Restaurant Reviews from mcginncf
Old Smoke House (Now called The Old Smoke House) restaurant
Lower Main Street, Dingle, Kerry
Reviewed 27th July 2009 ( visited 24th July 2009 )We’ve dined here once before and it was a pleasure to return, this time with a group of 9 of us. We had a view out into the main street as opposed to sitting in the back room area overlooking the river that flows by outside. It’s an original building of the street and is tastefully decorated to appreciate the well-prepared dishes that presented us. I had the mussels in chilli & tarragon sauce for starters which is very unusual but having something exceptionally different was a pleasure. Mind you, my wife’s codling sauce was too strong for an entire dish. On returning it, there was no charge and was provided with a free dessert. Meanwhile, she availed of the far-too-many mackerel pieces that accompanied my champ & pesto special. These were tastefully grilled and as the mackerel were small they did not have that excessive oily taste you can get from this fish. Others to the table chose from the variety of fish dishes of salmon & herb-crusted plaice which are all derive from the local Atlantic seaboard, and you can taste the freshness. Moderate prices, you’ll get good value & service here.
ely gastro bar restaurant
Grand Canal Square, (Next to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre), Dublin 2, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin, Area Code: Dublin 2
Reviewed 05th December 2008 ( visited 03rd December 2008 )We had a corporate lunch of 12 people from 2pm. The ambience and atmosphere immediately impressed us with the view out across the Grand Canal Dock. The staff equally made us most welcome, at ease and by consequence; we had a very good experience. We used the set lunch menu but a number wanted their famous burger, and so that was easily facilitated. But the wine service was what made it for most of us. Each bottle was decanted and always the right temperature until they ran out, such was our consumption of the complete case. But by then, t'was 7pm and bellies full, most left for home. I've since reviewed the 'a la carte' menus online and they're very reasonable. I'll be back and would whole heartily recommend anyone for a definite treat.
Mangos Seafood Restaurant
Bridge Street, Westport, Mayo
An exceptional range of seafood dishes, eary-bird menus, and the specials that were on the board the evening we went there made us abandon the earlybird option. Having come across from Wicklow, and being so close to the Atlantic, you can't get fresher fish than this, and the preparation, service, and quality we found to be excellent. It's rather a small restaurant too, so be sure to book in advance and go early in the evening if you like a quieter time.
JW's Brasserie Restaurant @ The Wyatt Hotel
The Octagon, Westport, Mayo
We stayed for the two nights B&B and one dinner at the Brasserie, and what a delight the dinner quality and service was. My wife's gluten-free requests were well attended too. Starters for us both were the beef tomatoe with mozarella salads. Her Cod dish was cooked differently from the menu to accommodate her, and she was very pleased with it. My Roast Duck in a plum and ginger sauce was just exceptional, and I told the waiter so too. We had all the time required to wait before the strawberry & rhubarb crumble and the Eton Mess fresh fruit salad before coffee. Without doubt, I'd recommend the dinner option for the 2-day stayover, lovely little Brasserie it is too.
Main Street, Rathowen, Westmeath
After getting off the M4 from Dublin, we watched out for a place to stop and noticed how well Feerick's looked from the outside. Inside too, was clean and respectable. But the lounge food servings were excellent I can say. My wife had the lamb stew, with roasties and fresh veg, I tasted it too, absolutely gorgeous. Mine was the vegetable soup, and a lighter bite of just a Tuna cheese wrap, chips and side salad. I was well fed and pleased too, and with tea for two, the bill at just €24 was good value for money. We'd definitley stop there again on the way to Westport.
An Port Mór Restaurant
1 Brewery Place, Westport, Westport, Mayo
Exceptionally well presented and fabulous variety of alternate vegetables complimenting sea-fresh fish dishes. The two course early-bird just €22 is fantastic value. Do book in advance though to avoid disappointment as we saw many turned away. Not to be missed.
Seasons Restaurant, InterContinental Dublin
InterContinental Dublin, Simmonscourt Road, Ballsbridge, Ballsbridge, Dublin
We had a discount voucher to try out here for lunch, and what a culinary experience it was. Service and attention was just excellent in the lush surroundings. Yes, wine by the glass & sparkling water might seem expensive, but the quality was excellent and I had a fantastic Rioja. We had the seafood chowder and smoke salmon for starters, along with a selection of breads with pesto and olive oil dips alongside, mmmm!, the experience was underway. Then the grilled plaice fillets and pork belly. You could smell the sea freshness of the fillets, really was good, and my wife's pork belly, the meal that is, was very tender and tasty. These type of dishes sometime give you the impression of not much on the plate, but I must say we were well fed. After dessert and ordering the excellent coffee, to our surprise, my wife was presented a birthday candle with square fours on a slate, having had mentioned that the occasion was her birthday when booking. How nice of them to note that, and present this little extra. Would love to afford to go again sometime.
