Restaurant Reviews from riomhaire

Status: Connoisseur

Credibility Score:
52.5%

County: Dublin

No. of Reviews: 32

Member Since: 12 July 2008

Last Visit: 23 June 2016

The Best Restaurant

Seasons Restaurant, InterContinental Dublin

InterContinental Dublin, Simmonscourt Road, Ballsbridge, Ballsbridge, Dublin, Area Code: Dublin 4

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Cuisine:
Breakfast

Price Range:

Good
32 reviews

Reviewed 03rd May 2009 ( visited 03rd May 2009 )

My parents were staying at the Four Seasons and we ate lunch in the 'bistro' part of the main restaurant, which we find cosier. I was shocked when I opened the menu to find that it was prix fixe, at €60 a head! For lunch?!! But investigating further, I realised that the starter was a wide-ranging buffet from which you could fill your plate, and the dessert was a 'tasting platter', so things looked more promising. But my God, the range and quality of the starters was unbelievable. I busied myself with their smorgasbord of sushi, sashimi and other Japanese delights, and even went for seconds as I took advantage of the only good sushi available in Dublin. For mains I had lemon sole, which was absolutely delicious, though perhaps could have had more accompaniments. The dessert platter was light and very, very tasty. In all very expensive but so, so worth it.
Most Visited Restaurant

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill restaurant

51 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, Dawson Street, Dublin, Area Code:

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Cuisine:
Steak

Price Range:

Good
240 reviews

Reviewed 28th July 2009 ( visited 27th July 2009 )

I finally managed to make it here after wanting to do so for a while, so squeezed in a lunch with some friends. It was a Monday so it was relatively empty, but still managed to maintain a good atmosphere. I had the half a dozen oysters which were very good and well-presented, while I also tried the ‘oyster cocktail’ which involved shelled oysters in a martini glass filled with a mixture which I didn’t quite catch the waiter describe, but which involved tomato juice, Tabasco and lemon and which was delicious and highly recommended. The same could be said for the prawn cocktail which was delicately lovely. For mains I had the halibut steak a la Sicilian, and which came crisply-topped and interestingly tangy from the olives. The meats were disappointing however, with the black-peppercorn steak over-loaded with the things and thereby masking any taste of the meat, and separately the plain fillet was quite rubbery. The béarnaise sauce was fantastic though, and the spatchcock chicken with chipolatas a simple delight. Nothing came with extras however, meaning all veg needed to be ordered on the side and which made the whole experience a rather pricy one, especially in the current environment. The Chilean Sauvignon Blanc we received was very disappointing and unusually at odds with the high quality of everything else there. But I enjoyed it nevertheless, and would recommend it as a ‘special-yet-informal’ destination.
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Michael's Italian
57 Deerpark Road, Mount Merrion, Dublin

Lovely spot and very friendly staff, but the food lacked any sort of quality or finesse. Sure, it fills you up, but it's quite plain and functional. The steak is the highlight of the menu, which is ironic as there's absolutely no Italian twist on it - it's just served with onion rings and chips. The "home made gelato", on the other hand, is the absolute worst thing on the menu - again another irony. Wild Duck and Mushroom Arancini were nice but over-crumbed and dry. Goats Cheese Rigatoni al Forno was heavy, claggy and bland. The House Seafood Linguine was just just tomato sauce with some seafood thrown in (so no freshness usually found in other versions of this dish). The brownie for dessert is nice but too floury. Overall nice to visit if you can't be bothered cooking, but nothing to excite here.

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Roast
10a Merrion Rd, Dublin 4, Ballsbridge, Dublin

A truly terrible meal. Got the MenuPages deal of €49 for 6 courses for 2 people, and still it wasn't worth €25 each. Oddly, everything was very well presented, but this care and attention somehow didn't make it into the quality of the ingredients or the cooking itself. The pork starter was overcooked and tough. The goats cheese starter had the cheese thinned out with yoghurt for some reason. The duck main was, again, way overcooked and the sirloin was a poor cut of meat with gristle too evident. The "pre-dessert" was a confected mish-mash that tasted of melted-down jelly babies (not as nice as it sounds!). The apple tart and chocolate fondant desserts themselves though were quite nice, though they were probably bought in. Service was very friendly but there was only two people for the whole restaurant which filled by the end of the evening. Oddly the manager didn't chip in at all despite this, instead opting to lounge by the bar. I can't believe that this place is still open, given our experience.

