Restaurant Reviews from bleu

Status: Connoisseur

Credibility Score:
52.5%

County: Dublin

No. of Reviews: 28

Member Since: 18 March 2008

Last Visit: 10 January 2011

The Best Restaurant

The French Paradox Wine Shop & Wine Bar restaurant

53 Shelbourne Road, Dublin 4, Ballsbridge, Dublin, Area Code: Dublin 4

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Cuisine:
Bistro

Price Range:

Good
54 reviews

Reviewed 17th November 2008 ( visited 14th November 2008 )

Had late lunch on friday at the French Paradox and it was an ideal choice. We sat upstairs by the window and relaxed completely. The husband and wife team who own the vintners/restaurant are charming and engaging and quite obviously in love with the food and wine they serve. Foie gras was what we had gone for and our only real disappointment was that there is no pan fried foie gras on the lunch menu (only at dinner) so we settled for mi-cuit - not too much of a hardship but expensive at €18. A salad of gesiers and the confit of duck followed. The duck was splendid; soft and falling of the bone with a crunchy sticky skin. Without doubt the best I have had in Ireland. The geziers are practically impossible to get anywhere here and the salad was really delicious. As it was lunchtime wine was not consumed but an earlier visit confirmed the quality of interesting wine stocked. An establishment to be highly recommended. They do cheaper dishes of the day etc but the reason for going is to indulge in the foie gras or duck in any of its myriad forms and that is rather more expensive - for a well earned and occasional treat!
Most Visited Restaurant

Ocean Bar restaurant

The Millenium Tower, Charlotte Quay, Ringsend, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin, Area Code: Dublin 4

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Cuisine:
European

Price Range:

Good
57 reviews

Reviewed 23rd February 2009 ( visited 22nd February 2009 )

Went for brunch yesterday (sunday) at about 1pm. A year ago this would have meant a queue, hit and miss service and little chance of not sitting on a pouffe! 'Though the food was nearly always good and from a menu on which there was always more than one thing you wanted. The food is still good just more plentiful and cheaper! (The silver lining to the recession.) The place was not full and there were tables for all comers on arrival. We were 3 and sat at one of the large couch affairs. The decor is still shabby but not dirty (as it was on a previous occasion); the staff are still extremely pleasant and friendly and still overly laid back - waiting for the bill etc. Our orders were taken reasonable promptly 'though - proper brunch stalwarts: eggs benedict; french toast, eggs, bacon and syrup and a parmesan omelette with spinach. On arrival, I was given a wrap instead of the eggs but they were quickly produced (from another order I suspect) and were delicious. The french toast was also great. The omelette came with smoked salmon which my companion had not realised but was taken away and reproduced as a spinach only omelette without demur and with apology! There were 3 eggs and 3 slices of bacon in the eggs benedict; nice hollandaise and some baby spinach for good measure. At €8.50 and big enough to be the main meal of the day, it was excellent value. Am looking forward to heading back for brunch, the views and the value.
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The Cellar Restaurant
The Merrion Hotel, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

We were invited to eat here by friends just after Christmas. The restaurant was almost empty when we arrived but did fill up later. However, the room itself is rather soulless and awkward to get around - we were seated right at the back. The chairs seem very low compared to the table height which was disconcerting. The service is supposed to be silver service but is not sufficiently professional to be so. The personal opinions of the staff, when not invited, were intrusive rather than friendly which is obviously how they were intended. We were also left searching for service on a couple of occasions. The food sounded interesting but some of it was startlingly expensive - black sole for €47 was the opener (and most expensive item) on the Main Course section of the menu. The Gravadlax was delicious although accompanied by some redundant and unpleasant potato salad shaped as a quenelle. The Calamari was pretty awful on all fronts: the batter was heavy and overseasoned and they were served with a vast amount of sweet tomato sauce. Unpleasant. The salads were fine. The Seabass main course was good but nothing special; the steak was reasonable if a little tasteless as were the quail which came with an ill-assorted array of vegetables, one of which was inedible. The Turkey and ham could have been served at any 3* hotel carvery in the land. Surprisingly the dessert was excellent. The wines were a bit young and over-priced. Not a meal I would have happily paid for and not a rerstaurant I will return to.

