Restaurant Reviews from ambrosia

Status: Guru

Credibility Score:
52.5%

County: Wicklow

No. of Reviews: 47

Member Since: 02 August 2007

Last Visit: 09 September 2018

The Best Restaurant

Carpe Diem restaurant

5A Albert Avenue, Bray, Bray, Wicklow

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Cuisine:
Italian

Price Range:

Great
7 reviews

Reviewed 15th July 2017 ( visited 07th July 2017 )

An utter gem: gorgeous authentic artisan Italian food in such a warm and happy vibe. They have three hot main courses every night - authentic regional Italian food, changing weekly, and a range of exquisitely presented delicatessen platters. I have had some of the most divine desserts in here - the best panna cotta I have ever tasted, the Italian dessert Suppe Inglese. Talented chefs. Lovely coffee, great wine by the glass, but best of all is the atmosphere created by the warm, friendly guys who own and run this place so marvellously - it feels like a club that you are a member of. Highly recommended.
Most Visited Restaurant

Carpe Diem restaurant

5A Albert Avenue, Bray, Bray, Wicklow

View on Map

Cuisine:
Italian

Price Range:

Great
7 reviews

Reviewed 15th July 2017 ( visited 07th July 2017 )

An utter gem: gorgeous authentic artisan Italian food in such a warm and happy vibe. They have three hot main courses every night - authentic regional Italian food, changing weekly, and a range of exquisitely presented delicatessen platters. I have had some of the most divine desserts in here - the best panna cotta I have ever tasted, the Italian dessert Suppe Inglese. Talented chefs. Lovely coffee, great wine by the glass, but best of all is the atmosphere created by the warm, friendly guys who own and run this place so marvellously - it feels like a club that you are a member of. Highly recommended.
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Caffe Ragazzi
Audrey Court, Bray, Ireland, Bray, Wicklow

Small menu of very good authentic Italian food, friendly staff, lovely atmosphere. Always full and you can see why if you eat there. The ricotta and spinach cannelloni is divine.

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Daata Tandoori
Strand Rd, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Bray, Wicklow

Absolutely brilliant authentic Indian food, a gorgeous interior and friendly staff. One of the best places to eat in Bray.

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The Pantry & Corkscrew Restaurant & Cafe
The Octogan, Westport, Mayo

Divine food in a gorgeous quirky space with warm staff. The food is truly inspired here - artisan local produce made into exquisite dishes by a truly talented chef. I had homemade gnocci that was so divine I still dream of it - "handmade summer herb gnocci with walnut and roasted red pepper pesto and Aran Island feta" - it was so soft, melt-in-the-mouth, unctuous, with a delicious sauce. Partner had spanking fresh local fish. They are a slow food restaurant and are recommended by all the right guides - deservedly so. Go there.

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Carpe Diem
5A Albert Avenue, Bray, Bray, Wicklow

An utter gem: gorgeous authentic artisan Italian food in such a warm and happy vibe. They have three hot main courses every night - authentic regional Italian food, changing weekly, and a range of exquisitely presented delicatessen platters. I have had some of the most divine desserts in here - the best panna cotta I have ever tasted, the Italian dessert Suppe Inglese. Talented chefs. Lovely coffee, great wine by the glass, but best of all is the atmosphere created by the warm, friendly guys who own and run this place so marvellously - it feels like a club that you are a member of. Highly recommended.

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1909
31 Castle Street, Dalkey, Dublin

A real find. Our food was utterly delicious, properly cooked, and beautifully presented. We found the staff charming and attentive. Table d'hote was good value as portions are large so you can share a starter and pudding.

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Eithna's By The Sea
Mullaghmore, Mullaghmore, Sligo

Excellent seafood, lovely interior and friendly staff. We had an excellent starter of crabmeat mixed with avocado with a tomato salsa, and our turbot main courses were excellent - a very large portion of spanking fresh turbot, served with excellent new potatoes in their skins and vegetables. The turbot was not cheap at 26 Euro but was delicious. The interior of this restaurant is beautiful and the staff are very friendly and relaxed - however, there needs to be more communication between the kitchen and waiting staff - we were given menus and not told that two of the main fish dishes on a short menu were not available (despite it being early evening) - we were only told this, having spent time picking those two dishes, when we went to order... in addition, the turbot was meant to come with garlic potatoes and we were not told when we ordered that these had run out too - so we were given new potatoes in their skins instead... However, the staff were so very charming and the chef cooked us a garlic potatoes especially, which was presented half-way through our meal, and so we ended up with a big potato feast and were quite happy. They have nice attention to detail too in presentation and the beautiful use of edible flowers in their dishes. So all in all, a lovely treat and a very pleasant experience.

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Carpe Diem
5A Albert Avenue, Bray, Bray, Wicklow

A super friendly and atmospheric authentic little Italian cafe / restaurant that serves great food with quality ingredients and attention to detail. You can sit at the bar or a little table and sip a coffee, prosecco, wine or craft beer, and you can also have delicious snacks such as panini or piadina with buffalo mozzarella and other Italian craft foods, pizza slices, pasta specials (eg fettucine with prawns, courgettes and lemon zest in white wine sauce), and fish and meat dishes such as frittura mista. Great attention to detail and quality in the authentic Italian food; really relaxed and fun owners - just brilliant. I also had an amazing homemade Zuppa Inglese here (it's a kind of Italian trifle meltingly soft that contains Alchermes - an Italian liqueur) - thought I had died and gone to heaven! Carpe Diem is a great new addition to the Little Italy vibe that has hit Bray with a number of quirky new little Italian artisan restaurants opening over the last year or two. Brava!