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Saba To Go
13 Rathgar Road, Rathmines, Dublin

My favourite Thai in Dublin. Most dishes here are excellent, and always choc-full of ingredients. Green Curry is a particular favourite, as is the properly creamy and richMassaman, I take on board what a previous review has said about the ‘crispy’ dishes though – they’re always soggy so beware. That said the menu is fantastically diverse and offers real alternative to the same-y menus in most other Thais out there – try the Duck Pattaya. Wine is fantastic and great value too, which is odd for a Thai takeaway. Can’t get enough of the place.

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Kanum Thai
16 Orwell Rd, Dublin 4, Rathgar, Dublin

I must be one of the few who don’t think that Kanum is the be-all-and-end-all of Thai in Dublin. I’m a Thai nut and have tried many of the dishes here, but feel that they are often lacking and are missing that something that can make Thai special. The curries are often thin and scant on ingredients, the ‘finger-food’ starters/snacks are normally deep-fried and generic-tasting. Service is always friendly and the outlet is spotless, but the food is the thing and I’m afraid that there are better Thais out there.

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Nico's Restaurant
53 Dame Street, Dublin, City Centre South, Dublin

Service was very good, very attentive, but the décor is very, eh, ‘Italian’, and by that I mean eclectic and somewhat tasteless. But the food is the most important thing, so how was that? Well, ok, but nothing I or many of my friends could accomplish in our own homes. I had the cannelloni, which was somewhat indistinguishable from the lasagne and tasted much the same. For starters we had the aubergine which was, well, an aubergine, and the garlic prawns which were garlic prawns. Everything is carried out with the minimum of panache or anything to distinguish it from what your mate would make, but is nevertheless not ‘rustic home style’ either. Wine list is expensive and I could name-check a number of wines which were 30% cheaper elsewhere. Uninspiring overall.

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The Barn Restaurant
Glanmire Cork, Glanmire, Cork

I really can't see what the previous reviewers see in this place. All dishes were executed with the minimum of affection or care, and seemed to be working off a template rather than any sort of passion. The menu is a large single printed sheet, with no specials added, so any attempt at seasonality or daily offerings are instantly out - it's the same old, day in, day out. The bread was foamy, semi-stale and obviously out of a packet, perhaps from the local Tesco, My starter of courgette soup was cup-a-soup blended with some courgette, and some undercooked chunks of said vegetable thrown in just in case you forgot what you were eating. My pancetta wrapped monkfish came stuffed with an unannounced filling of something spicy and heavily seasoned with black pepper, taking away from the fish. The crab 'soufflé' on the side was lost in a mess of mediocre diced peppers. The included sides of vegetables were thrown on a side plate and left to roll around. Everything was careless, tired and over seasoned; the sauces were obviously from packets. Everything seemed to be simply assembled in the kitchen using pre-made or pre-prepared ingredients. The wine list is risibly small and pathetic, and I had to refuse two different white wines because they were too old, and the 'sommelier' couldn't honestly tell me which wine on the list was the most recent vintage. Desserts were OK but I thought the waitress serving us was going to hit us with the ice cream scoop, given her scowling demeanour. Apparently this place is a local favourite which has been open for decades - it's time for it to allow something of quality to take its place.

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Itsa4
6a Sandymount Green, Sandymount, Dublin

I'm a big fan of Domini Kemp and her weekly column in the Irish Times, so I was glad to finally try this place. I could not have been more disappointed though - the food was bland beyond belief. The White Bean and Truffle Soup was, well, generally tasteless with barely any truffle oil in it and was even slightly bitter. The Asian Chicken Salad was, well, boringly bland and the side of limp, faded Asparagus in Anchovy Butter even worse. The by-the-glass wine menu is shockingly disappointing with bottom-of-the-barrel offerings of cheap supermarket labels. Service was nice and friendly, but my God this place has some serious work to do.