Weafer & Cooper
71 to 73 Glasthule Road, South Co. Dublin , Glasthule, Dublin
The front opens up right onto the main street giving it a European flavour. Luckily we got a table in the hot sunshine of last Sunday, and reviewed the menu with very good wine at just 5.50 a glass. The menu is confusing as it does not distinguish starters properly from main courses. Consequently, my wife's excellent Crab from Casletownbear came with & Guinness bread and only a light salad rather than one that would make up a dinner meal. Disappointed at not being filled, she opted for the Goats cheese, with walnuts & cranberries salad, but that was then 20 euro for the two. I had the Barbary roast duck in plum sauce, fig, and baby roasties. At 16 euro, good value, tasted excellent and I was full alright. The water served is filtered and tastes well. Still, don't be put off, just double check what you're getting. There's plenty more to eat too, as they do breakfast, brunch, pizza and late dinner. Service & staff delightful too, so we'll look forward to stopping by again.
Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Bushypark, Galway City, Galway
This is a unique restaurant setting at Glenlo Abbey hotel to enjoy, marvelling at the notion of rattling train journey across a countryside while dining. The set menu is only €35 which is quite attractable given the a la carte mains are in the €20 range, but I didn't think the wine range offered was value for money; perhaps that's how they make further markup. Without a doubt though, the food is very good, and after very generous sized starters, our mains of Pan-fried sea-bass and Sirloin steak were first class along with accompanying freshly cooked veggies. We noticed a dessert which offered Grand Marnier ice-cream on the a la carte menu and we asked for it and the waiter duly obliged, which was delicious on what was a very good selection of fruit berries from our set menu. Tea & coffee then, followed by finishing our wine while looking out across Lough Corrib and the setting sun, lovely. Excellent service from Kevin Moran and his staff also.
Ashford House on the Weir Gastro Pub
Ashford House, Ashford, Wicklow
The transition from pub grub lounge to what is now The Weir last September is a welcome one. It is incorporated in to what was the Ashford House pub and the bar is still there to have a few drinks, but the ambience created with the new decor makes for a pleasurable night out for couples or family group meals. We had just a main course each of homemade burger with fries and side salad, and from the blackboard, the special of hake with chorizo sausage on a bed of small baby roasted potatoes. Both dishes were superb along with an Australian Grant Bruge shiraz at just €23. The shared chocolate cake and ice-cream dessert plus coffees for two brought our total to €70, which might be a bit more than you would like to spend, but its very much value for money. Service and attention from staff just excellent too.
Brambles Café Bistro
102-104 Terenure Road North, Terenure, Dublin
Enjoyed a lovely evening here with my wife on Sunday evening about 5:30pm. It was not overcrowded and the furnishings, layout and smartness of the place is very warming and comfortable. We had just the two main courses and a dessert to share which were reasonably priced as expected but the wine list starts at €21+ which might take you by surpirse a bit. Nevertheless, the wine chosen was very good and at the right temperature. Our meals of roast lamb in wine jus, fresh vegetables, and lightly battered haddock, chunky chips with mashed peas were to our surprise served quite quickly but they too were excellent. After sharing the chocolate cake and ice-cream dessert, we lounged the next hour over coffee and the wine remainder, delighting in the atmosphere. A very pleasant place.
Fitzpatrick's Bar & Restaurant
Rockmarshall Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Dundalk, Louth
Fitzpatrick's Bar & Restaurant, Co.Louth - 16 February 2012 What an excellent experience we had here, and well worth the drive across from Virginia, before we headed onto Dublin, (following a recommendation). We arrived mid-afternoon and there was still a number of tourists, families, and couples like ourselves, keeping it busy. While awaiting our order, my wife had a glass of wine and I a soft drink and looked about at all the range of antiques that hang from the rafters, and across numerous shelves; mementos of lifetimes now gone by. We chose from the specials menu and on being advised one would take a while, we were treated to an amuse-bouche, a pleasant glass-mug of soup and fresh parsley, a nice touch. My wife's breast of chicken came with the skin crisped, on a bed of cabbage and bacon, atop a bed of champ, surrounded by a mustard sauce. Mine was the pan-fried hake, topped by a crisp slice of parma ham, and two solitary scallops, surrounded this time by what seemed like a light pea sauce. Two little novelty iron pots of creamy mash and a medley of fresh mange-tout, green beans and broccoli made this meal just superb. This was cuisine superb Messrs Fitzpatrick. With no room for desserts, 2 americano coffees were served with 4 complimentary liqueur dark chocolates, heavenly. Our bill was just €41.60, value beyond belief. Can't wait to divert this way again.
An Fear Gorta (Tea & Garden Room)
Pier Road, Ballyvaghan, Clare
What a magnificent little gem of a place this is. Just along by the pier in Ballyvaughan, we wandered in to what is a little heaven of old world hospitality. A large table will first catch your gaze full of home-made scones, cakes, from luscious to scrumptious, cheesecake to die for, they are hard to resist. There's also an array of light lunches such as open sandwiches and warming soups or there'll be a special on such as a beef stroganoff too. The salads all made from locally sourced ingredients and taste like salad should do, fresh & crunchy. You can stay indoors or sit out in the conservatory amongst the many flowering plants. On a sunnier day, there's the garden too for serene peace and quiet. Stay long enough, and you could relax further with a glass of wine even. Do not miss an opportunity to visit here. The service and attention by staff is exemplary.
