Restaurant Reviews from DubDude

Status: Connoisseur

Credibility Score:
52.5%

County: Dublin

No. of Reviews: 34

Member Since: 25 May 2009

Last Visit: 06 February 2014

The Best Restaurant

Il Vignardo restaurant

Beresford Hotel, 21 Store Street, City Centre North, IFSC, Dublin, Area Code: Dublin 1

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Cuisine:
Italian

Price Range:

Good
68 reviews

Reviewed 23rd February 2013 ( visited 22nd February 2013 )

They've revamped the menu since my last visit and there's a new chef. They still do the set 2 or 3 course menus for €16.50 and €20 respectively and they've reduced the number of items on the a la carte. This time we ate from the a la carte menu. We shared a starter of garlic bread which was a wafer thin pizza base spread with garlic butter and it was delicious- one was easily enough for two people. I then had the organic salmon with mediterranean vegetables in a light tomato sauce (€18.50). It was cooked beautifully. I ordered a side of mashed potato which was hot and fluffy. All sides are €2.95. My partner had the pizza margherita which he thought was gorgeous. For dessert we shared a melting middle chocolate pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream - just yummy. With a bottlle of house wine (€20) the bill came to €63 and service was excellent. Definitely worth a visit.
Most Visited Restaurant

Il Vignardo restaurant

Beresford Hotel, 21 Store Street, City Centre North, IFSC, Dublin, Area Code: Dublin 1

View on Map

Cuisine:
Italian

Price Range:

Good
68 reviews

Reviewed 23rd February 2013 ( visited 22nd February 2013 )

They've revamped the menu since my last visit and there's a new chef. They still do the set 2 or 3 course menus for €16.50 and €20 respectively and they've reduced the number of items on the a la carte. This time we ate from the a la carte menu. We shared a starter of garlic bread which was a wafer thin pizza base spread with garlic butter and it was delicious- one was easily enough for two people. I then had the organic salmon with mediterranean vegetables in a light tomato sauce (€18.50). It was cooked beautifully. I ordered a side of mashed potato which was hot and fluffy. All sides are €2.95. My partner had the pizza margherita which he thought was gorgeous. For dessert we shared a melting middle chocolate pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream - just yummy. With a bottlle of house wine (€20) the bill came to €63 and service was excellent. Definitely worth a visit.
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Il Sereno
112 Church Rd, East Wall Village, East Wall, Dublin

We've eaten here regularly since it opened in October as it's our local, the most recent being Friday night. The regular waitress wasn't there and it was pretty chaotic. The restaurant seats approx 25 people so it's quite small. It would therefore be a good idea, for evening service, to move the table that holds the newspapers from the middle of the room to stop people going to the loo shunting against other customers. All but two tables had customers so there was a good buzz in the place. There were three people waiting tables so the service should've been excellent. We ordered one garlic bread to start, penne all'arrabiata and pollo alla cacciatore for mains. Eventually all three arrived together. The garlic bread was rock hard. The penne at €9.95 was fine but not fab. I expected a good kick of chilli but it wasn't there. The pollo dish at €13.95 was chicken pieces in a tomato and mushroom sauce served on a bed of mashed potatoes. There was also a handful of mixed leaves taking up one quarter of the plate which did nothing to compliment the dish. Previous reviewers have said portions are enormous but we've never experienced this. Portions are adequate. We had a bottle of house white which is an Italian Pinot Grigio. They've reduced the price of house wines to €18 (from €20) recently which is a very good idea as this now brings the price in line with other Italians in the wider area. Overall, we will continue to support this local business but quality of service, attention to detail, and value for money must be consistent to ensure continued success.

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Rustic Stone
South George's Street, Dublin, City Centre South, Dublin

We went here on Friday at lunchtime. There were only three tables taken which was surprising but the decor is warm & woody and welcoming. The menu is an excellent selection of healthy meals with a complete additional menu of raw dishes between €3 and €5 for a small plate and between €5 & €10 for big plates. I had two of the raw dishes - tuna sushi with polenta & crab meat wrapped in mango - 3 pieces of each which was the small servings at € 5 each. They were both absolutely stunning. My partner had a plain cheeseburger in a brioche bun with four polenta chips which was €17.50. It was delicious but seriously overpriced. With a carafe of excellent Pinto Grigio at €16, our lunch came to €43.50. There's no question that the food here is exemplary but in my opinion, the service really lets it down. Yes the staff are friendly but our waiter was very slow, didn't tell us there was a special lunch menu or that we could've had six samples from the raw menu with two healthy shots for €15. We only overheard this from another waiter after we'd ordered which is a shame. We wanted to have dessert but we were waiting so long, we just paid & left. Despite the disappointing service, I would return for the raw food.