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Coppinger Row
Coppinger Row, off South William St, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

Met a group of old friends here before christmas for a catch-up. The venue is pleasant with a cheerful atmosphere. However it is a bit awkward to negotiate ie coats need to be taken and hung as there is no extra room to manoeuver and there was a pillar a third of the way down our table on one side which slightly separated some of the group. This would have been immaterial if the food had been particularly good and good value, but it wasn't. It was average and overpriced. The bean soup was a mish-mash of all kinds of things and ended up like runny chilli con carne with blue cheese. The prawns were mushy which was unfortunate as the sauce was quite tasty. The black pudding starter was made up of nice things individually which did not work together and the pudding itself completely overwhelmed the dish. The service was friendly but slip-shod. We went out with friends from abroad after Christmas and chose specifically not to return to Coppinger Row as it was definitely below par on most counts.

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Bu Ali Tandoori
28 Clanbrassil Street Lower, South Dublin, South Circular, Dublin

Had a take-away from here last Wednesday. You can eat in but it is very much a take-away shop with some tables. They have improved the decor recently and there are nice tablecloths etc. That is the only reason there is a low atmosphere rating. Otherwise the food is delicious and the service was much improved - very courteous. As ever there were crisp fresh poppadums while waiting - 10 mins or so due to a big order already in. It was well worth it. The food was fresh, full of flavour and every dish was distinct. We had chicken pasanda which was a far cry from the numerous bland incarnations I have had before. It was subtle, creamy, sweet and nutty. The Beef Rogan Josh was hot and slightly fruity without just burning. The Saag Paneer and the Bombay Aloo were 2 of the best I have had in Dublin. This food is not sophisticated but it is exceptionally tasty and satisfying. Am really looking forward to a return trip.

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

Went this evening with my partner and father for the early bird menu. I had not been before but my father has been a fan of Rasam for quite some time. It certainly lived up to my expectations and the fact that it was full on a monday evening is testament to their successful maintenance of standards and value. The early bird menu is €19.95 and comprises 2 courses and tea or coffee. There was a choice of 3 starters and 5 or 6 main courses. These come with pullao rice, potatoes and naan. We had 1 of each starter and shared. They were completely delicious and our only quibble was that they were a little small. The main courses were very reasonably sized and had a side dish of potatoes included. My father recommended the house lamb dish and we ordered the prawns in mango and their version of chicken tikka in addition. All I can say is yum! Everything was full of flavour and a pleasure to eat. We debated whether to have a dessert but abstained as really we were all very content with our experience. The coffee was good as was the tea. Our only complaint would be that the service whilst friendly was a little slow. There were only 2 members of staff on and the restaurant was full (unexpectedly we were told). I am really looking forward to going back and working my way through their entire menu. The Thali (tasting trays) next.

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One Pico Restaurant
5-6 Molesworth Place, Schoolhouse Lane, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

I had lunch here with a friend during the week. I had always wanted to go but had never had the opportunity. The set lunch should be a good indicator of keeping up standards whilst producing simpler, cheaper food. This unfortunately was not the case - basic stalwarts were not done well. However I must comment on the service being friendly and good in general and the atmosphere was lively. The starters were really quite unappetising. The fish croquette was an enormous ball of dry potato with an odd fish flavour. It had no moisture in it at all eg a bechamel to bind it and there was very little of the accompanying sauce and peppers. All in all it was distinctly unpleasant. The beetroot and goat's cheese mousse was little better. The goat's cheese was solid, stodgy and a bit slimy. It had been shaped into columns which were topped and tailed with slices of pickled beetroot. Not good. The mains were an improvement. The pork was crispy, tasty and had a very nice puree with it. The potatoes were inexcusable. They were mashed but without any discernible fat at all and no seasoning. A huge pity as they let down an otherwise quite good dish. The risotto was pleasant but not very exciting. The best bit really was the cheese. Fantastic really mature cashel blue and a decent portion. If only the whole experience had lived up to that! If pressed I would go again but not of my own accord.