Town Hall Bistro
The Old Ground Hotel, O'Connell Street, Ennis, Clare
This upmarket restaurant is part of the Old Ground Hotel in the centre of Ennis town. It can be accessed from the hotel and the public street. It has well spaced tables, affording privacy and is of a very relaxed atmosphere. A very large window gives you an eyes view of the main shopping street outside but the ambience inside tells you are in for good dining evening. But unfortunately, we have a little tale to tell. We relaxed by indulging in the selection of breads offered while reviewing the menus. We were having mains only, as we'd a long drive back to our accommodation afterwards. My wife chose the Sea-bass which was cooked in a foil bag, which was promptly unwrapped at the table on being served, and out slipped a very hot fish resplendent in its bluish and silver scales skin. I opted for the Brill on a bed of crab-meat and risotto, the fish firm in its texture. With fresh vegetables, both dishes were excellent until my wife encountered a very long hair within the Sea-bass. Sincere apologies were made by the server, the dish removed, but we did not opt to take an offered alternative dish. As I had finished, I drank a coffee while we awaited a manager to attend to our little incident, but as none arrived, we decided to leave. Standing at the checkout area, a manager was requested who eventually accepted our argument that our evening had been spoilt and to ensure ongoing custom, he accepted payment for our drinks only. Otherwise, the service and food quality is of an excellent standard here, so I would have expected immediate attention to the incident by a manager's visit to the table.
An Fulacht Fia
Coast Road, Ballyvaghan, Clare
An exceptional restaurant just outside Ballyvaughan, Co.Clare along the coast road by The Burren, An Fulacht Fia caters for the discerning guests that enjoy that special night out when on holiday. And that you will get here beyond doubt. With fabulous views across the Galway Bay, the service and food quality are of excellence, if you are willing to spend that bit extra. Homemade breads were provided with what seemed like locally filtered water, as it was soft and fresh tasting. Starters range from €7.95 to €11.95 with soup at €5.50, with Scallops, Mussels, Oak Salmon, Seafood Chowder and the one I chose, port soaked pear with Stilton and rocket, absolutely delicious. Seafood is a speciality in this region of course and also features in the mains of Halibut, Cod & Salmon alongside Lamb, Beef, Veal & Duck dishes ranging from €18.15 to €28.50. The vegetarian Goats Cheese & Stuffed Pepper at €17.50, the seafood platter special that was on was to die for at just €23.00. The dish had crab claws, prawns, monk-fish, scallops and a heap of mussels in garlic sauces. My wife's halibut was cooked to perfection, along with selection of fresh vegetables and a good wine, the setting was just terrific. With a generous homemade apple crumble slice to share along with coffee, we sat back to enjoy the sunset over the bay. The bill just at €87, we totally recommend your special dining evening here.
Mullary, Dunleer, Louth
We stopped here en-route home from Newry after getting off the motorway at Dunleer and went south on the old main road. I was glad to see its been upgraded since I last saw it pre-motorway days. Now there's a fine restaurant, private party room, and a cosy lounge out front where the evening sun shines in. There's the a la carte menu, plus 2 specials menus, €15 for 2 courses or €20 for 2 courses. From the a la carte, I had the onion soup with a crouton & cheese topping. This was full of onion shavings and was a most excellent soup and the topping delicious. My main course was a rare one indeed, grilled pieces of cod on a summer salad of green leaves, baby tomatoes etc, a light main course with chips and the fish succulent. My wife opted for the €20 special and the fillet steak offering. Three pieces of steak were grilled medium-rare and just melted in your mouth. They were on a mash base with veggies, a pepper sauce and sauteed chip slices on the side. It was too much, and we asked to have the third steak & the chips to take home. We shared her second course of 2 chocolate cake dessert slices, with ice cream which was sumptuous. So, with 2 pints, 2 wines, the bill was €57, plus a doggy-bag to go, excellent value and service, well done.
54 Strand Street, Skerries, Dublin
Six of us headed here after the Skerries motorcycle races last Saturday and glad we booked in advance because it was full. The tables & chairs are quite close as its not too big a place either but the atmosphere is pretty good and typically Italian styled. We shared starters of garlic prawns, bruschetta with sun-dried tomato and pesto, and some pate on toast. They were produced pretty quick which was good as we were pretty hungry. You can get a good Shiraz red wine and a Pinot Grigio white at about 18.50 each which is good value also. Four of us had pizzas of different filling types. The bases are thin and crusty and were well made as this is their speciality for take-away also. The other two of us had pasta dishes, one a tagliatelle with smoked bacon, garlic & mushrooms, the other a penne with beef steak strips (deglazed with Irish Whiskey whatever that means?), also with mushrooms and coriander. The steak pieces were a bit chewy though. All dishes were cleared and all enjoyed their fare. Coffees all round and our bill was €170 which was easily affordable.
The Bay Restaurant @ Walters
68 Georges Street Upper, South Co. Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin
Walters looks like just another shop front premises just up from the Peoples Park along Dun Laoghaire's main street, but there's a lot going on here inside. Upstairs there is the The Bay Restaurant while downstairs, the lounge bar stretches a long way out the back, and there's nooks and crannies in abundance for all age groups. Right down the back there's a stage setup for live music and Full Circle blasted out jazz numbers while we three gazed over the bar food menu with our cooled summer drinks. There's a good range menu, and presentation and service was very satisfactory as were their specials. One special was a grilled hake on a bed of buttery mash with crunchy veg side-dish topped with a little cheddar cheese. Hats off to this dish. My wife had the beefburger in pepper sauce with big crusty hand-made chips, delicious too. The third dish, another special was the Chicken Kiev ingested with garlic butter as it should, and those crusty chips also. Veg as mentioned also alongside. These mains price at just about €12.50 or so each, great value and very good food. The summer heat was too much for a dessert, so another cool beer finished off a lovely evening listening to those saxophone sounds. It was Sunday about 5pm and the place was quite lively, definitely worth a visit.