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Restaurant Ten Fourteen
324 Clontarf Road, Clontarf, Dublin

1014 overlooks the Wooden Bridge at Clontarf - a lovely view on a good day. A gang of us went here for lunch today, a first time visit for me, and it was an excellent experience. We had preordered as we were pushed for time but that wasn't reflected in the quality and presentation of the food. The staff were attentive, prompt and friendly. I had the steak sandwich which was sliced aged steak on a bed of leaves, tomato and cooked onions between two huge focaccia baps. This came with fat chips and garlic mayonnaise. It was yummy and for € 11.95 I thought it was excellent value. I couldn't finish all the bap which must be a first for me. The others had fish & chips, burger, chicken, pear & blue cheese salad and chicken & bacon club. No one had a complaint. Definitely worth a return visit.

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The Real Gourmet Burger - Dun Laoghaire
The Pavilion, South Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

It was quiet inside Real on Sat afternoon cos most people were outside eating. The layout is cafe style - wooden tables, old style tomato shaped sauce bottles on the tables. Service is efficient, prompt and polite. We had the Falafel (in a wrap with mango salsa and raitha) served with green leaves & skinny fries & a plain cheese burger with skinny fries. Both were very tasty and with a glass of white wine and a bottle of Heineken, the bill came to € 30. Well worth a return trip.

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Milano (Grand Canal Harbour)
Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin

If you're going here before the theatre, it's essential to book in advance because the place gets packed. We pre booked (online which is great) for 6.15pm before the Lion King at 7.30pm. I had the pizza with artichokes & mushrooms & olives and my partner had the usual Margarita. Hot, thin, delicious & moreish as usual in Milanos. With a lager and a 500ml bottle of San Pelegrino the bill came to €32. Yes it's a little pricey cos after all it's only pizza but it's how pizza should be. Time wise - our pizzas were on the table at 6.25pm even though it was so busy they were turning people away so we had more than enough time before the show.

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Moloughney's Clontarf
9 Vernon Avenue, North Dublin, Clontarf, Dublin

I was excited about my first visit here having read all the excellent reviews but it was terribly disappointing. We went for week day lunch and it was busy - always a good sign. I ordered the smoked salmon salad with orange and fennel and my colleague ordered the confit of duck - both for € 12.50. After a wait of approximately 15 mins, I heard the waitress from half way up the floor shouting "salmon salad". I asked was it smoked salmon salad and without a blink she replied " I don't know but it's the only salad on the menu so it must be". Charming! I would mention at this point that the male waiting staff are very efficient. The smoked salmon salad was a plate on which someone had thrown a bag of mixed leaves - that was all that was visible when she put the plate down. When I dug through the leaves, there was no smoked salmon but approximately half a medium poached salmon fillet cut into six small pieces, six orange segments and a few shavings of fennel. It was poorly seasoned too and in fact tasted bland. My colleague fared better with duck confit. It was a confit duck leg on a bed of marrowfat peas & a few cubes of pancetta. She was surprised the portion was so tiny though and she had finished hers before I found my salmon. We had planned to have desserts & coffee before we arrived but when we finished the mains we both agreed we wanted to leave.

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Silks Chinese Restaurant
5 The Mall , Co. Dublin, Malahide, Dublin

Tired decor, shockingly poor service, mediocre dishes grossly overpriced. This place isn't worth any more of a review.

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Il Vignardo
Beresford Hotel, 21 Store Street, City Centre North, IFSC, Dublin

They've revamped the menu since my last visit and there's a new chef. They still do the set 2 or 3 course menus for €16.50 and €20 respectively and they've reduced the number of items on the a la carte. This time we ate from the a la carte menu. We shared a starter of garlic bread which was a wafer thin pizza base spread with garlic butter and it was delicious- one was easily enough for two people. I then had the organic salmon with mediterranean vegetables in a light tomato sauce (€18.50). It was cooked beautifully. I ordered a side of mashed potato which was hot and fluffy. All sides are €2.95. My partner had the pizza margherita which he thought was gorgeous. For dessert we shared a melting middle chocolate pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream - just yummy. With a bottlle of house wine (€20) the bill came to €63 and service was excellent. Definitely worth a visit.

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Cucina
Unit 9A, Kings Court, Parnell Street, City Centre North, Dublin

We went here for lunch on a Saturday afternoon. Until 5pm they do deals - two courses with soft drink or mineral water €10; three courses with soft drink/mineral water €13 and any pizza or pasta with soft drink € 8.75. Cucina is a traditional Italian type cafe with red and white checked table cloths. The place is spotless, including the toilets and the waitress was very friendly and efficient. I had the €10 menu - garlic bread which was fresh and delicious and pollo pesto penne which was one of the best I've had. Plenty of chicken breast in perfectly cooked al dente wholemeal penne and creamy pesto (thankfully not swimming in olive oil) and a sparkling San Peregrino. My partner had a 9" margarita pizza which was a very good pizza, thin but not too crispy, well topped and hot with a 7 UP. In addition, I had a glass of Pinto Grigio at an additional €5.50 which was good. All in all I thought this was an excellent lunch for €24.25 and we'll definitely be back.