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Mamma Mia Cafe
Aubrey Court, Parnell Road, Bray, Bray, Wicklow

The best authentic Italian food in Bray and hugely popular with locals... they have a lovely friendly atmosphere and a commitment to real quality and authenticity in their Italian food - favourite dishes for me include seafood risotto - stuffed with spanking fresh seafood and with a real depth of flavour - and an utterly gorgeous mushroom pasta that again has a real depth of flavour (porcini) and a ridiculous amount of different gourmet mushrooms in it (I think this one is about 6 Euro for lunch and possibly on the dinner menu too). I share the view of many that they also do the best pizzas in Bray. My partner recently had Melanzane alla Parmigiana, which I would usually avoid, but I have to say I thought I had died and gone to heaven, so succulent, silky and deeply tasty was it... Basically this place is reasonably priced without ever compromising on quality of ingredients, with dedicated and inspired chefs and a wonderful friendly atmosphere. Go there!

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Restaurant FortyOne
Residence, 41 St. Stephen´s Green, Dublin , City Centre South, Dublin

I cannot understand the plaudits this restaurant gets and its Restaurant of the Year award. The food is good enough but not THAT outstanding. I was there in a small group for a post-wedding lunch. With only one other couple in the restaurant, the atmosphere was a bit flat. On to the food: the scallops with strawberry and cucumber gazpacho seemed ill-conceived to me - while the scallops were perfectly cooked, the strawberry gazpacho was too strong and, well, weird a flavour to go with them, and the cucumber lent nothing to the dish. There is a reason why scallops are not usually served with strawberries... it simply does not work. The smoked salmon with granny smith apple was nice enough - a kind of hachette of smoked salmon with julienned raw apple criss-crossed on the top - but I do not think the apple added anything to the smoked salmon. With both starters I felt appearance and novelty value were too high on the agenda. My main course monkfish was lovely - perfectly cooked and others enjoyed their mains too. Most of us had the tart tatin, which was lovely - a simple dish well done. I have to say too that the set lunch menu is a reasonable price for such good quality ingredients. On to the service - we were celebrating a very special occasion and the staff knew this - however you would never have guessed it. The main reason why I will never go back to this place is the coldness of the reception. While you could not call it unfriendly, you certainly could not call it friendly. The food waiters and sommerlier were of course faultless in their service, but the lack of warmth was truly awful. The most chatty they became was when bringing the hallowed dishes to your table and trotting out the words of the description from the menu that you had already read for yourself - a vaguely embarrassing ritual. I love good food but prefer fine dining with a more informal approach - this does exist, but perhaps less so in Ireland.

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Bombay Pantry Bray
6 Castle St, Bray, Wicklow

The quality of the food here is definitely above average when compared to other Indian restaurants in the area so I am bemused by some of the reviews here. They seem to me to have a real commitment to using a wide range of fresh herbs and spices and cooking authentic regional Indian dishes, and you can really taste the difference in the food. What I like most is that the vegetables are never mushy and soft as in many Indian restaurants, but taste much more fresh and cooked to order and still have some bite and nutrition in them. We do not eat meat, but we really enjoy dishes like the new Jhinga Gobi - an utterly addictive delicious Small Plate dish of crunchy prawns with cauliflower and broccoli in a fabulous tasting light sauce. In Starters, we love Batata Vada, two potato cakes with fresh lemon, ginger and coriander, stuffed with nuts,with a tamarind dip. We love most of their vegetable main courses - as I say the flavours of the fresh herbs and spices are really vibrant and above average. I consider the prices to be good value and they also have special offers, early birds, small plates, etc. This small chain of restaurants have won a lot of awards for their food and as a Bray resident I agree with those plaudits and I am really glad that we have them in Bray.

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Mt. Everest of Kathmandu
51 Main Street, Bray, Wicklow

Highly recommended. We had an early bird in this newly opened restaurant and were expecting the usual fare, but my, were we pleasantly surprised. From the start, the professionalism and attention to every detail was there. Excellent service, delicious popadoms (not at all greasy, and with a wonderful subtle aroma and taste), lovely mango dip with a hint of cumin, and other dips all tasting so fresh with fresh herbs and spices. Starters and main courses were absolutely gorgeous, and beautifully presented... Again, the taste of fresh herbs and spices came through, perfectly balanced and unusual flavours... their paneer in the mutter paneer was absolutely delicious and melting, and their Mt. Everest vegetable dish was also lip-smackingly good. Even the pilau rice was better than usual! Nice ice-cream to end and a complimentary Sambuca. So all in all a cut above the usual Indian food - it is similar to Indian food but not perhaps so greasy... Highly recommended.

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Don Quijote
73 main st, Bray, Wicklow

Food was just kind of OK and I wish they had revamped that room, because it is the same decor and stuff on the walls as the last restaurant and still feels a bit staid and boring, not conducive to wine and tapas at all. Staff very friendly and helpful.

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Charlie's West End Cafe
West End, Ardara, Donegal

This cafe serves fantastic value meals - not gourmet, but you can get huge portions for a good price - we shared a huge fish and chips meal and a huge pot of tea (five teabags and free refills of hot water!), plus their lovely homemade soda bread, for €12 for the two of us! The fish is absolutely spanking fresh and expertly cooked in crispy batter - there were two good-sized pieces on the plate - with plenty of what I think are homemade chips. The place is basic decor-wise, but always bustling with locals and tourists alike. The staff are very friendly and work incredibly hard to serve up your food as quickly and efficiently as possible, and always return to the table to see if you are OK or need anything more - it is a tighly-run family affair and it shows. They do serve other food such as wild salmon, but when I had this last year it was overcooked and dry, so I would stick to the fish and chips and huge range of other cafe food they serve. They do great homemade desserts too along the lines of apple crumble. We also had their huge and great value Vegetarian Breakfast there with the works, but I have to say I would recommend they use a separate flat plate to cook their vegetarian breakfast on that they do not cooked meat on if they are going to call it a vegetarian breakfast!.