Synnott's Bistro @ The Parkview Hotel
Main Street, Newtown Mount Kennedy, Newtownmountkennedy, Wicklow
We popped in Friday evening to try out the €20 for two courses menu and were delighted to be offered a special 3-course pre-concert menu for just €18. We weren't going to the concert, so there were few diners left in the Bistro room but that gave us a more quieter evening to enjoy. The wines are all in the €14 to €20 range which is also very attractive. I had the warm Brie with tossed salad & cherry tomatoes which was good, while her chicken Caesar salad had bacon bits instead of chicken, but we didn't comment in it. The mains of sea-bass were succulent & moist on a bed of pesto mash, accompanied by a bowl of freshly prepared green beans, broccoli & cauliflower heads to share. We waited a while then before our desserts and coffee and with a bill just under €60, we enjoyed it thoroughly and will be back again.
Gastro Pub Food @ Glen of the Downs Golf Club
Glen of the Downs Golf Club, Coolnaskeagh, Delgany, Wicklow
This golf club is not private and is open to the public anytime. The club members also have a separate bar, so the lounge can be quieter to enjoy your evening. Its a cosy little hideaway with a magnificent view across the greens to the Sugarloaf mountain and watch amazing sunsets. In summer, the terrace over the lakeside is open to sit out and enjoy the excellent food & beverage here. A limited menu from Monday to Saturday, but always well prepared dishes of scampi, fish, chicken and excellent steaks from a local butcher. On Sunday,s there's always a few extra specials to choose from too. We come up here from time to time for a quiet relaxing evening and are always well received by the familiar staff. Its also a great place too for your own private family function and there's a dining room for more privacy to avail of too. Give it a try, you'll enjoy your visit.
Le Bon Crubeen
81-82 Talbot Street, Dublin 1, City Centre North, Dublin
This is our third visit here in a month, such is the impression they have made upon us. This occasion, it was birthday celebration time and we went for their Grilled Swordfish and Confit Leg of Rabbit from the Le Bon Fare menu. A word of note though, The Rabbit comes with Gnocchi which are small dumplings made from potato, semolina, or flour. They are an acquired taste and we had to send the dish back straight away; a freshly prepared one was returned on a base of mash & gravy instead, or you could have had 'Bunny & Chips' too I guess. Both dinners were superb and thanks to the manager who attended to our Gnocchi dilemma. The Chateau Fontareche is a lovely smooth red wine alongside which also complimented my dessert cheese plate while my wife just had to have the Pistachio and Belgium Chocolate Brownie. As well as the Ballymaloe relish with the cheeses were some diced prunes which were surprisingly nice on the crackers too. Service, atmosphere and value for money are the best ingredients here !
2 Sandymount Green, Dublin 4, Sandymount, Dublin
Mario's has been in Sandymount nearly 10 years now, and is still the good local restaurant its always been, as there's not many in the area at all. Three of us went on Friday at 6pm, and got a table straight away without a booking. Its not a romantic type place though, but as we were just looking for a quick bite before off to the RDS, we were delighted with their early-bird menu at just €20 for 2 courses plus a glass of wine. Generous size starters of prawns(6) with salad leaves, and warm beans & salad were very welcome, plus the glasses of red & white wines we had were quite acceptable for the offer. We had mains of locally made beefburger with loads of chips, chicken risotto and grilled salmon on a bed of mash in pesto and we complimented all dishes to the manager on leaving. Try it out before off to any local gig like the Grand Canal theatre, Sandymount Greyhound Racing or RDS for the rugby; you'll not be disappointed.
The Chester Beatty Inn
Ashford, Ashford, Wicklow
The Inn has a large lounge, function room and an attractive bar with a huge old-style open fire-place. The heat from it would warm the cockles of your heart of a cold wintry evening. After getting warmed up, we moved to one of the quieter tables at the end of the bar (away from the TV) where you can have a cosy space and enjoy the fine food here. Their food suppliers are all local and have been well known for excellent red meat dishes of steak, lamb and pork. They make their own burgers too, with numerous toppings options of bacon, egg or blue cheese. The menu is extensive and every time we're there, we try to choose something different again, but a lot of the mains are a bit pricey in the €15/€16 range for what is pub grub. Its always well prepared though, tastes very good and the blue-cheese, pear and walnut salad I had was nutrition beyond belief. My wife had the 8oz steak with salad and dauphinoise potatoes, the steak just melted in her mouth. She had the potatoes because Chester Beatty do not do proper chips. that's a big let down because they used to do really good chips, now its just crinkly fries which you'd get any day in McDonalds. So, come on Chester, get the chips out again please, but fair play, we got the potatoes instead of the fries at no extra charge. Two pints, 2 wines and our bill was just about €45.