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Da Mimmo Restaurant
148A North Strand Road, City Centre North, Dublin

This is a tiny jewel in North Strand. Da Mimmo is small - only 7 tables and 3 were full early on a Friday evening so there was a good atmosphere. The decor is more cafe than restaurant - basic and clean. The menu is pizza and pasta with chalk board specials. When we were seated we were served with complimentary antipasti - two small pieces of toasted bread with a serving of pesto, two fat green olives and a portion of red onion chutney which was a delicious taster. For starters we shared a portion of garlic bread with cheese (€5) two bap sized pieces of bread with garlic & cheese and it was hot & delicious. For mains, my partner chose the Pizza Margherita (€9). It was huge - easily enough for two people and properly thin and crispy. Excellent value. I had a special which was chicken in mushroom sauce (€14)). This comes with a choice of salad or potatoes and I chose potatoes. It was delicious. The chicken was succulent and the mushroom sauce was light and creamy. Potatoes were cubed and perfectly cooked -crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. For drinks we had a half bottle of excellent Pinot Grigio (€13) and a Peroni (€4.50). We were particularly impressed with the excellent wine choices in such a small place and a big hooray for a decent choice of half bottles. Service was prompt, polite and friendly too. I'd definitely recommend Da Mimmo but because it's so small, booking is essential.

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Canters Tandoori
9 Fairview Strand, Fairview, Dublin

This was our first visit since Canters became a Tandoori. The decor is warm and inviting and the tables are well spaced. It was empty at 7pm on a Friday evening although another couple came in while we were having our meal so there was no atmosphere at all. Although an early bird menu was advertised outside, this was not offered to us when we sat down. A previous review mentions there's a BYOB policy but we were given a wine menu and BYOB isn't advertised. We were served with poppadums with diced red onion, mango chutney and a mint dip which was tasty. The menu has variations of chicken, beef, lamb and fish in various sauces. We went straight for the main course. I ordered Chicken Karai - a medium hot dish with red pepper, green pepper,spring onion,chopped tomato and herbs & spices priced at 13.50. My partner had Tandoori Makhani Chicken which is tandoori chicken cooked in butter and creamy sauce & crushed nuts priced at 13.95. These prices don't include rice. We also ordered a garlic naan (3.95), chapati (2.50) and a Bombay Aloo (6.50) - cubed potatoes in sauce and a bottle of house white (16.95). The Chicken Karai was very tasty and not too spicy with chunky pieces of chicken breast. Garlic naan was warm & fluffy, the plain chapati perfectly complimented the spicy food and the potato dish had 8 cubes of firm potato in a mild spicy saucy - very tasty but overpriced. Unfortunately the Makhani Chicken had pieces of chicken bone in which we weren't expecting and my partner choked on one so he couldn't eat the rest of his meal. The maitre d' was very apologetic and didn't charge us for that dish so our bill came to 43.40. I'd definitely give Canters a second chance but the lack of atmosphere and the dour faces of the waiting staff detracts from what could be a delightful experience. Come on Canters staff - crack a smile occasionally. It really does make a difference.

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The Exchequer
3-5 Exchequer Street, City Centre South, Dublin

The early bird ends here at 4pm on Fridays so I imagine that's why it wasn't as busy as we expected at 6.30pm but there was a good buzz. The layout is modern with predominantly bench style seating and cutlery placed in pint glasses on the table. Staff were a little too quick to tell us we had to vacate the table by 8.30pm but we had no issue with this as we were going out after anyway. The only menu option was the a la carte and for a gastropub it is very expensive. Starters average at €9, mains €23 and side dishes are an extra €3.50. None of us opted for starters, for mains we had bacon & cabbage, venison, veal and fish of the day which was trout. It took approximately 20 mins for the dishes to arrive. They were beautifully presented but portions were very well controlled. The best laugh of the night came with the arrival of the side salad that was ordered. It was the smallest side salad we'd every seen. The desserts were the usual types - brownies, jelly and ice cream etc - all with a twist and again, beautifully presented at €5.50 each. Everyone was happy with their dishes but we all felt that it was seriously overpriced for a gastropub and if any of us were to return, it would be for the early bird or Sunday lunch specials.