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The Italian Corner
23/24 Wellington Quay, Dublin City Centre, Dublin 2, Temple Bar, Dublin

The basic tenets of making pasta are unknown in this restaurant. I have rarely eaten anything so revolting. Hard, chewy, glutinous and lumpen: the ravioli was a million miles from the silky smooth light stuffed cushion it should be. The fact that the chef argued that they were fresh and acceptable - the implication was that I wished them to be overcooked in un-italian fashion - and then produced an even less edible plate of ravioli was extraordinary. In the face of the indefensible the item was removed from the bill. I shan't even try to describe the sauce etc and the completely inappropriate abundance of rocket - everywhere. The starter of garlic bread had been rather oddly presented too and therein I should have been warned. The bread is exceptionally doughy and heavy. It is also under-salted. It appears to be waved in the direction of a garlic clove and some oil and then charred. To counter the dryness, it is served with a class of garlic cream in a sauce pot. Bizarre. The meatballs and pork main on the early bird menu were adequate. It is a pity that, as they must have realised that we were already not happy, they charged us for the early bird items at a la carte prices. When we pointed this out to the waitress who had taken our order, she argued with us! This was rectified ungraciously. The violinist only added to the appalling decor - rag rolling and fake vines. Never again.

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Merrys Gastro Pub & Restaurant
Main Street Lower, Dungarvan, Waterford

Called in for Sunday lunch while driving back to Dublin from Cork. An excellent stopover choice! First class pub grub in a pleasant bright environment served by smiling staff. Our only caveat would be the huge portions.......we had a starter and a main course each and were really struggling in the end. The mackerel pate is simply delicious and alone worth going back for. The filo wrapped spinach and goat's cheese parcels were light as feathers and could not have been further from the pre-prepared variety often encountered. We then had the fresh fish and the spicy chicken wings which we were warned were really hot and they were. Yum. It was all very reasonably priced - they do a special menu for €18.89 (or a couple of cent more or less) which is 2 courses and a glass of wine or a pint. A walk around the castle was the perfect way to walk it off!

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Thai Spice
3A Talbot Place, Dublin 1 , City Centre North, Dublin

I had a very quick lunch here with a friend who wasn't eating. The restaurant was packed and we sat outside at the last available table. The staff were brisk and efficient. The food was good - tasty and simple. I only had 2 starters (Tom Yum Gai and Gung Thod) but as they are staples of Thai cooking, they should be a fair indicator of the rest of the food. The bill was reasonable and we were in and out quick-sharp, which was what we wanted. It reminded me of London in that way.

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Toss'd Noodles & Salads
Chq Building, Dublin Docklands, City Centre North, Dublin

We paid a flying visit here on the way to the Point at about 5pm. There were few people around so the atmosphere wasn't great. The decor is quite attractive and looking into the kitchen is interesting. I imagine at lunch-time it could be quite buzzy. The service, such as it was, was good and the cashier obliging. The food, however, was disappointing. It came in those cardboard boxes you always get in America but that was the most exciting thing about it. We had the Teriyaki Chicken (special) and the Singapore Noodles but we would have been hard put to tell them apart in terms of flavour. It was plentiful but that, alas, was not a bonus. I would want to be pretty hungry to try them again.

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Rayhoon
8 Talbot Street, City Centre North, Dublin

A friend and I had a quick lunch here a couple of Saturdays ago. I was not terribly keen as the interior is rather dreary and not very inviting. But that was really quite misleading. The food was very good in its league - the mixture of Italian and the Middle East certainly produced excellent coffee after our meal. We had the lunch special which was limited in choice but more than adequate. As starters, the garlic bread was well doused and delicious but the salad was average. Our main courses of pizza and spaghetti alla boscaiola were really very good and the parmesan was freshly grated. As I said, the coffee was really good. At that price (under a tenner each) and with very friendly and efficient service, I think we did rather well. The toilets were also clean and well kept.