Vina Mara Restaurant
19 Middle Street, Galway City, Galway
Four of us went to Galway from Dublin for an overnight birthday celebration and checked out Menupages for a good restaurant prior. We were delighted with all that has been written here of this excellent little cuisine of fresh fish dishes, ambience, service and good eating experience. We took a while to browse the menus, particularly the 3-course dinner & bottle of wine for 2 at €67, but getting fresh fish from the west coast is not easy in Dublin, so once we saw the special on of John Dory, we all went for it. The starters were the only different dishes we had; of pork belly, smoked haddock, salmon & leeks and tossed salad. All great appetisers which we shared about. Meanwhile, the red & white wines we selected were served up with water jug and selection of breads and our party got underway. All the while, the staff served away without any intrusions upon us. The girls had the Warm Chocolate and Amoretti Pudding while he & I shared a mini cheese plate. Great to get an option for a smaller cheese plate too, and at €5 for each dessert, this is excellent value. We were the last to leave, but next time we'll be first back here to check out the next sea food special on.
Druid Lane Restaurant
9 Quay Street, Galway City, Galway
This little restaurant is down along the pedestrianised Quay St. where the crowds bustle up and down in their droves. They all have outdoor tables, and the Druid Lane had just one for four come free. We quickly looked at the public displayed menu, and while it might seem a little pricey for an afternoon meal, the place looked clean, tidy with an air of quality and that is what we got. Our waitress who I would consider to have been the owner was most attentive and varied the ingredients of hake, cod, salmon & mussels for the seafood bake dish on offer to suit our various pallets, while one of us had the freshly battered fish and hand-cut chips. Iced water and a cooler for the white wine of the house were quickly delivered along with a starter for us all of chicken wings and delicious brown bread. The dishes were all excellent, the batter & fish ingredients all fresh too. I noted two other seafood meals delivered to an accompanying table which we noted as being delightful looking and those two ladies seemed very pleased too.
The Oar House Fish Restaurant
8 West Pier, North Co. Dublin, Howth, Dublin
The Dublin Bay Prawn festival was on last weekend in Howth and there was lively activity in all the restaurants along the pier. Of the few that are without steps, as I'm wheelchair user, the Oar House was on the level in more ways than one. It’s a bustling busy hive of seafood splendour, and you can see the chefs in action in the open plan kitchen area to the rear, where all the fresh fish, mussels, prawns etc. are all visibly stored. Service is excellent, prompt, efficient and friendly. What's most attractive is the option of Tapas, that is, you can have smaller dishes at €7 or €8 as opposed to large at twice that amount, so if a number of you are dining, you can taste a greater range of seafood offerings, great idea. The Tiger prawns arrived sizzling on their hot plates of garlic and chillies. A bowl of chunky chips and salad to share, along with complimentary breads made for a welcome lunch for us. Two glasses of Muscadet and 2 coffees brought our bill to just under €40. There's a covered outside area for diners wishing to smoke too, plus an accessible loo for disabled. If we're out to Howth again, this place is definitely on the cards for a visit, a must. Enjoy.
Delgany, Delgany, Wicklow
This popular little pub in Delgany village has changed hands numerous times in recent years, but its present owners have given it a pleasant lift in decoration and good food terms. All burgers, relishes, sauces, pies, soups & desserts are prepared in-house boasts the menu. All other ingredients are sourced locally, and meats are from Farrelly’s butcher shop next door. This contributes to a wide & varied menu selection, plus a children's menu, with an attentive table service. We were there Friday evening, and there were was a near full house of family groups and regular revellers. Mains range from €9.90 for the BYOB burger (build your own burger inc. 2 toppings) to €18.50 for the 12oz Sirloin. So, there's a price range affordable by all over a range of chicken, pizza, steak, fish, plus specials each night to choose from. I had the Seafood Linguine (another €9.90 dish), a tomato & chilly pasta dish while my wife tried the Minute Steak on ciabatta bread at €12.50. Both dishes were on square shape plates which add to the presentation, plus side-salad & chips with the steak. The steak was very tender but here was too much of the pasta for me, and a take-away carton was offered for the remainder to take home. As we didn’t go for starters, so I can’t comment, but I did spot Death by Chocolate on the dessert menu which will be appreciated by some, no doubt. On Saturdays and Sundays, they open a much larger lounge area for family groups. With plenty of onsite parking, it makes a convenient place to meet up with friends and family.
The Lady Helen @ Mount Juliet
Mount Juliet, Thomastown, Kilkenny
The hotel is a 5 Star service, and so is its fine dining room, The Lady Helen. Prepare yourself for an exquisite dining and service experience. And if you can get one of the window tables overlooking the river Nore and the fillies’ gallops, you can imagine yourself lord or lady of the manor. The dining room of this 200 year old country house has one of finest imagery plasterworks across the ceiling, in soft pastel colourings. A large open fire burns nostalgically away and the calmness and attention to detail by the servers is most re-assuring. It’s an expensive menu, which is to be expected for the standards produced, but such a fine culinary experience as this is worth it. The preparation and somewhat delicate nature of all courses are finely executed and delicious in their savouring. Just go and treat yourself to this excellent experience and choose that extra special bottle of wine from their extensive cellar selections. Up until mid-April, the hotel is only open 3 nights a week from Thursdays. We had a full dining room of guests too which added to the atmosphere. After dinner, you can take tea, coffee or other beverage in one of the other reception rooms and relax in armchairs by the open fireplaces.