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Il Vignardo
Beresford Hotel, 21 Store Street, City Centre North, IFSC, Dublin

This restaurant has had a bumpy road over the last few months but it seems to be back on track now. We went on a Saturday evening and it was very quiet but we were greeted very warmly by the waitress and shown to a our table. They still have an excellent value two or three course menu for €16.00 & € 20 respectively but we went a la carte. My partner had the tagliatelle with cream & mushrooms priced at € 10.45. It was very tasty and the portion was huge. Easily enough for two people. I had the sea bass with polenta croquettes and a side salad which had three fillets of sea bass, six croquettes and a crispy lightly dressed mixed salad for € 18.00. It was good but I would have preferred a crispier skin on the sea bass for more flavour. We chose the house white which was an Italian Chardonnay at € 19.50. All in all it was a much improved experience and it's definitely worth a visit.

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Quay 16 Restaurant @ MV Cill Airne
MV Cill Airne, North Wall Quay, IFSC, Dublin

I wasn't expecting much from a restaurant on a boat but this was exceptional. They do a pre theatre menu of 2 courses for €20 and three courses for €25. I had a starter of figs stuffed with goats cheese wrapped in parma ham, my partner had the soup of the day which was leek and potato soup (huge bowl) and a warm bread roll. For mains, my partner had the fillet steak (supplement of €7 for this) and mash. The menu describes the steak with onion and champ but at my partner's request, it was no problem for them to serve the dish without any onion which he was thrilled about. I had the chicken tagine with lemon cous cous. This was stunning. A chicken fillet smothered in a delicious sweet spicy sauce served in an individual copper pot was accompanied by a serving of cous cous in an indivudual sized copper saucepan and a side of yoghurt. We also received sides of sauted potatoes and carrot puree which were good too but the main meal was more than adequate. With a bottle of Pinot Grigio (€25) the bill came to €72. The waiting staff are lovely, the surroundings are nautical as expected and the toilets are spotless. With it's location just across Samuel Beckett bridge to the Grand Canal Theatre it's ideal for a pre theatre meal and exceptional value. My only tiniest little moan would be that they choose more appropriate dining music for the restaurant.

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The Wild Swan Chinese Restaurant
1st Floor No1, Main Street, North Co. Dublin, Malahide, Dublin

We had booked a table for 6pm and when we arrived we were greeted warmly and shown to our table beside the window, already laden with plain and spicy prawn crackers. The restaurant is on the first floor and it's tables are well laid out so that someone else's elbow isn't in your ear as you eat. By 6.30pm the place was nearly full and buzzing but not intrusive. I ate from the €16 menu (runs tils 7.30pm nightly)which is exceptional value. I add delicious crispy smoked chicken to start and Kung Po Prawns with boiled rice for mains. The chicken was juicy and well but not over spiced with fresh red chillis. The prawn main was excellent - 8 large healthy prawns mixed with crispy veg and cashew nuts. I had an option of ice cream and coffee for the set price but I just couldn't manage the ice cream. My partner went a la carte and had chicken satay starter and chicken curry main. I thought €7 for chicken satay was a bit pricey until I saw it arrive - two succulent chicken breasts on skewers with a dish of subtle satay sauce. A huge portion and easily enough for two people.The chicken curry came without any veg as ordered and it was very good. All of the above with a bottle of house white came to €61.60. If there's a better value Chinese restaurant in Dublin I'd be surprised.

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Wallace's Taverna
24 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1, City Centre, Italian Quarter, Dublin

This is a pizza/pasta place with an extensive wine list. The decor is inviting and clean and there is a ground and first floor with outside seating also. It was buzzing on Friday night. No queue waiting to be seated - we were a couple, there was an empty table for two by the window waiting to be cleared but we still had to wait 10 mins to be seated at it. Once seated, we were given menus. There are approx 10 items per menu category so it is not an extensive menu but more than adequate. We were left for another 10 mins or so before we had to attract someone's attention to place our order. Bear in mind most other diners at this stage were on desserts, the service should not have been this bad. It was obvious that one waitress was doing all the work and the rest were chatting amongst themselves. We ordered garlic pizza started to share, Margeurita pizza, pasta with slices of beef, olives and olive oil and a bottle of Pinot Grigio. We figured these would be the quickest items to our table as we were very peckish by now. Once you've ordered, they bring bread, oil and balsamic vinegar to the table so a starter's not really needed. The wine was very good. Garlic pizza starter was wafer thin base with subtle garlic butter. Then the mains arrived. The pizza was totally burnt around the outside. The waitress explained that it was burnt and she'd take it back and get another one but it had taken so long to get that, my partner didn't want to wait any longer. In fairness she took 10% off the bill for the burnt fiasco but no self respecting chef would have allowed that out of the kitchen. The pasta with beef was bland and should have been seasoned before I got it but it was ok. Total bill € 47 which would be excellent value if the quality and service wasn't so dreadful. Wallace's should perhaps stick to wine & nibbles and leave food to others in the area.