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Dada Restaurant
45 South William Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

Had been wanting to go to this restaurant since it had first opened. By chance ended up there last night with a friend. It was not busy, being a Monday night, but the atmosphere was very warm and the service attentive and excellent. There were lots of things on the menu that we wanted to try but had to settle for as much as two people can eat only! Unfortunately that stuffed squid was off; we'll have to go back for that. We had the mixed dips to start. Then we had the zaaluk, prawn starter and the spicy lamb tagine for our main course between us. Utterly delicious. The mixed dips arrived in 4 ramekins with fresh bread. It seemed a bit small but we were completely taken aback by the flavours : spicy tomato, fig paste, black olive paste and green olives (pitted - they gave us better in the complementary dish). Afterwards the mains were seamlessly introduced - delicately spiced aubergine, meaty and flavoursome prawns and some of the best lamb we had eaten in a very long time. It melted off the bone. The preserved lemons made the dish sublime. Wow. When the very reasonably priced wine list is added to this, a really top notch dinner is on the cards. My caveat would be that the starters are a tad expensive at €7.50 average. My only caveat. Great dinner.

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Yungs Restaurant
66 Georges Street Upper, South Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

Had dinner here on Good Friday having passed the closed doors of our more usual haunts! Am very glad we did so. The exterior and the decor are not great and at first we thought it was shut. However the staff are extremely welcoming and make up for any lack. The food is quite expensive but the quality is high. We had Deep Fried Squid and the Wafer Prawns (1 of my all-time favourites) to start and Singapore Vermicelli and 1/2 Crispy Aromatic Duck for our main course. My companion had never tried any of them apart from the squid. He was definitely pleasantly surprised. They were all light but filling, flavourful and well presented. The duck was brought whole to the table and shredded in front of us. The prawns were meaty and the vermicelli delicate and not oily, as it often is. Our quibbles were that we preferred the squid with the prawn dip and the prawns with plain soy sauce! It cost €53 (water only) but was worth it. Would go back if out in Dun Laoghaire for a treat.

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

Went for a family celebration last Friday and had the Early Bird Menu - we were 4 adults and a 9 month old. We were seated beside the kitchen service area and had comfortable banquettes and a large table quite separate from the next. We were lucky: otherwise the tables are very close together and the room is large with hard surfaces everywhere. The noise was noticeable even at our remove and so early in the evening, so I shudder to think what it would be like later on. We had reasonable service mostly due to being seated right next to the gaggle of staff chatting beside the service area remarked on in an earlier review. The staff are friendly and pleasant but appear to think Alexis is a social occasion for them too. That aside, the food was terrific and extremely good value: €132 for 5 adults (3 courses, a coffee and a bottle of Macon Uzichy). The menu was nicely balanced with good vegetarian options. The smoked haddock and the chicken and spring leek pie were definite stars. And I was delighted to get a floating island for dessert! The portions are large and 2 courses would definitely be enough normally. I would run back for the food and the value as long as I could book a table at the edge of the room and one I could get to guaranteed that I wouldn't have to shimmy in and knock everything over on the next table. (Well, I wouldn't actually run as I nearly went head over heels on the flooring beside the bar - which I assume is meant to be specifically non-slip - twice while wearing sensible rubber soled shoes.) I would also hope that this table would not mean that we were unnoticed by or inaccessible to staff!

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Seven
73 Manor Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin

Had lunch here on Tuesday by chance. It was delicious and very good value. We ate from the specials - read to you at the table - which were pizza and pasta dishes (3 of each). They did not seem to bear much resemblance to the plates on the usual lunch menu so I cannot comment on that. The pizza was large with a lovely crispy base and really delicious fresh toppings. My friend's pasta was also a generous portion with plenty of fresh sauce. At under a tenner each, they were extremely good value. If this is the norm at seven, I would happily pop in when Stoneybatter at lunch time.