Kendals Restaurant @ Mount Juliet Conrad
Mount Juliet Conrad, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Thomastown, Kilkenny
This restaurant is located in the grounds of the Mount Juliet hotel, Thomastown. It has the most wonderful views from its window seats across the golf course and beyond into the distant landscape. It is built in a hunting lodge style with open wood beams supporting the roof with wonderful lighting in the shapes of hunting horns. Table sittings are well spaced giving privacy, and the warm ambience and atmosphere is most pleasant. This all compliments the fine food prepared by this restaurant. The menu is written out in an old world style with dishes titled in French, but detailed in English. Notably on the expensive side, with starters (Les Entrees) in the €7 to €12 range, and mains (Les Plats) from €14 to €25. Les Desserts then average at €7 but the presentation, quality of ingredients, and service make for a gourmet eating experience, hence its title as a Brasserie. In fact all ingredients are listed as sourced locally. There is also an extensive range of fine wines starting at €24, but also by the glass if required. Plus a full bar service is available. For children, there is a healthy option menu available in 1, 2 or 3 courses at €9, €12 & €15 respectively. Most notably though, there is an early bird 3-course menu from 6pm to 7pm on working days, at only €25 which is fantastic value, considering the main courses on it are €23 a la carte. However, we availed of it on a Friday & Saturday while staying over at the Mt. Juliet hotel. Suffice for me to say on both days dining, the three courses presented to us were all to be savoured for. You must pause your conversation and focus on the flavourings as there is that extra effort being made in these kitchens that will provide you an evening to remember.
The Gallery Restaurant at the Church
Junction of Mary St. & Jervis St., Dublin 1, City Centre North, Dublin
My wife's brother & partner were over from England on a city break. We brought them here on Saturday afternoon because of the unique atmosphere of the high ceilings, the great organ and gallery area to savour it all. We were seated promptly in the gallery and served the most excellent pints of Guinness. Our guests only ever try the stout when in Ireland and savoured every drop. We had mains of Seafood Chowder, Bacon & Cabbage, Steak Sandwich & Chicken Hot-Wrap which were delivered quite soon after ordering. The Bacon dish was the best of them but all dishes were left clean & enjoyed. Desserts were shared scones & a cheesecake due to limited finances but the afternoon was well spent here rather than at a smaller restaurant. There's a wheelchair loo on the gallery floor too, which facilitated me. The wear & tear of the furnishings is obvious though, but for what we got was value for money as this converted old church is quite unique, a novelty place for visitors to the city.
Ouzos Bar and Grill
22 Castle Street, South Co. Dublin, Dalkey, Dublin
The early bird menus are a regular feature of most restaurants to about 7:30pm, but at Ouzos, it available all evening Mon-Thurs. This gave the three of us ample time to get home from work, and then back down to dine there for 7:30pm. For a Wednesday evening, we were pleasantly surprised to see how busy they were, a good sign too. This made for a good atmosphere. There are two early-bird menus at €21.95 & €24.95 and you can review them in advance on their website. We had starters of Chicken Liver & Brandy Parfait, Potted Crab & Shrimp & the Portabella, along with a crusty brown & cheese bread selections, absolutely delicious. I recommend the Chilean Armador by Odfjell (bin 39), served at the correct room temperature, this smooth aromatic was excellent value at €25. Mains were the Lemon Sole, Sirloin Surf & Turf & Ouzos Seafood Bake. While the thyme roasted potatoes were a little bland, the Ouzos fries were very good. The Bake comes with just a green salad but there are plenty of fish pieces in it to fill anyone. The restaurant takes pride in their seafood dishes and these were definitely fresh and delightful taste of the sea. They source their meat and fish from personal suppliers too which adds to the enjoyment along with excellent staff attention. Only other thing to watch with early-bird menus is the various supplement charges. In this case they applied to the steaks (we brought the remainder home it was so big!) and even the Catch of the Day had a €4 addition too, and it was only a Hake fish offering which I thought was a bit too much. Selecting from the side-orders could add up the bill too. However, we were all very pleased with our dining experience and had good value for money which is essential in these times; I hope you enjoy Ouzos too. We did not have desserts or coffee, eager as we were for a quick visit to the local pub to finish our birthday celebration evening.