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Noble House
17 Dame Street, City Centre South, Dublin

The food here is above average for most Chinese restaurants in Dublin but it's overpriced. The restaurant is clean and spacious and the staff are friendly & attentive. Two of us had the early bird before theatre. Alot of the dishes have supplementary charges so be warned that the early bird menu could escalate sharply. I had the lettuce filled with minced beef for starters - it was huge & easily enough for two. My partner had the satay chicken & he was disappointed that the portion was so small. It was tasty though. For mains I had chicken in chilli & salt & vegetables & my partner had chicken curry & rice. Both good but nothing spectacular. With two drinks, this all came to €45 which I thought was steep as it was supposed to be an early bird. I also thought it was a bit greedy of them to charge me an extra €2 for my veg side dish (I didn't have rice or chips).

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Harrys Bar and Restaurant
Bridgend, Inishowen, Burnfoot, Donegal

At last my return trip to Harrys. Would I be disappointed ? Definitely not. The lunch table was booked for 6 people - 9 of us turned up. Not a problem for Harry's staff - we were moved to a larger table within seconds. There's a lunch menu & chalk board specials. These can change quite quickly because once an item has sold out they switch to the next fresh item for example when we arrived the fish special was plaice but by the time we ordered, plaice had sold out and haddock had replaced it. I expect these sudden menu changes where restaurants genuinely cook fresh local produce. For starters, our table had white onion soup, thai fish cakes and I had squid with chilli and salt. Even after they had been sitting for a period during conversation, there was still no hint of rubber. They were cooked to perfect & the portion was huge. The soup & fish cakes were equally delicious I was told. For mains, 6 of us had sirloin steak -cooked from rare to very well done and each one came out perfectly cooked. Two had haddock - the dish came with a tomato sauce which was sharp and fresh - and the other requested a plain piece of haddock without sauce or garnish and it arrived precisely as ordered. The fish was delicious - hot, firm and melt in the mouth. We had requested a selection of vegetables and we got enough to feed 20. Boiled and garlic potatoes, salad, mushrooms, chips and the pearl in the selection - creamed cabbage and turnip. I hate turnip but this has converted me, No one had room for dessert so we had teas/coffees and the bill came to € 180. Fantastic value. A special mention for the two waitresses - they really know what excellent service is. If your idea of a good meal is a big feed, of dubious quality, piled high on your plate then this is not the place for you, but if you like quality food at a good price in a relaxed, unhurried environment, then Harry's is hard to beat.

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Shanahan’s on the Green
119 St. Stephens Green, Dublin , City Centre South, Dublin

Shanihan's food reputation precedes it so I expected to be disappointed but I wasn't. The restaurant decor reminded me of an elegant front room. Dress code is definitely smart casual. It wasn't packed for an early Wednesday evening but it was ticking over. We arrived early so I would've liked to have been offered the option of having a drink in The Oval Bar downstairs but we were ushered straight to our table. The waiting staff here are exceptional. Warm, friendly and knowledgable - happy to give advice about what's in the food or what the wine's like. With the drinks came delicious warm cheese and onion bread and chilli muffins. Scrumptious. I had the early bird menu, my partner decided just to have the main. There's an excellent choice between steak & fish on the early bird menu and at €55 it's excellent value for money. Also the main dish on the early bird comes with three side dishes so there's absolutely no need to order sides for the other person. I had mussels on a sizzling platter for starters. This was good but I felt the mussels in their shells on a hot plate made them a little dry. For mains I had the scallops and my partner had the 8oz fillet. My scallops were perfect - not the slightest hint of rubber. My partner's steak was excellent - well done as requested with a tasty gravy. I've had steak elsewhere that's just as good though and I'm not sure that any steak is worth €36 but that's a personal choice. The sides are scrummy - creamed mash, creamed spinach and a huge tower of onion rings. Easily enough for four people. I had the cheese selection for dessert with homemade crackers - wonderful. The meal with a half bottle of Pouilly Fume, drinks & mineral water came to €162. For a special occasion, you can't go wrong with Shanahans. Of course the excellent steak is expected but it's all the little extras that make this a superb dining experience. My only little critique would be that front of house staff could be warmer.

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Ming' s Court
40 Grattan Sq Dungarvan, Dungarvan, Waterford

We hadn't eaten Chinese for ages cos we find they can be a bit hit and miss but we had an excellent experince at Ming's on our weekend away in Dungarven. We were warmly welcomed when we went in. The restaurant is tastefully decorated in red and gold and we got prawn crackers as soon as we sat down to nibble on. My partner had satay chicken to start. Tasty and not too spicy. I had sliced steak in black bean sauce with noddles for main. It was sizzling and tasty with crunchy veg and the noddles were stir fried with veg & egg. It was delicious. My partner who thinks anything that has veg in is poisonous ordered chicken breast in curry sauce with any onion or other veg in the sauce and plain boiled rice. That's exactly what he got and he was over the moon. The curry sauce was stunning with an aromatic aftertaste of some spice that I can't put my finger on but it was delicious. We couldn't manage dessert - I couldn't even finish my noddles which left me devastated - but with the bill we got some orange segments and grapes which proved a lovely palette cleanser. All this with two Chinese lagers for €45. Worth every penny and the toilets were spotless too. Well done. Apparently they're also open all day Sunday for lunch too.