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Osta Cafe & Wine bar
Garavogue Weir View, (near Hyde Bridge), Stephen Street, Sligo Town, Sligo

Lovely cafe in lovely setting overlooking rushing water of the river, with really good food (divine cakes!) and nice staff. We ordered the special, tuna bruschetta (described as tuna and olives on ciabatta) - I was envisaging toasted ciabatta with tuna and olives on top of it, but when it arrived it was in fact a kind of tuna and olive tapenade with a pate type of consistency that had been cooked somehow on the ciabatta, which was a bit too hard for me. When I said I thought it was not as described and a bit too hard the staff could not have been nicer, offering me an alternative - we chose a delicious egg mayonnaise sandwich, followed by one of the most exquisitely moist and berry juice infused layered victoria sponge cakes (with strawberries and cream) that it has ever been my pleasure to taste, and a lovely strawberry tarte - yum yum!!! They also do some of their own food stuffs, such as apple jelly. Will definitely return when next in Sligo...

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Cavistons Seafood Restaurant
59 Glasthule Road, Glenageary, South Co. Dublin, Sandycove, Dublin

Had a really lovely lunch here - we only managed main courses and a few glasses of prosecco and a lovely fragrant sauvignon. We were served with good bread and a little (very nice) hummous when we arrived. My salmon was cooked to perfection (a rarity in Irish restaurants!) and a generous portion - lovely sauce and I enjoyed the accompanying new potatoes and salad - simplicity can be good with great ingredients. My sister's scallops were very good and again a very generous portion - I loved the turmeric sauce that came with them - a beautiful colour and a really nice mild turmeric taste (turmeric can be bitter if overdone, especially the fresh root)... Spouse had black sole meuniere - really lovely and lots of it... We found the staff very friendly and nicely informal - but very efficient - this created a nice relaxed atmosphere, coupled with the fact that it was the 1.30pm sitting so no distraction of people coming and going in what is a small space, and it gave a nice clubby feeling eating lunch all at the same time with a small group of other diners. I know it is a little pricey - but I think worth it for the quality of the ingredients and very good, simple but not unsophisticated cooking, and the very nice atmosphere.

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Cafe Paradiso
16 Lancaster Quay, Cork City, Cork

We had a gorgeous dinner here. The staff are welcoming, the service relaxed but professional. We felt really well looked after by the one person all night. On to the food. I know some people feel it is expensive, but if you do want to eat local, organic, top quality food sourced from local artisan producers, you will love this. We started with prosecco - very nice - and took ages perusing the menu and asking questions - we were never rushed one iota, but our server was always there to help if we needed her. We tasted some wine and chose a Minervois that was absolutely delicious - fruity and spicy - I wouldn't think you would get a bad wine here - they obviously choose their wines carefully. For starters we had pecan & blue cheese ravioli and roast portobello in a wild garlic-shallot butter - absolutely delicious and a big portion - and how lovely to see a wild foraged product put to such good use - the delicate flavour of the wild garlic butter was subtle but delicious. The roast mushrooms where a lovely foil to the silky ravioli. We also had vegetable sushi with pickled ginger, wasabi dipping sauce and tempura of cauliflower & carrot, which I wasn't sure about ordering but my, the amazing fresh flavours in the sushi and the surprisingly lovely flavour of the cauliflower just barely cooked was really good. For mains we had beetroot & wild garlic risotto with Ardsallagh fresh goat’s cheese, lemon oil, sprouting broccoli & hazelnut crumb - a beautiful deep pink confection complemented by the creamy goats cheese, lemon oil and baby broccoli. We also had roast aubergine involtini of spinach and Knockalara sheep’s cheese with tomato cardamom broth, smoked almond praline, broad beans and crushed potato cake, which was roasted aubergine wrapped around a filling of spinach and that lovely Knockalara cheese - the crispiness of the aubergine was great with the silky unctuous filling and the other bits were really lovely too. For pudding, we had a really good baklava, but the star of the show was the cardamom set custa

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Bistro One
3 Brighton Road, Foxrock Village, South Dublin, Foxrock, Dublin

Highly recommended. We had a birthday meal here and it was a really lovely experience. We felt really well looked after and the food was great and very good value at €20 for two courses from a very nice set menu. Of the starters we had, the wild mushroom and celeriac soup with walnut butter was the star - deep, velvety and utterly gorgeous. Goats cheese salad was deemed to be good, if not brilliant, chicken wings loved by the younger members of the group. For mains, those who had the pork loin thought it was really delicious and a very large portion, I loved my hake, which was perfectly cooked. They allowed two of our group to go off piste for the set menu price - one having the gurnard, which was really good with a delicious creamy celeriac puree, and another having a vegetarian pasta which she liked very much. Fish pie also got the thumbs up. Our vegetables were perfect: boiled new potatoes, home cut fries, crunchy runner beans and some kind of root vegetable puree. Our house wines, a Sauvignon and a Sangiovese, were really good for the price (€21?), with the Sauvignon having a lovely flowery Muscat bouquet. As I have said, we felt exceptionally well looked after by the staff - excellent discreet service exactly when you needed it (though some may not like having their wine glass automatically replenished). You could not fault the welcoming and friendly staff for their attention to detail and top notch service. We had brought a birthday cake and the staff not only brought it out with candles and cut it up to serve, they also plated up each slice beautifully with chocolate sauce and a birthday message piped on the one for the Birthday Girl. All in all, the food here is a cut above, the service excellent, the atmosphere very relaxing, and the set menu exceptional value. Highly recommended.