Vinos Restaurant & Cafe
Church Road, Greystones, Greystones, Wicklow
Vino Pasta has a long running reputation of being one of the best in Greystones. Right beside the DART station, it now has an extended paved frontage area following the excellent upgrade to the roads & footpaths by the local council. This facilitates dining outdoors in the current summer sunshine in the lovely village atmosphere. There are two early-bird menus, one at €17.95, the other at €21.95 for 2 & 3 courses up to 7pm. Like most restaurants doing this these days, its excellent value for money compared to the 'a la carte' menu prices. The range of dishes available though is limited to about a half-dozen. With house wine prices starting around the €23 mark though, they do make their mark-up elsewhere. Goat's cheese with pine nuts & rocket, Mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese and Bruschetta (homemade) with garlic, pesto and tomato toppings were our starters, with a cool Bordeaux Chateau Haut Rian Sauvignon Blanc at €24.50 for starters. For mains, there is the traditional Lasagne, the only beef dish, a Pork fillet one, Chicken cacciatore, Marketplace fish special of the day (grill roasted salmon) and a vegetarian. Accompanied by herb-crusted wedges and freshly prepared vegetables, the meal for three was superb with ample servings all round, there was no leftovers from us. The sun headed down behind local shops and we went indoors then for desserts of Tiramisu, Creme Brulee and coffee. The desserts priced at €4 and coffee at €2.50. Total bill was €91.50 which was good value for money in a lovely setting with top-class service, dining here is always to be recommended.
Half Door Restaurant
John Street, Dingle, Dingle, Kerry
This restaurant is a mark-up on most in Dingle and is well deserved. The preparation and varied range of excellent seafood dishes are to die for. This is premium quality, as is their vintage wine-cellar; you must know your wines before selecting from a range that costs anything from €50 to €300 a bottle. Alternatively, there is regular wine list in the €20/€30 bracket which could accompany the set dinner menu at €40. Then there is the a-la-carte selection all of which, from what we saw coming from the kitchen were fabulous looking meals, particularly the lobster & crab thermidor dishes. There’s also a near full-bar too, with pints of lager and bottled beers available. It’s an old building, still retaining the original panelled wood ceilings which all seems well able to absorb the noise levels affording privacy at your table, in what is quite a squash to get a full house seated. But perhaps the toilets were suffering from lack of a modern upgrade though; there was a definite blockage somewhere but thank goodness not a niff present in the dining areas. My wife had the seafood chowder which was full of lovely lumps of various fish pieces in a pinkish sauce while I had the confit of duck in rhubarb & ginger, but I couldn’t detect the ginger bit. For mains, she had the blackened fillet of salmon couscous and I the char grilled Angus fillet with red wine sauce, the sauce coming in a little pot for dipping the fillet pieces, an absolute heaven of beef excellence. We shared a chocolate dessert. At this stage, we knew we were in a special place which only cost with wine about €120. It’s called the Half Door and you’re in for treat.
Old Smoke House (Now called The Old Smoke House)
Lower Main Street, Dingle, Kerry
We’ve dined here once before and it was a pleasure to return, this time with a group of 9 of us. We had a view out into the main street as opposed to sitting in the back room area overlooking the river that flows by outside. It’s an original building of the street and is tastefully decorated to appreciate the well-prepared dishes that presented us. I had the mussels in chilli & tarragon sauce for starters which is very unusual but having something exceptionally different was a pleasure. Mind you, my wife’s codling sauce was too strong for an entire dish. On returning it, there was no charge and was provided with a free dessert. Meanwhile, she availed of the far-too-many mackerel pieces that accompanied my champ & pesto special. These were tastefully grilled and as the mackerel were small they did not have that excessive oily taste you can get from this fish. Others to the table chose from the variety of fish dishes of salmon & herb-crusted plaice which are all derive from the local Atlantic seaboard, and you can taste the freshness. Moderate prices, you’ll get good value & service here.
Chart House Restaurant
The Mall, Dingle, Kerry
I have to tend towards the many reviews on these pages that attest to this restaurant being overrated. Certainly the menu prices on menupages.ie are not correct. The starters were all 11.95 which are too expensive. Some lesser priced ones would have been appreciated. Similarly, the mains are all highly priced too, and after a few days in Dingle, we found equally executed fish dishes which are a delight in this part of Kerry at a lesser charge, so do shop around. Nevertheless, we were a family party of 10 and were well accommodated with good service and all meals arrived together for each serving. The comments around the table were varied and everyone had plenty of good wine to enjoy our get-together occasion; but most agreed the starters were not worth it. Fine food, good atmosphere but not exceptional enough to justify their prices in these times. I would suggest going there in smaller groups too.
Church Road, Greystones, Wicklow
This is a quality Italian restaurant with service and style to match, but not at any inflated price range. There's something for everyone on the menu and if you get a sunny evening, it’s a delight to sit outside on their wooden terrace on the Greystones main street and watch the world go by. The staff helpful and very knowledgeable of their dishes too, plus they made an extra effort to produce something different when my wife pointed out her food allergy problems with pasta and bread. I had the Focaccia starter which is only €5.75 but there was well enough for 2 on it; a very light pizza crust with a variety of herbs and black olives. Then the vegetarian lasagne for my main course was divine in its rich sauce and succulent pasta, along with my wife's extended chicken liver pate with port sauce dish with wedges & side-salad was Italian dining at its best. There's a new wine range too, and we settled for a €20 young merlot which was excellent. There was no rush to move us along either as other tables became free for new arrivals and we waited over 20 minutes before sharing a dessert, followed by coffee in the setting sun. Excellent experience, try it.