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The Bailey Cafe Bar
Barrack Street,, Wexford, Enniscorthy, Wexford

We stopped here today for lunch on our way through Enniscorthy. How lucky were we. Four course lunch for €16.95 and it was excellent. There was a choice of starter, main course, dessert & tea/coffee. I had the veg soup and my partner had the garlic bread. Delicious. The garlic bread was home made and had butter on it - other restaurants who fob us off with the frozen stuff - please note!. The veg soup was home made & delicious with a side of brown bread & butter. That would've be a good lunch in itself but then the main courses arrived. Roast beef and turkey and ham with veg, potatoes & gravy. No gristle, no fat - just good quality meat & veg. I had the profiteroles for desset. My partner couldn't manage a dessert at all. I also saw someone else having the apple pie which looked delicious. It was busy for lunch but that in no way affected the service offered by the excellent staff. Everyone was asked if they had enough to eat or if they needed a tea top up. No one was rushed and the food arrived promptly. I'd go back to Enniscorthy just to eat here again. Well done everyone involved at the Bailey.

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Gilbert's Restaurant & Townhouse
11 Pearse Square, Cobh, Cork

Unless you want to eat in a pub, there's a limited choice of eating places in the centre of Cobh. Sunday was a busy day with a liner in the Port. We went to Gilberts for a late lunch at about 3.30pm but it wasn't packed. They run specials until 5pm on a Sunday. The decor is modern and the atmosphere is relaxed. There was two waiting staff and an older man who could possibly be the owner. He's exceptional - warm, attentive & despite the fact that he was rushed off his feet, made sure he asked every table how their food was. The complete antithesis of his staff who were pleasant enough but seemed to be a bit sleepy. Anyway I had the salmon & monkfish & my partner had the burger. My fish was delicious but the portion was tiny - both pieces of fish were approx large egg size. They were served on a bed of beetroot, green beans & pesto with a side of potatoes and carrots. It was delicious but for €14.95 it just wasn't worth it. The burger was €12.95. Scrummy too - homemade mince & onion mix with fries and mixed green leaves. So both main and one Coke ( €2.40 ) came to €30.30. Good food but too expensive for a Sunday lunch.

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Zanzibaar
34 Patrick Street, Cork City, Cork

Excellent.

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Milano (Clarion Quay)
Unit 6, Excise Walk, Clarion Quay, Dublin 1, City Centre, IFSC, Dublin

Our group consisted of 2 adults & one child on a fairly quiet Wednesday evening. They do a children's menu for €8.60 which is dough balls, pizza or pasta & an ice cream. The child's pizza is the size of a side plate. The food here is average - there are certainly much better pizza/pasta places in the immediate area - but the restaurant is spacious and airy. I had the Pollo Verdure - that's chicken cubes & veg with spinach & rocket & dressed with honey & mustard & balsamic vinegar. It was fine. The child menu pleased my 7 year old menu which is always good. The main problem with Milano is the service which is unbelievably slow. 40 minutes wait to get a main course salad and a child's pizza is not acceptable. This was not my first visit to Milanos but it's definitely my last because while I could tolerate the mediocre food, when it's coupled with lenghty waits on a quiet night, I'd choose to go somewhere where the food & service is better.

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Cape Greko (Malahide)
Unit 1 First Floor, New Street, Malahide, Malahide, Dublin

I was surprised that this restaurant wasn't busier at 6pm on a busy Saturday evening in Malahide - just us and one other couple so there was no atmosphere to speak of. It's deceptively spacious upstairs. Service was brisk. The food is delicious - all home made I was told. There's an option of the early bird or the a la carte. The early bird is two courses for €18 or 3 courses for €21. Most of the dishes on the a la carte are on the early bird so that's a no brainer. My partner had the early bird two course - keftedes which is mildly spicy turkey croquettes, 3 in total with a tomato sauce dip. Crisp & tasty. I had hummus to start with and it was excellent. For mains my partner had Beef Stifado (stew) on a bed of couscous. This also comes with a side order of chips or garlic potatoes or salad which isn't necessary as the portion is more than adequate. I had the seafood platter. Now this is a starter for two people but I had it as my main. This dish was worth the visit alone. Crab meat, 3 pieces of kalamaris, two mussels, two king prawns and salad with black & green olives and a garlic mayo dip (not necessary). Genuine fresh seafood & worth every cent of €19.95. From this visit, I couldn't imagine having a long leisurely meal here but the food is definitely worth at least one visit.