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Pinocchio Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
Luas Kiosk, Ranelagh Village, Dublin 6, Ranelagh, Dublin

This is a nice little place where they try to do more authentic Italian food than most, which is always deserving of support. My pasta with salmon and brandy sauce was really delicious and I could not fault it. Husband had ravioli with porcini and truffle oil, which was not bad - we understand that pasta should be al dente, but perhaps this was a little too much so, making it somewhat too hard and chewy, especially as the filling was quite dry too, and the sauce perhaps could have had more depth of flavour - it tasted just like cream and did not blend with the pasta. There was, however, a lovely flavour of the truffle oil on the top! Service was friendly, . but they brought my husband's drink and forgot my prosecco, which I had to ask for again after 10 minutes, and the salad we ordered never showed up. All in all though a good place with a nice atmosphere and good food. When I ate there before we ate different pasta but I remember we really liked it, so we will be back.

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Las Tapas
Old Bray Road,, Cabinteely Village, South Dublin, Cabinteely, Dublin

Great atmosphe and exceptionally friendly and welcoming staff are the highlights of this small, cosy tapas bar. Did feel however that the food was not in any way special, but if you want to have a great time, nice cocktails, very good value wine and are happy with fairly plain food, eg fish or vegetables in crispy batter, you could do a lot worse!

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Joe's Seafood Bar
Dawros Bay House, Rosbeg, Ardara, Donegal

What a find! This atmospheric little traditional bar is in a lovely old house by the sea in its own grounds, in an out of the way spot with beautiful views over a little bay. The atmosphere is so welcoming and relaxed, with the whole famiy being involved in looking after you, you feel you have come into somebody's house. But the real star is the food: Joe is a seriously talented chef who prepares gorgeous fresh local seafood with real flair - his attention to detail and handle on modern cooking is impressive. It's also great value for the quality. We had lobster salad, which was very good value and delicious (the local man who had caught the lobster that day was at the bar!) and the seafood platter was a delight with lovely smoked salmon, prawns, crabmeat, etc. and a lovely little pot of mussels in a gorgeous broth, and also a most perfectly cooked piece of very fresh salmon. We had a few glasses of a lovely organic Sauvignon too. You can hang in the intimate little bar then for the craic and maybe a bit of music and then maybe stay in one of the two beautiful rooms - the family are gradually renovating this old house which has been their home for years, so they will soon be able to offer more rooms. This quirky and laid back little place is a real gem - totally informal and down to earth - and they deserve to do well.

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The Arch Bistro
Above the Glenside Pub, Landscape Road, South Dublin, Churchtown, Dublin

Having negotiated the garish 'Irish' exterior of the pub, the first thing to say is that the staff were very friendly and helpful in a relaxed kind of way; we felt really welcome and looked after, which was lovely. We also felt really comfortably cocooned in the booths - so a really nice atmosphere in that respect. On to the food - on our particular deal we could have either soup and main, or main and dessert. We both ordered the seafood chowder but after eating a bit I realised there was bacon in it, which was not great as I haven't eaten meat for many years now. I can't say for sure if it said in the menu about the bacon so perhaps I should have read it more carefully - I just don't remember seeing it (different menu to the one online here). The soup seemed nice though apart from that. I wasn't able to have the french onion soup either as it had meat stock, but I wouldn't have known this had I not specifically checked. I think this should be clearly stated on the menu. Lots of people will eat fish but not meat. My main was monkfish slices perched on a pomme anna, which was nice, with green beans (nicely squeaky) and a kind of finely chopped ratatouille, which was really delicious. I felt the pesto round the edge of the plate struck a wrong note - it was just the wrong flavour to go with the other flavours on the plate. My friend had the pork belly which she seemed to like. For pudding I had the white chocolate trifle and I really enjoyed it. We had a bottle of the house white, which was not bad at all. Overall, a lovely relaxed but efficient atmosphere is the main memory, with nice food. I would like the menu to say when food is either not vegetarian or has meat stock, bacon or whatever in it. Several of the fish and non-meat dishes had little bacon timebombs tucked away somewhere in the background, or meat stock. All in all though they are lovely and try really hard with the food, it is good value and they deserve to do well.

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Bar Italia
26 Blooms Lane , Lower Ormond Quay, City Centre North, Italian Quarter, Dublin

We had a late afternoon Easter Sunday meal here. First thing to say is that our young waiter was really friendly and helpful. I started with a glass of Prosecco, which was flat, but this was quickly and happily changed for a fresh one. For starters son had garlic bread and we had crostina allegria with different Italian patés such as tapenade, which were nice. While it's good that they make their own bread (as I understand it) it seemed to be a very soft bread so even when toasted I thought it was a bit too cakey for this dish, but I guess this is a matter of personal taste. Main courses: son chose the seafood risotto and he liked it very much - lots of lovely shellfish - however I thought the risotto rice itself lacked a bit of depth of flavour. Spouse had ravioli with mushroom and truffle, which was really good, probably the best of the three mains. I went for one of the daily specials, risotto alla crema di scampi (risotto with crayfish/shrimp pureé which I think is a Roman dish). I know this dish is made with a shrimp fumet that involves making a stock with the shells, and then mixing with a pureé of the cooked shrimps, tomato and cream, but for me the final result tasted and smelled intensely of only shrimp shell, the same smell as the little lad perched on the top, which was rather unpleasant. Also, although the risotto was cooked al dente as it should be, I felt it was a bit dry. Because of this, I didn't eat much of my main, but the two savages with me hoovered it up. We finished with profiteroles, which son loved and a really good tiramisu. With two glasses of prosecco and two pear juices, the bill came to nearly €90, which I don't consider the best value for what we had. I hope if we go back again we have better luck with our choices, because I have really enjoyed the food here in the past.