The Pembroke @ The Imperial Hotel
South Mall, Cork City, Cork
My wife & I dined here as it was part of our 3-day stay, and invited our son & girlfriend to join us. I was glad of them coming along as we were the only diners there for 8pm on a midweek evening. However, the restaurant does a great range of sauces accompanying main courses such as tarragon which I asked for with my steak, while my wife delighted in the champagne & chive offering with the Leomon Sole. The girfriends salmon fillet was a huge portion, as was the roast beef for our son, with no shortage of crunchy vegetables & chunky chips. Yes, a splendid meal, but it went cool too quick due to the excessive air-conditioning, which kept our jackets and sweaters on. Maybe they expected more diners! Breakfasts there are also superb, as you choose your own makeup of the traditional Irish breakfast from the hot plates. The staff even made one up for me to bring back to my wife who had stayed in bed. You won't be disappointed and the dinner menus are very reasonably priced for what is a very upmarket hotel.
Roly Saul The Restaurant
The Mill House, Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 14, Dundrum, Dublin
An excellent ambience and well furnished, you have the option of indoors in the refurbished older millhouse building or partially outdoors in the all-glass conservatory. We were indoors which is very cosy & comfortable. Our party of four was well attended to while shown to our table, and then even advised in advance that the wine we chose was the last bottle of that type, should we wish to change. The ‘a la carte’ menu is exactly that as on the website, all on one page, so choosing did not take long as we nibbled on a crusty selection of in-house baked breads. The starters were an excellent example of the cuisine served here and promptly served quite soon after ordering, and all were delighted by their choices. The option to have halibut from the Atlantic seaboard was a definite for my wife, while I thoroughly enjoyed the duck with apricot & stuffing, divine flavours. Our guests enjoyed the hake and Hereford sirloin, which I thought was let down by being served with what seemed like french-fries rather than chips, especially at that price. All well nourished by theses two course, we declined the dessert menu, instead finishing our evening with coffees and time to relax a while before moving on into the summer night. Excellent dining with matching service.
17 Railway Road, South Co. Dublin, Dalkey, Dublin
We celebrated my wife's birthday with a friend in the Guinea Pig which made for a great evening out. The simple ambience of this little restaurant in Dalkey, accompanied by excellent service and a visit to the table by the chef de cuisine is a treat not to be missed. Celebrating 52 years in business this year, there is a celebratory 4-course menu offering of dinner for two, plus a bottle of wine at €80. This was easily amended to €120 to include our guest and an extra half-carafe of the same wine offer. It’s a Chilean reserve wine offering and it was very pleasant. We had starters of deep-fried Calamari rings, Vegetable spring rolls and Smoked Cod flakes in cream and herb sauce with cheese topping. This was then followed by the orange sorbet, another fine little touch to cleanse one's pallet. Fish mixed-grill, Lamb shank, Chicken wrapped in bacon, Crab meat dishes were just a few from the mains, but the three of us selected the Crisp Honey Roast Duck with apricot sauce. A selection of hot and crunchy vegetables plus small roasted potatoes accompanied this dish. The duck was already sliced across by the chef which made for easy parting of the skin for a selection of thin crispy pieces to the moister large ones, all very tender and so sign of any oiliness usually associated with duck. There was a good gap break between servings which gave us plenty of time to enjoy the wine & water servings for good conversation time. It was at this stage the chef visited our table to listen to any first-hand remarks. Then the desserts basket was brought to the table for us to select from, a much nicer way to choose rather than by a menu, don't you think. Compote of berries, Cheese plate for me and Chocolate slice with fruit, complete with de rigueur birthday candle on top just topped off the evening for us. An obliging staff member took photos of us for our memory keepsake. Coffee and endless top-ups completed a splendid celebration, and all for €120, excellent value. To be recommended.
1 Harbour Road, South Co. Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin
We had a gathering of 25 friends for our second Christmas drinks and lunch here and it was a huge success. Assembling at the bar first gave a chance to unwind before taking to our table for 2pm. There has been a huge improvement in that year and the atmosphere was vibrant all afternoon with patrons coming and going. This did not take away from the excellent service and all meals arrived promptly for our large group. We delayed our dessert order giving us a chance to move about the table to catch up with others too, and it was just after 7pm before some of us left for home or adjourned to a local pub. An excellent central venue for both large and small parties.
18 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin
The location and meal pricing makes this a very attractive little restaurant so close to Grafton St. There is a good range of popular Italian pasta & pizza dishes in and around the €10 mark, with starters all under a fiver. Desserts are reasonable too and they even had Christmas Pudding with custard & Cream. There's also a 4-course set dinner menu of non-Italian dishes for the bigger appetite at €39.95. So with wine only costing €20 to €25 which is a common price range, you'll finish off your days shopping with a well affordable treat here. Anyone on a budget in these recessional times will get value for money spent here, enjoy!
ely gastro bar
Grand Canal Square, (Next to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre), Dublin 2, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin
We had a corporate lunch of 12 people from 2pm. The ambience and atmosphere immediately impressed us with the view out across the Grand Canal Dock. The staff equally made us most welcome, at ease and by consequence; we had a very good experience. We used the set lunch menu but a number wanted their famous burger, and so that was easily facilitated. But the wine service was what made it for most of us. Each bottle was decanted and always the right temperature until they ran out, such was our consumption of the complete case. But by then, t'was 7pm and bellies full, most left for home. I've since reviewed the 'a la carte' menus online and they're very reasonable. I'll be back and would whole heartily recommend anyone for a definite treat.