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Shack Restaurant
24 East Essex Street, Dublin 2 , City Centre, Temple Bar, Dublin

Attention all non tourists. What a little gem this is in Temple Bar. It advertises itself as a traditional Irish restaurant and it was fairly quiet for a Sunday afternoon. The service is prompt and polite. Importantly, toilets were spotless. The menu has a good variety of fare from steak to seafood to beef & guinness pie. Wines come by the bottle, half bottle and glass. The lager available is draft Carlsberg. At 4pm we were still in time for the lunch menu which runs til 5pm. I had the open chicken sandwich and my partner had the all day breakfast. Both were delicious. The sandwich was a full breast of grilled chicken with pesto dressing on a thick slice of walnut and raisin brown bread and side salad. Really tasty. I would've been happy with the bread alone. The breakfast was two fried eggs and grilled sausages, bacon, black & white pudding, tomatoes, toast & tea, All this with a side order of chips and a glass of Carlsberg for €22.00. They also do an early bird - 3 courses for €14.95 which we'll definitely be returning to try.

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Bar Italia (IFSC)
Lower Mayor Street, Custom House Square, IFSC, City Centre North, Dublin

This is a little gem in the IFSC. There's a heated outdoor area to the front facing the National College. Inside it's spacious and airy. The service is prompt, polite and unhurried but everything pales when you're presented with the superb quality of food here. Last night was my third visit in about 7 weeks. Their pizzas are arguably the best in Dublin - wafer thin base with a good balance of toppings. Up until 6pm, they offer any pizza or pasta plus a glass of house wine for €12. After 6pm, they do an exceptional value fixed price menu - three courses plus tea/coffee and a glass of house wine for €25. Try their mushroom stuffed ravioli in a cream & truffle oil sauce or their succulent chicken breast stuffed with spinach & pancetta or their risotto. All very different but mouthwatering. Their antipasto misto starter is easily big enough for two with a varied selection of cold meats, cheeses & roasted vegs. I only had room left to share a dessert of profiteroles - little balls of cream filled heaven. They also do a take away delicatessan service. Remember though that this is not a fast food restaurant & it can take about 15 to 20 mins for the main course to arrive. It's well worth the wait

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Tibor's Bistro
11B Vernon Avenue, North Dublin, Clontarf, Dublin

We were only one of two couples here at 4pm on a Sunday during their early bird period so there was no atmosphere to speak of. I don't think a TV showing sports is necessary in a brasserie. The staff are warm and friendly. Two courses for €19.95, three courses for €24.95. There's a choice from three starters, five mains including one vegetarian option and three desserts. We were offered a selection of breads after our order was taken. It was delicious and for me this was better than a starter. My partner had pate & steak. I had fish cakes & banana cake. The pate came with white sliced pan toasted, not melba toast as advertised. My partner wasn't impressed with the rib eye steak. He felt it was tasteless and fatty. The homemade chips with skins on were delicious. Two fish cakes with two swirls of mashed potatoes and some leaves tasted fine but not exceptional. Again the garlic and herb butter advertised didn't appear on the plate. If you're very hungry you'd need a side dish with this. The warm banana cake dessert was good but the ice cream didn't taste home made though. All in all Tibors is nothing exceptional and in the current climate there are just too many other better value places around with better food.

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Kealys of Cloghran
Old Airport Road, (Off Airport Roundabout), North Dublin, Cloghran, Dublin

This is an ideal spot for a meal before or after a trip to Dublin airport. On a Friday lunchtime it was busy but not packed. The service was efficient and polite. I had the special which was cod & chips. It was delicious. It tasted hot & freshly cooked. The fish was battered but the batter was light and crisp and not grease soaked. If it wasn't home made, it was a superior frozen product. My partner had chicken goujons and a portion of wedges. The goujons actually tasted like chicken. Be warned though - the portion of wedges is easily enough for two people. They also do the best cup of tea here. A pot with two tea bags for one person - how tea should be. The toilets were spotless too. As pubs go, Kealys is not the cheapest place to eat but the quality of the food is worth that little bit extra.

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The Rockfield Lounge
Wyckham Way, Dundrum, Dublin

I've just had lunch in this pub. I can't believe this place has only been open for a few years. It looks dingy and didn't smell too sweet - despite the cooked food aromas. Also the country & western music blaring out doesn't add to the atmosphere. Anyway I selected from the menu but there was a carvery option too. From what we got and what I saw being served to others, all the food here is frozen. Now you'd think it wouldn't be hard to get a range of cooked frozen food right but clearly it is. I ordered cod goujons. I received a large piece of overcooked battered fish. They didn't even have the courtesy to tell me beforehand that goujons weren't available. This was accompanied by frozen chips and a side salad which was good in itself but why was there a big dollop of coleslaw on it. I didn't want to risk trying my friend's lasagne (also with chips) but she commented that it was just ok. Yes this place is cheaply priced - € 8.95 for a lunch -but the food quality is poor.