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The Larder Restaurant
8 Parliament Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

This place is really good value with attention to detail - we all had the €15 early bird - two of us the smoked salmon salad, which was great with lots of leaves and a nice dressing. The dips with houmous and olives was really nice too and the bread that came with it was unusually good (a rarity in Ireland). Two of us had the cod risotto and it was truly delivious - perfectly cooked fish and nicelyy cooked risotto with lovely flavours and intense blobs of a sundried tomato sauce around the edge - yum yum. Our friend had the salad of pears, caramelised walnuts, lambs lettuce and rocquefort - this was a problem though as it arrived as a huge plate of only rocket leaves, and so much rocket that the other ingredients were totally lost. Firstly it did not have lambs lettuce at all as advertised and secondly hot rocket leaves alone do not make a main course salad. However, my friend did not wish to complain. WIth a few glasses of really lovely house wine at €6 a glass, the bill was pleasingly low and we will definitely return!

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Green Nineteen
19 Lower Camden Street, Dublin 2, Camden Street, Dublin

Hats off to Green Nineteen for their gorgeous chips - why is it so rare that chefs are prepared to make chips from actual real potatoes that they chop up themselves - these were really good. We both ordered the (vegetarian) chilli bean burrito with monteray jack cheese etc and really enjoyed it. It came with aforementioned chips and a small but nice portion of leaves. It was also a large portion, which is nice if you are hungry, but not at all spicy if that sort of thing matters to you. I really appreciate what they are trying to do here - a small focused menu with mains priced at €10. No fish on the menu, which is unusual. It would be lovely some time to see something like a nice vegetarian risotto or pasta, but only it if was really special and properly done - with such a small menu there is no room for padding and every dish must shine. So well done to them. Staff friendly enough, but when the big thing that holds the toilet roll holders in it flew off the wall and crashed to the floor as I was trying to extract the toilet paper, I would have preferred to have an apology rather than an oh yeah it's broken - it gave me a real shock in such a small toilet cubicle.

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La Caverna Restaurant & Wine Bar
12 Fownes Street, Dublin 2, City Centre, Temple Bar, Dublin

We ate here because we were passing by and too exhausted to walk further! It was an OK experience I guess. We had mozzarella and tomato salad to share for starter - it wasn't bad. Main courses: I picked the smoked salmon pasta despite reservations about the creamy blue cheese sauce, but in fact it was quite nice. My friend had pasta with chicken, which she said was OK, except for the chunks of (red?) pepper. Our two glasses of prosecco and several vodkas and mixers pushed the bill up quite a lot so it was fairly expensive and I do feel I could have gotten better Italian food for the price elsewhere. Still in fairness it wasn't too bad. The superlatives in the menu are a bit tiresome and do not inspire confidence as it feels they are trying a bit hard to talk up the food! (enticing and mouthwatering combinations smothered in...etc). So you could do worse than eat here, but you could also do way better...

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Brasserie Sixty6
66/67 Great South Georges Street, Dublin 2 , City Centre South, Dublin

Not bad at all. We ate the early bird at €21.90 a head for two courses sharing starter and pud. We were able to add a glass of house red for €4 a head, which was great as it was a really drinkable Portuguese red. The starter we ordered was a caesar salad with grilled fresh sardines - however what arrived was a caesar salad with chicken - as they were flat pieces of chicken covered in thick dressing I thought they were sardine and almost tasted a bit, which would have been a pity as I have not eaten meat for about 25 years. I didn't feel the waiter was that convinced we had not ordered the wrong thing but I know I was 100% clear about it when ordering as it is always important to be clear when you don't eat meat. No other complaints about the staff really - they were pleasant enough. The salad when it arrived was good - a large portion with nice dressing and lovely sardines - though it was still a somewhat strange combination. On to mains and we had cep tortellini with spinach, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, basil pesto and parmesan shavings. This was OK but lacked depth of flavour - basically we both thought it was disappointingly bland - if the cep flavour had been a bit stronger it would have been nice - the filling needed more depth of flavour from something anyway. The crab and prawn risotto on the other hand was so remarkably delicious that we were fighting over it to the last bite. The flavour was indescribably delicious - who would have thought that tarragon would work so well with this combo - and the depth of flavour in the dish was good - maybe good fish stock. The only thing I will say is that the prawns may have been a bit superfluous and the risotto was definitely over-cooked as it didn't have the slight bite it should have had. Our sticky toffee pudding was quite OK - what you might expect - nice sauce and vanilla ice-cream with it. On balance we would probably eat here again.

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Alexis Bar And Grill
17 / 18 Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

Food has been a mixed experience last few times we have been here, which is a shame as the room and staff are lovely and the staff are also lovely. We usually eat from the early bird but if you do not eat meat it soon becomes boring. We started with mushroom risotto with truffle oil - the flavours were very good but the rice was a bit overcooked, so mushy in the mouth rather than just slightly al dente as it should be. Cod gougons: nothing to complain about but a bit of a pedestrian dish. For mains we had the pasta parcels with walnut sauce - lovely flavours, but again the pasta being overcooked was a bit of a disappointment. Partner didn't fancy pasta and only other choice if you don't eat meat was fish with a herb crust, which last time we had it was just like gritty sand in the mouth - most peculiar! So waitress suggested a larger portion of the cod gougons with chips and peas, which was very kind, but in the end it was a very uninspiring dish (though homemade chips appreciated). Other main, the pork, was pronounced very good indeed, so tender it just fell apart. Puddings were really good - the pear and almond tart with creme anglaise and flourless Valrhona chocolate cake were lovely - particularly the tart which had really lovely crisp pastry... all in all a reasonable place, but it would be nice to see the set menu changing more, or more specials and on a short menu every dish needs to be an absolute winner.