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Nandos (Dundrum)
Sandyford Road, Dundrum Town Centre, South Dublin, Dundrum, Dublin

Went for sunday lunch - 4 adults, a 7 year old and a 9 month old. We were all catered for very well: a proper high chair, place for buggy storage, the 'nandinos' menu for children, a games pack and crayons, lots of food for adults and beer and wine if desired! There is no lack of service here just because you go to the counter to order and pay. All your food and alcoholic beverages are brought to the table by waiting staff and deserts are ordered at the table. Bottomless drinks, condiments and cutlery are picked up by the customers from a large sideboard but as there are so many to choose from this would be logistically difficult any other way. It is also fun! The system by which a wooden cockerel found on each table is removed after the staff have ascertained that you have everything you want and you are satisfied seems very efficient too. The food is simple and delicious: char grilled chicken with Nando's sauces. The sides are a bit different - spicy rice, corn on the cob etc. In all, very enjoyable, good value and child friendly. Due to the entertainment for kids, it is generally adult friendly too.

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The Porterhouse (Parliament Street)
Parliament Street le Bar, Temple Bar, Dublin

Went in for early burger with friend. It was quite nice and the chips were good. The portion was reasonable. All bog standard really. There was no atmosphere at all and what service there was, was for the most part unsmiling if not downright sullen. Have been reminded of why I didn't want to go back. Won't happen again.

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Mao Restaurant (Chatham Row)
2-3 Chatham Row, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

Had serious craving for chilli squid so we popped in for lunch. Craving satisfied. Had delicious spicy soups and the squid. Washed down with Asahi beer - crisp and thirst quenching. 2 remarkably pleased people headed off to watch some equally pleasing rugby! Only caveat: it is not a particularly attractive space.

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

Meant to write this review for ages as I really enjoyed this restaurant and am looking forward to going back when I'm next in Bray. We went for Sunday lunch with my niece who is 7. The place was not very busy when we arrived but it filled up and had a excellent atmosphere. The staff were extremely friendly and obliging, particularly with my niece - a heart shaped pizza was produced for her from the kitchen and extra sweets at the end. Our own meal was really very good - simple and tasty. Most satisfying and definitely more-ish! My only quibble is, as others have commented, that it is cold. We were initially seated by the door and an icy wind blew in every time the door was opened. Do not take this table except on the balmiest days of summer! But do take any of the others and enjoy the food.

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Bianconis Bistro
232 Merrion Road, Dublin 4, Ballsbridge, Dublin

Was pleasantly surprised by my experience. This is due to having one of the worst meals I have ever had here some time ago and vowing never to return. This time the food was very tasty and well presented. The service was friendly overall, although not very knowledgeable: when I asked what the 'baked cod' was cooked with, I was informed it was 'baked cod' and given an irritated look. The restaurant decor is a mish-mash of wanabee chic and home grown italian. It seems unfinshed in places but has a fantastic cake display case (full of pretty fantastic cakes). The front seating area is more open, suitable for coffees etc - and for prams - and the back long and narrow. We were eating early, so we endured the noise of tired and hyperactive children to the front (with mothers making no attempt made to control them) and the drunken cackles of a group of women out early further down. Apart from this and the rather tired toilets, Bianconi's has a lot to offer foodwise. We had the set menu which came with a recession busting free glass of wine - one of the smallest I have ever seen (glass) filled with some pretty awful plonk. Rather ungenerous as the menu was reasonable but not cheap. My friend had the gnocchi which were light and delicious. The gorgonzola sauce was piquant and also light. I had fried mozzarella - again light and succulent. The mains (spaghetti with clams and pork escalopes) were delicious and generous. Desserts were tiramisu and creme brulee. Yum - the creme brulee was more of a flan but delicious nonetheless. We left happy with our food (which we finished to the last crumb), pleased enough with the service which was generally friendly, disappointed with the place and ambiance and unsure as to whether you would bother to go back. Only if you were in the vicinity. Not by design I think.

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Rotana Cafe Restaurant
31 South Richmond Street, Dublin 2, Portobello, Dublin