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The Italian Connection
95 Talbot Street, City Centre North, Dublin

I've eaten here quite a few times now and I've found it can be very hit & miss. My most recent visit last Saturday was more of a miss. I had the chicken chilli pasta special with garlic bread priced at € 10.95.. The dish was edible but it was destroyed with too much salt . The garlic bread was shocking. Garlic bread should taste of butter and garlic. This was two huge thick chunks of dry and tasteless baguette. My partner had mushroom pasta which was very good. Yes it's reasonably priced here but because the quality can be a bit of a lottery I'm reluctant to call it good value. The staff are efficient and the service is lightning speed. It's probably an ideal venue for a quick pizza or pasta before the cinema or theatre.

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Dew Drop Inn
(Centre of) Kill Village, Naas, Naas, Kildare

What a delightful change the Dew Drop is from the now compulsory "Carvery". We went there on Sunday for Father's Day. There's a varied choice of starters but we went straight for the main courses. One of our party wanted an adult's portion of the kids pasta meal and it was absolutely no problem at all for them. It was also delicious. When a restaurant can be this accommodating, I believe it's because the food is freshly prepared and this get top marks from me. We also had the turkey and beef main courses. Both these came with veg served on seperate dishes and all were piping hot. The portions aren't huge - it's quality over quantity thankfully. I couldn't resist the sticky toffee pudding. It was warm & squidgy & heavenly.The presentation was faultless with a scoop of ice cream in a wafer basket & a tease of fresh cream garnished with a strawberry. We also had the warm apple pie & custard - served in sauce boat. Although it was busy we didn't feel rushed at all. The staff here deserve a special mention. They're attentive & friendly even when their patience is severely tested. The Dew Drop was a very pleasant surprise and definitely worth a visit.

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Il Vignardo
Beresford Hotel, 21 Store Street, City Centre North, IFSC, Dublin

I have no idea why this little gem of a restaurant isn't packed to the rafters every night. Sometimes early bird and set price menus mean smaller portions or poorer quality. Not so at Il Vignardo. On my most recent visit, we had the early bird - ideal if you're going out afterwards. I had smoked salmon tagliatelle which had generous pieces of smoked salmon & spinach in a cream sauce. This dish was a delight - well balanced and the sauce was light with just enough for the dish. I hate when dishes are swimming in sauce. My friend had pizza Margherita. This is how pizza should be done I think. Hot and fresh with a thin crust but not too thin and healthy amounts of tomato and cheese. Pizza would never be my first choice but it's so tasty there I was a little sorry I didn't have enough room for the pasta and pizza. Both these dishes are € 9.90 each during the early bird. I've had the € 20 four course menu here too and it's excellent value for money. There's a good variety of dishes to choose from. My only complaint was that I couldn't finish the dessert. I'm pleased that they serve half carafes of house wine (€10.50) - particularly nice if you're the only one drinking wine. I also like that there's a view into the kitchen where you can see the food being prepared. Staff are pleasant and efficient but not intrusive. Once the table has been cleared, you're left to relax after the meal without feeling in the way. Well done everyone at La Vignardo and please keep up the excellent standards.

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Silks Chinese Restaurant
5 The Mall , Co. Dublin, Malahide, Dublin

I'd imagine the only reason people eat here is so they can boast to their friends that they've eaten here. It certainly can't be for the food or the service. I went with five others as a guest. I'm thankful I didn't have to pay the bill because I would've expected a substantial reduction. The starters were fine - the usual array of ribs, chicken skewers, prawns wrapped in filo etc - but not exceptional, especially as it's € 12 per person for the Delight platter. My main course was utterly appalling. It was supposed to be chicken curry. What appeared was chicken pieces drowning in thick lumpy dark brown gravy that had a few teaspoons of curry powder thrown in. My host had the "honour" of paying € 19 for that. It was "presented" with this thick sauce flowing over the sides of the bowl. Disgraceful. The beef curry had the same sauce. How is that possible ?? On top of this, there's a charge of € 5 for rice - not of course that you'd be lucky enough to get a whole portion for yourself. They serve it by the tablespoon onto each plate. As there were six of us I had the chance to try a variety of dishes. All of them were better than the curry (not difficult) but nothing stood out over any other Chinese restaurant I've been in. The desserts were the usual array of bought in frozen ice cream variations that seem to be common to most Chinese restaurants. Added to all this, the service was unbelievably slow. We had to ask an average of four times before we got, for example, a water refill. Now if the place had been packed I would've completely understood service to be slow - but it was half empty and on a Saturday night too. One of the very few upsides of this recession is that people are no longer prepared to be ripped off by high prices and poor standards. Silks - please take note!

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