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Little Caesars (Harcourt Street)
The Harcourt Hotel, 59 Harcourt Street, City Centre South, Dublin

We ate here as a family group and had a lovely time. This is not gourmet Italian fare, but not bad for the price and very good value for a family. You won't find fine breads and home made pasta, but everybody enjoyed their food. The mozzarella in the tomato and mozzarella salad was the square kind you use on pizzas, which is a shame, but our pastas and steaks were fine - penne al salmone had nice chunks of salmon and was a generous portion. Pizzas were pronounced nice by all, and the steak (although they brought the wrong one and no sauce) was quite good. Desserts were the menu of bought in ice creams with the photos, but they did also have a homemade tiramisu and one other homemade dessert. Staff were friendly enough. So all in all if you want to have a good value meal for a family group you could do worse than consider this place.

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The Conservatory Tea House
The Old School House, Laragh, Wicklow

An absolute hidden gem - really good food, lovely ambience and great value. The restaurant/cafe is based in a conservatory attached to the side of a lovely old building that is a guesthouse. The interior decor is adorable and the atmosphere friendly and welcoming, but the real star is the food. The day's menu is put up on a blackboard each day. We had a lovely fish chowder, and fishcakes - both really good, followed by a chick pea tagine kind of thing (yummy spice mixture in this) and a really unctuous well-made pumpkin risotto that was deliciously creamy with tons of parmesan. For puds we had a lovely sticky toffee pudding and because they knew it was spouse's birthday, they gave us a piece of very good chocolate cake (I'd say they used very good chocolate in this) with happy birthday written on the plate in chocolate sauce. With two big glasses of house red and cappucino, the bill was around €25 per person. Highly recommended for the quality of the food, lovely ambience and friendly, welcoming staff.

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Three Qs
Church Road, Greystones, Wicklow

Gorgeous food - great value. This place is definitely a cut above and easy to see why it has consistently good reviews from all quarters. Shame more Irish restaurants can't achieve this standard at this price. Had a Valentine's meal here - the food was absolutely delicious - there is a really inspired chef in this kitchen. The mushroom wellington with pear and parsnip gratin and tarragon and marsala cream sauce was incredibly good - a beautifully conceived and presented plate of food - every mouthful was exquisite. There is originality and care at work here, with top quality produce - even the baby potatoes we had to accompany our mains had a lovely herby and buttery flavour. My pudding with the melt in the mouth dates, mascarpone and shortbread biscuits was an intense explosion of flavour in the mouth, with the mascarpone providing a perfect foil for the figs, and the coffee infused biscuits providing a different texture - yum, yum!!! Highly recommended.

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La Dolce Vita - The Chase
Carmanhall Road, Dublin 18, Sandyford, Dublin

What a lovely little place. We stumbled upon it and saw that on Saturday and Sunday children aged 12 and under eat free before 6pm, and having two 12-year-olds with us we went in! The portions and choice they get are great (eg lasagne with special kind of potato fry things), and they get a drink too (eg Fanta). We had the early bird and we both loved the fettucine with smoked salmon, soft silky red onion and spinach and brandy sauce - delish! Nice mixed salad and chicken caesar salads for starters. The homemade desserts were absolutely gorgeous trat classics: a creamy and light delicious Tiramisu, a very good banoffi and a warm chocolate cake (not sure if this last one was homemade). But the main thing was the very friendly, relaxed but extremely efficient service. This place has a lovely personal touch, cosy intimate feel and good food - I would heartily recommend it. And that offer of kids eating free is a really great deal too...

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Heather House Hotel
Strand Road, Bray, Bray, Wicklow

Have eaten in the bar countless times and usually a good experience considering it is bar food and very reasonably priced - however last time I ate there we had the fish and chips and I specifically asked the waitress was it fresh fish. She said yes, but it clearly wasn't and it was different from any time before when I really enjoyed it. The fish this time was in a square very hard pastry case that was like thick hard filo pastry, and it was overcooked, which is the cardinal sin and so unnecessary. The chips however are also changed much for the better: seem to be thick homemade chips - yum, yum. The meal did not arrive with the salad as advertised. We only ate a mouthful of the fish, said it wasn't fresh (the waitress agreed this time that it wasn't) and that there was no salad, but the waitress was not at all bothered and we left not too happy.

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Eddie Rockets (Bray)
Bray, Bray, Wicklow

You know what you are getting at Eddie Rockets - it is an experience and you would probably only go with kids - obviously not for the food! Having said that I have always found the staff really friendly and helpful. I actually love the experience with kids because they really enjoy it - I would really recommend the veggie burger because you get the full experience with nice big bun, the thick slices of tomato and onion and that lovely american mustart that oozes out as you eat it. The chips are obviously dreadful, but we always get them with the synthetic 'cheese' sauce because, hey, it's Eddie Rockets and it sure beats giving your money to other fast food burger joints we won't mention. We also love the malted milkshakes and the excitement of waiting to see if your record choice will come round, even though you know it never will.

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Cafe Bar Deli (Bray)
51 Main Street, opposite Town Hall, Bray, Wicklow

Have eaten here several times. Manager very welcoming and friendly from the start and I have always found staff exceptionally friendly and helpful. Food not bad if you stick to the regular menu - on one occasion I had the special pasta and it was really bland - I think it had prawns and snowpeas but no other discernible flavour. Pizzas are really good, I especially liked mushroom and Cashel Blue cheese, and salmon one is really good too. Salads good, but shame they have dropped the Nicoise salad - it was very good with that posh Ortiz tuna and all the other bits perfectly combined. Tried vegetarian antipasto for lunch last time and very disappointed: the buffalo mozzarella and tomato were fine, the humous was OK, but they had a rather disgusting marinated glutinous mess that was way too vinegary - also it had lots of olives in it and there was also a ramekin of olives - overkill. The rocket was nice - maybe a few more things would have been good like piperata or olive pate. All in all though, good atmosphere and nice for a night out with the girls, or meal with kids. Dessert wine is atrocious - can't we have a Muscat de Beaunes de Venise instead? Also, what's with the set service charge for six people and over - I've never understood how it is harder to serve six people at one table - surely it is easier than at two tables???