Popped in for early supper midweek. Looks a bit more like a cafe than restaurant so wasn't sure what to expect. There were 3 lebanese sitting together in the window finishing a meal and looking pleased so we reckoned that was a good sign. And it was. The interior is a bit stark but pleasant and the chairs are considerably more comfortable than they look! The waiter was helpful and service was prompt. We ordered the Mazza 1 between us and the Double Kafta to follow. Both came with lebanese bread - paper thin, light pitta. The food was delicious. The baba ganouj was smoky and garlicky; the humous light and streets away from stodgy and bitter commercially produced stuff; the different filo wrapped parcels were like gorgeous surprises (the cheese one is especially good). There was quite a lot of wishing you didn't have to share going on! There were all kinds of things we'd never tasted before or that were variants of the familiar and which we will be going back for. The double kafta is lamb and chicken - both were so succulent they melted in your mouth and tangy from the lemon juice. They were served with a mild garlic sauce which complemented the meat perfectly. We drank tap water which is served in coloured lemonade bottles - a nice touch. Our bill was €30 incl. tip for 2. We had eaten just the right amount of really good food and left well satisfied looking forward to a return visit.

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Ocean Bar
The Millenium Tower, Charlotte Quay, Ringsend, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin

Went for brunch yesterday (sunday) at about 1pm. A year ago this would have meant a queue, hit and miss service and little chance of not sitting on a pouffe! 'Though the food was nearly always good and from a menu on which there was always more than one thing you wanted. The food is still good just more plentiful and cheaper! (The silver lining to the recession.) The place was not full and there were tables for all comers on arrival. We were 3 and sat at one of the large couch affairs. The decor is still shabby but not dirty (as it was on a previous occasion); the staff are still extremely pleasant and friendly and still overly laid back - waiting for the bill etc. Our orders were taken reasonable promptly 'though - proper brunch stalwarts: eggs benedict; french toast, eggs, bacon and syrup and a parmesan omelette with spinach. On arrival, I was given a wrap instead of the eggs but they were quickly produced (from another order I suspect) and were delicious. The french toast was also great. The omelette came with smoked salmon which my companion had not realised but was taken away and reproduced as a spinach only omelette without demur and with apology! There were 3 eggs and 3 slices of bacon in the eggs benedict; nice hollandaise and some baby spinach for good measure. At €8.50 and big enough to be the main meal of the day, it was excellent value. Am looking forward to heading back for brunch, the views and the value.

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Good World Chinese Restaurant
18 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2 , City Centre South, Dublin

A great stalwart. Went in last wednesday for an early bird (till 6.30) dinner at €16.50. The menu is plain - 3 courses and tea/coffee. The choice is limited but covers most old favourites: sweet and sour, black bean etc. The food was tasty and plentiful - in fact we were absolutely full after the main courses but had to make room for banana fritters! It wouldn't be the same without them. Having often eaten here before from the a la carte, I can recommend the full menu. The dim sum are great and the chefs are perfectly happy to make up a dish not on the menu if possible. The service is prompt, efficient and friendly. There are no hidden extras and there is no pressure to order sides, drinks etc.

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Dalis
63/65 Main Street, Blackrock, Blackrock, Dublin

Meant to write this review over a month ago. What a wonderful evening. Everything was pleasant and agreeable and the food was delicious. I went with a party of family and friends and everyone's taste was catered to, formal and informal. It was years since I had been to Dali's as my previous experience was of overpriced and pretentious food. Nothing could be further from Dali's now. The food was beautifully prepared and presented with enough of a twist to add piquancy. The service was friendly and the waiting staff were well informed. (If there was anything they weren't sure of, they apologised and went and found it out.) We left feeling warm, relaxed and with a desire to save up a bit (as it is moderately expensive) and return soon!

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

Went in for early supper at about 5ish. Greeted at door first by slippery floor sign and then by friendly waitress. We were seated at the back section where there is no natural light or view but is free of children (far side) and not like sitting in a large hall (entry point). The service was insistent to the point of annoyance. Our waitress was extremely friendly but had obviously been instructed to sell every extra possible. When we requested only water, we were asked if we wouldn't also want wine. When we asked for 1 starter only, we were again pressed to choose further small antipasti. As soon as we had finished our pizzas, without side orders, we were asked if we wished for dessert. This was rather uncomfortable and there was a definite feeling of people hovering. The food itself was reasonable. The starter was described as a salsiccia and bean stew. It was but a little light on the beans. There were mushrooms in it (they tasted like portobello) which seemed an unnecessary addition. as was the sour cream. The basic stew itself would have been delicious. It was served with nicely toasted, thinly sliced bread. The pizzas were from the upmarket range and were good if a little pricey at approx 14 - 15 € each. For 2 pizzas, a shared starter which was small and the tip, €40 is a bit steep particularly when the whole experience was rather utilitarian. Shall not be rushing back.

