and you are torn between telling everyone - and risking there being no table when you want to visit - or keeping it to yourself. I have elected to go with the former option, to make sure that it thrives through the recession! Michael's is a deli-cafe which serves coffees through the day, lunches and two evenings a week dinner (tho not too late). The specialism is Italian (a very good Italian and increasingly broad Spanish wine offer in the deli) and the food is freshly made up to order: think antipasto plates, vegetable stacks, salads, foccacio, bruscheta, stuffed peppers, etc and wine by the glass. Cosy seating (tables close together so not too intimate a tete-a-tete!) within the cafe is supplemented by outside tables, Irish summer permitting. The food is excellent - really, really fresh and great tasting - Michael knows what he is doing, the service is attentive and efficient without being overbearing, the prices are competitive, and there is parking immediately adjacent. If you are lost in Mount Merrion, look for Flanagans furniture store at the old furthest end of the row of shops opposite.

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L'Ecrivain Restaurant
109a Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

How does L'Ecrivain only get 4 stars overall? It must be because people want to keep it a secret in case they cannot get a table when they want to. I cannot conceive of any other reason. We have visited L'Ecrivain generally for special occasions over the years for dinner, but twice recently to have their €25 lunch menu. This contains a choice of two starters, two main courses and a dessert plus tea or coffee. One of Dublin's top rated restaurants, superb food, excellent service, great ambience, and lunch for €25. €25! Why stay at home? It is superb value for money (particularly compared to other set price meals I have eaten in a broadly similar price range). And if you want to extend your choice there is a €45 lunch menu!. The food is really, really excellent. The chefs really know what they are doing and how to make food really attractive both visually and taste-wise. Beautifully presented, incredible freshness and flavours, and really professional - in the nicest possible way - service. Why am I spendiong my time writing this when I could be at lunch in L'Ecrivain? Largely because I want it to survive and prosper in the recession and be there in years to come. Go there, spend the money, you will be knocked out!

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Deep
12 West Pier, North Co. Dublin, Howth, Dublin

After a long hard day's fieldwork we dropped into Howth in preference to returning home to cook. After inspecting the various establoshments on Howth's West Pier, decided on Deep, particularly as it had a (2 course) early bird menu for 19.95 euro. Given the location, there is a strong, tho' not exclusive, emphasis on fish. We tried the fish cakes, the cassoulet of seafood, and a risotto (NB the early bird menu is more extensive than the sample of these pages). Well cooked and presented - and a "special" of a Heineken promo with the early bird menu (yes, I know, Heino, but still!). Thoroughly recommend what is a relative small restaurant (although linked to the Italian next door). Only pity is that it is a long way from the southside. The food is very good, it is plentiful (not always the case with early birds), wine by the glass is very acceptable, service is attentive and very professional. Overall excellent.

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Le Petit Cochon
Glasthule Road, Sandycove, Dublin

We have regularly visited Tribes since we discovered it on a friend's recommendation a couple of years ago.We have been as a couple and different foursomes. We have always been impressed by the high standard of the cooking (from the French chef) and the excellent service. Decor is good and the only reservation is that the loos are downstairs, not the best is you are in any way unsteady on your feet. There is on street parking outside in Glasthule main street. The restaurant is not large; it has around 60 covers. They operate an early bird every night to 7.30/8pm (depending on the day) for 23.95 euro for two courses and tea/coffee. Excellent value for excellent food. We would recommend the tian of crayfish or the confit of duck as outstanding among the very good starts, and the belly of pork (best I have had in Dublin), the chicken, the rump of lamb of any of the fish dishes among the mains. Steak is available at a slight premium. Very good wine list with good geographical range of wines at reasonable prices. I actually thought of not writing this review, in case it is fully booked next time we want to go! Very highly recommended.

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Rasam
18-19 Glasthule Road, South Co. Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

This is an excellent Indian restaurant with a wide range of dishes from different parts of the sub-continent. We have been a number of occasions as a twosome, and also with other couples. Many have remarked on how different to the run-of-the-mill-burn-your mouth-out Indian Rasam is. The service and staff are very attentive without being overly so, and all are readily able to describe the dishes and recommend something for those wish to retain a cooler palate. One can really taste the different spices and it is a restaurant that would also appeal to vegetarians as well as meat eaters. It you want to sample the variety, then try the Thali, which is a number of small sampler dishes (either vegetarian or meat/vegetarian)> I would suggest you do not go for a 1+1 thalis because you get too much vegetarian. They also have an early bird (to 7pm, Sunday through Thursday) for 23.95 euro with a choice of three starters and four mains, which for a couple or particularly a group would be a good way of sampling a range of dishes. Also a very good, comprehensive wine list. It is more expensive than the average Indian but it is light years away from the hot curry and burning mouth sensation. One caution - it is located over the Eagle House and that does mean going upstairs to reach it (of note to the less able among us)

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Gong Chinese Restaurant
8 Lower Kilmacud Road, South Dublin, Stillorgan, Dublin

Gong is located over a bookmakers opposite Stillorgan Shopping Centre (lots of free parking!). The Korean element of the menu has been dropped and Gong's is now pure Chinese. The food is excellent. Real Chinese comfort food. The menu is quite extensive and also includes a €25 (at the time of writing) three course dinner menu: this contains around 8 starters, 8 main courses, and maybe a slightly smaller number of desserts. Great value and good wine list. The decor is modern, predominately in black and red (but not overpowering) with uplighting in the ceiling to give an airy and bright feel to the place. Having found it, we will be back.

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China Sichuan
The Forum, Ballymoss Road, Dublin 18 , Sandyford, Dublin

We have visited the new China Sichuan in Sandyford four times since it opened. Twice as a couple, twice as a foursome. Whilst a very different menu to the old China Sichuan in Stillorgan, it is excellent food. Completely modern decor (the photo on menupages is of the old restaurant) and superb service. Some dishes have made the transition, in a more modern form, but some are completely new - moving the restaurant to a new, higher plane. Having been used to what might be termed Chinese comfort food in Stillorgan, it takes a couple of visits to get used to the new menu, but wow! the flavours, the food and the presentation are very different. A much shorter menu is supplemented by a printedlist of around 6 specials AND a verbal list of another 4/5 specials. It is also open for an extended lunchtime (12 through 5, I believe). Go there, you won't be disappointed.

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