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Sapori de Campo de Fiori
4 Albert Avenue, Bray, Wicklow

A small busy Italian cafe-deli with great atmosphere where you jostle with the many regulars to perch on a stool or even stand at the counter and partake of a lovely coffee, sandwich or plate of antipasto, or maybe a glass of Prosecco or Italian wine. Their paninis are good and you can have them stuffed with a generous amount of the many choices of fillings (you could try Asiago cheese, tomato and rocket, or maybe buffalo mozzarella, tomato and pesto, or maybe any of the fine Italian hams, salamis and meats they sell). Or you could sit up at the bar and have a plate of antipasto, whether veggie, fish or meat or a selection of all three. The staff are just great and very welcoming. Then you can stock up on Italian food to take away. Long live Sapori!

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

Yum, yum, yum! We got a take away from here and both had the Aloo Baingam, which is a main course dish with potatoes and aubergines. Words cannot describe our delight at this fabulous melt in the mouth concoction and the really above average basmati rice that accompanied it. Our peshwari nan was delicious too. Had a lovely glass of Fleurie while waiting for the food. The interior is absolutely gorgeous too and we will be back to sit down and eat as soon as possible.

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The Conservatory Bistro @ The Glenview Hotel
Glen of The Downs, Delgany, Wicklow

Tend to give carveries a wide berth, but we tipped up here on Friday lunchtime feeling really hungry and decided to give it a go - bad decision. I chose a fish pie and had it with the usual roast potatoes and mixed veg. I know it was 2pm, but I have the feeling that the food had been sitting there keeping warm for a while - the fish pie was tepid, the barely-warm roasties had that dark orangey kind of colour on one side that they get when they have been lying around for a while, the veg were not very fresh tasting or crunchy. My son had a half portion of roast beef - I don't eat meat but it looked very overcooked - not even a tinge of pink there - and the same roasties and veg. Our friend had a sandwich which was really one of those very basic sesame panini things with a wee bit of salad. Staff were very helpful and friendly and it was nice to sit outside in the sun. However, is there really any excuse for serving this quality of food? Shame because other reviewers obviously find the food in the upstairs restaurant quite good and I've had good food here at weddings.

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The Kingfisher Restaurant, Guesthouse & Apartments
166 Parnell Street, City Centre North, Dublin

Mixed experience. Ate here with my son in late afternoon. The place was packed and had a great atmosphere - like a greasy spoon with a wine licence. Lots of couples and pairs of couples having fish and chips or steak and chips with wine or beer. I ordered haddock and chips and as my son is really into his food, I asked whether the fish on the children's menu was fresh cod the same as the adult's fish but just a smaller portion (I hate kid's menus that serve junk food and the rest of the kids menu was of the chicken nugget variety). I made a point of being very specific about this, and the waitress said yes, it was the same (and somewhat irritably: "I already told you that we only serve fresh fish"). Anyway when we got our fish and chips mine was really silky and tasted fresh but his was a rectangular shape and didn't taste at all like fresh fish to me - horrible solid chewy texture. This was annoying as I was out for a treat in town with him and would have forked out for the adult's portion if I had thought the kid's one wasn't going to be fresh fish. On the plus side, the hand-cut chips were lovely, and the kid's meal was a fair size and good value - coming with a drink and jelly and ice-cream for around a fiver. Anyway, I asked the waitress again about the fish when we were paying and I thought she had a really stroppy attitude about it as if we were trying to pull a fast one, but the chef behind the counter did admit that the kid's fish wasn't the same - it's "a portion" or something. The manager overheard and to his credit he knocked a fiver off the bill. However, the stroppy attitude of the waitress did somewhat spoil the whole experience.

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The Purty Kitchen (Dun Laoghaire)
3-5 Old Dun Laoghaire Road, Co. Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

Went here for quick meal in the bar section early evening and was generally impressed with service, food and ambience. Our waitress knew we had to get in and out fast and she was very efficient and attentive with just right amount of cordiality - top marks. On to the food: my son had calamari and it was fine (which I guess means not too rubbery or greasy). The salad that came with it was really exceptional - lots of exciting leaves in there like beet - this kind of detail is important and mum and dad were tucking into it too - of course all garnish/leaves should be like this but they often aren't. For mains dad and son had fish and chips (the young lad a half portion) and this was a mixed bag: the fish was really nice and fresh and moist, cooked in breadcrumbs and nice thin pieces instead of the usual thick dry lump of cod. Chips - not sure if these are 'hand cut', but they had an unpleasant taste - wonder do they use good oil like groundnut and change it regularly? I had the special, which was halibut with a kind of caviar crust and some softened julienne cucumber - which worked really well - and a nice sauce, but I really loved the wilted vegetables underneath - absolutely delicious mix of unusual vegetables with just right amount of unctuousness and crunch. The fish I thought was a teeny bit dry, but I know it is a meaty kind of fish and I forgot this or I probably wouldn't have ordered it. The new spuds that came with my fish were mixed - some tasted fresh and al dente but a few tasted totally different, being soft and mushy and not fresh tasting - but at least they weren't swimming in butter as is the norm. We had no time for puddings but they sounded good. So a bit of a mixed bag but some very nice attention to detail for what is pub grub at pub grub kind of prices. They need to keep paying attention to all the details, like the chips and spuds. All in all, good value meal. Also, you can get a glass of decent wine without having to get one of those dumb little quarter bottles.