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

It does what it says on the tin. Love it. Simple interior. Comfortable ambiance. Friendly staff. Top quality simple food for a tenner. 'Nuff said.

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Shakira Indian Cuisine
47 Lower Georges Street, South Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

Ate here for the first time this evening and had the early bird menu (meat option) for €14.95. There also seems to be a good vegetarian early bird available. The restaurant is on the first floor and the stairs are steep and rather unwelcoming. The decor is very basic and the room was being heated by a superser (there was a slight smell of gas which reminded me of my first flat!). The toilet is very narrow and awkward to negotiate in and out of. However, it seems extremely clean and the friendliness and efficiency of the staff and service completely eclipse any shortfalls in interior decoration. The food was plentiful and excellent. First fresh popadums (not often encountered) with excellent pickles and raitha. Then we had the chicken tikka and seehk kebab as starters. These were big portions and extremely tasty. For our main courses, we had chicken balti, chicken tikka massala and an extra vegetarian side dish of potato and aubergine curry.Naan or rice come with each menu. The extra dish definitely pushed up to our limits - no desert is included and no desert could have been consumed! The presentation was simple but a little different - the balti was served in a copper canister-like affair. The balti was delicious and the vegetable curry was the star of the show without a doubt. The tikka massala was good but just a bit too heavy. A pot of tea later, we left with broad grins and 40 odd euro lighter (incl tip). Will definitely be returning!

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The French Paradox Wine Shop & Wine Bar
53 Shelbourne Road, Dublin 4, Ballsbridge, Dublin

Had late lunch on friday at the French Paradox and it was an ideal choice. We sat upstairs by the window and relaxed completely. The husband and wife team who own the vintners/restaurant are charming and engaging and quite obviously in love with the food and wine they serve. Foie gras was what we had gone for and our only real disappointment was that there is no pan fried foie gras on the lunch menu (only at dinner) so we settled for mi-cuit - not too much of a hardship but expensive at €18. A salad of gesiers and the confit of duck followed. The duck was splendid; soft and falling of the bone with a crunchy sticky skin. Without doubt the best I have had in Ireland. The geziers are practically impossible to get anywhere here and the salad was really delicious. As it was lunchtime wine was not consumed but an earlier visit confirmed the quality of interesting wine stocked. An establishment to be highly recommended. They do cheaper dishes of the day etc but the reason for going is to indulge in the foie gras or duck in any of its myriad forms and that is rather more expensive - for a well earned and occasional treat!

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Thornton's Restaurant
1st, The Fitzwilliam Hotel, 128 St Stephen's Green, City Centre South, Dublin

I went for pre Christmas lunch with a friend and was quite excited as it was my first visit and I had heard great things. My excitement quickly waned. The new decor is far from top-drawer design and is cold and unwelcoming in the front room. The cards on the table advertising Kevin Thornton's book were redundant as we were surrounded by his photographs. The level of service tailed off abruptly as we ordered from the pris fixe and the contrast was made more evident as a large corporate table beside us ordering expensive wines etc was fawned over - neither extreme being desirable. The menu price was high at €65 with very limited choice. The wine we chose was approx €10 more expensive than in other establishments. The starters on the pris fixe were all made from cheaper ingredients and could be produced in bulk. The VERY small ball of foie gras that accompanied my terrine had been rolled in truffle which killed the taste. However as it had come straight out of the fridge, this was immaterial. My friend's pig's cheek in aspic was tasteless. The main courses were tasty but no better than any decent restaurant in town. The cheese for the pris fixe is chosen for you. The waiter described them as blue, brie type and cheddar. The cheese trolley was produced for the a la carte customers. My friend did order the cheese, sight unseen, and the 3 pieces were in good condition and interesting. The white chocolate parfait was not a parfait. Kevin Thornton did make an appearance. Unfortunately none of the food for which he is famed did. The bill was exorbitant considering the experience.

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