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Gotham Cafe
8 South Anne Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

Bit disappointing. Eight of us celebrated our son's birthday here in the early evening. The four teenagers were happy enough, but the adults were decidedly underwhelmed. Overall I got the impression that the staff were trying to do their best, but the whole operation wasn't being run like a tight ship at all. It was just we never knew who was serving our table and it was hard to get the reluctant attention of a different server each time we needed something - we didn't feel looked after and when you did get someone it felt like they hadn't a minute for you to hesitate over anything. On to the food - I was expecting it to be a bit better than a burger and pizza joint, but it isn't really. Kids had garlic bread - they were happy. One adult had soup, which was a curry soup and really quite nice. I had Caesar salad - was fine as far as these things go - nice crisp leaves and loads of pine nuts, croutons and few garlic shavings. On to mains - young ones had bangers and mash and pizza and seemed happy enough. I had pasta with smoked salmon and shrimps - it was really not up to much - the shrimps were those teeny little things that are just a really bad idea for any dish and just plain annoying - why not leave the dish with just the smoked salmon and put more of it, because there wasn't much in it? Another adult had a steak, which she said was fine. Adult no. three ordered a cobb salad and was very disappointed. The avocado in the salad was rock hard - completely unripe and inedible. As an example of the level of service, the waitress' response to this was that the chef said that all the avocados that came in that day were unripe - hello???!!! We had brought a cake with us, which the staff put two candles on and brought out, and they sang Happy Birthday, which was nice. All in all, I guess if you want a snack that is OK and a nice lively atmosphere, this place might do you.

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Sanam Tandoori (Wicklow)
19 Castle Street Shopping Centre, Bray, Wicklow

Really nice people, but I am sorry to say that what used to be a just OK Indian has gone seriously downhill since they became 'multi-cuisine'. I was in with a sick child all day and ordered a take-away from them against my better judgment as they are close and I wanted something quick. So my expectations weren't high. However, you could say in a way they exceeded my expectations. The food was for the most part absolutely dire. For starters I had Tandoori King Prawn. Now I'm familiar with how delicious marinated prawns cooked in a proper tandoori can taste, but these were hugely disappointing - so much so that I only ate one, even though they were quite expensive. Basically the prawns were a lurid colour, no nice tandoori flavour or texture, and were so overcooked that they were practically like flavourless mush in the mouth - disgusting! On to main courses: it is nearly beyond belief that they can describe as "fresh cod" a small piece of bread crumbed fish that looks remarkably like the stuff you get ten to a packet in the supermarket freezer - they told me on the phone that it was fresh fish but I am not convinced. The chips were of course packet chips, but I expected that. I ask you, would you be happy to pay €10.50 for that? I could have got a piece of frozen fish out of my own freezer and stuck it in the oven. On to the salmon - this was OK and quite a lot of fish, unlike the cod. The one highlight of the meal was the mash that it was served on - lovely mash with grainy mustard in it - yum, yum!!! All in all I would say avoid this place. If you want a nice take away.

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Pizzas n Cream
Albert Walk, Bray, Wicklow

Sorry folks but there is nothing good to say about this place. The food is dire and the service is even worse. Went here again recently against my will with some young people in our party who chose it, hoping it might have improved. To say it is slapdash is an under-statement. After waiting ages for the food we got different dishes to the ones we ordered, and they weren't that bothered about their mistakes. What food we did get wasn't worth eating. Aside from the poor quality of the food, there never seems to be anyone in charge here and it shows in the service.

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Dusty Millers
Westbourne Hotel, Quinsboro Road, Bray, Wicklow

Not the worst; not the best. They don't have inspired cooking at all. It is basic pub grub but that said if you pick carefully you can get to eat OK. An example would be the smoked salmon salad, which is large and fresh and crispy with mixed leaves, peppers etc. and nice dressing, with a huge amount of smoked salmon - there is definitely some care in the presentation of this dish. I cannot at all agree that this place has a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Brisk and just about civil would sum it up better...sometimes friendly on a good day.

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Avoca Handweavers
Kilmacanogue, Bray, Bray, Wicklow

Quality, flair and talent are the hallmarks of this cafe restaurant. Those of us who live in Bray have to travel to Kilmacanogue to get this quality of lunchtime food because the food in the cafes in Bray is generally of such a deplorable standard (and I include new arrivals in this!). It should be simple to achieve these standards but apparently it is not. In Avoca they really care about their food, sourcing really good quality ingredients and putting them together well in delicious dishes. Their bakes, savoury tartes, pastries and puddings with fresh fruit are to die for. So people don't complain about the prices, because the quality is way, way above the other choices available locally (though Happy Pear in Greystones is flying the flag too).

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Mochaccinos
Castle St Shopping Centre, Bray, Wicklow

This is a small friendly cafe. The food is pretty standard cafe fare, but whatever they do, they do it with some attention to detail - and the couple that own it are always there to ensure that the service is good. Not, as they say, worth a detour, but not bad if you're in Castle Street and need to grab a coffee or sandwich.

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Campo de' Fiori Bistro Market
1 Albert Avenue, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Bray, Wicklow

The Campo is among the best eateries in Bray. That is because they really care about the quality of their ingredients and know how to prepare them - and you don't get a lot of that in our town. One simple example would be the Antipasti del Contadino - a selection of cold starters on one dish - where the quality of the ingredients shines through - e.g. a heavenly chestnut honey that delights your tongue and very good Italian cheeses - or the fish version includes delicious fresh anchovies. Add to this a really great atmosphere and you can see why it's packed every night. It really reminds me of the Italian restaurants I went to in Tuscany - very authentic and charming. Highly recommended, particularly in view of the dearth of good restaurants in Bray.

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Shelby's Brasserie
73 Main Street, Bray, Wicklow

A huge joy to the discerning diners of Bray! This is what we have been waiting for: a restaurant with a warm, relaxed ambience, and brilliant food perfectly cooked. It is also exceptional value for the quality of the food. Definitely now the best eaterie in Bray.

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