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Riva Restaurant - Harolds Cross
53 Rathgar Avenue, South Dublin, Harolds Cross, Dublin

Have been to Riva on Grand Canal Dock and was expecting a café version here, but it cannot have been more different. In short, don’t come here for dinner; I’m sure it’s a nice place for breakfast and a quick lunch, but the kitchen, if that’s what you can call a broom cupboard with a hob in the middle of the premises, doesn’t seem up to the task of cooking fresh food. My duck and lentils was just acceptable – the duck itself being acceptable but served on a bed of, well, lentils, unadorned and boring (and I usually love lentils). My girlfriend’s pasta carbonara was not al dente but undercooked – the sauce was, again, alright, but hard to eat when weighed down by the stiff pasta. In all it tasted of your flatmate’s home cooking re-heated. The décor was untidy, and not in a quaint way, with high chairs, and spare tables cluttered around. We were here on a voucher deal, which was lucky as I would never pay full price for what we received, and when asked how it was I replied ‘grand’, to which the waitress grunted and refused to wish me goodbye on my way out. They even got in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority regarding the voucher deal. Best avoided.

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Dax Cafe Bar
23 Pembroke Street Upper, City Centre South, Dublin

Had a couple of quick tapas here and was disappointed. The staff are fantastic, the ambiance and location very good, but the food was a let-down. I had the Sautéed Duck & Mushroom with Garlic & Parsley, and the Provençal Vegetable Cake with Piquillos Coulis. The duck was tough, obviously some off-cut, and despite the mushrooms being very good it was a shame they couldn’t get the meat right. The “Provençal Vegetable Cake” was actually more of a quiche, was seriously lacking in vegetables and was over-seasoned with thyme. It was only a couple of tapas, but for €15 for the two I could have gotten much better value, and much better quality food in other tapas bars in town.

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Chapter One Restaurant
18/19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, City Centre North, Dublin

Had the pre-theatre here and was very much looking forward to it, however I left feeling a little disappointed. We had the trout to start, which was nice but not particularly interesting, and the black pudding, which garnered much the same response. For mains I had the veal, which was delicious, flavoursome and succulent, while my friends all had the beef daube on the recommendation of the maitre d’, and though I found it quite nice my friends felt a little let-down and thought it plain. We all had the chocolate mousse dessert which again was good but the caramel jelly was flavourless and we thought it a pointless addition. Finally service was good but not Michelin-starred. And that’s the thing, really – it was all very, well, nice, but nowhere near what we were expecting for a Michelin star. Just as a winemaker should be judged on their cheapest wine, so should a restaurant be judged on their value menus. Best hold off and wait until you have time for their tasting menu it seems.

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Oliviers at the Schoolhouse
2-8 Northumberland Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin

For our entire two and a half hours the Schoolhouse we were, literally, the only customers in the restaurant. That’s three people in total for the whole Thursday night. Unbelievable. But then as the evening progressed we discovered why: the food was fine but extraordinarily poor value and clumsily assembled in places, such as over-salting here, undercooking there, etc. I assume the kitchen staff were standing around with their arms folded for much of the evening and hastily threw something out when our orders came through. Amuse-bouches between each course added a bit of fun but were inevitably the silk purses from the proverbial sow’s ear. Service was despicable, especially given that we were the only people there. In all, this place is really best avoided.

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Locks Brasserie
No. 1 Windsor Terrace, South Dublin, Portobello, Dublin

Didn’t realise until booking that Locks was the sister restaurant to Pearl Brasserie in town, one of my favourite restaurants in town, so what you get here is a sort of ‘Baby Pearl’. A short but tasty menu meant we were torn between choices, always a good thing. She had the hamhock which was good but perhaps not exciting, though my lamb sweetbreads were delicious and flavoursome. For mains she had the hake, which was perfectly matched with some crab on top and was quite lovely. I had the ‘Portobello Mushroom Pithivier’ which was unusual for me being a rabid carnivore, but I was in a curious mood, and thankfully I wasn’t disappointed: it was a delightfully large, heavy lump of savoury mushroom-and-pastry goodness, and I was delighted by my choice. For desserts her creme brulée was amazing, and my ‘coconut rice pudding, pineapple carpaccio, kiwi jelly, papaya purée & sechuan pepper meringue’ was a very weird delight. Presentation was fantastic and service impeccable – both professional and genuinely friendly. We arrived just as two large parties of families complete with noisy children were leaving, thank God, as it’s a small space and the atmosphere could be easily ruined by something like crying kids; still it’s nice to see that they will cater for families. Décor is tasteful and elegant throughout. A wonderful place, and well worth the visit.

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The Winding Stair Restaurant
40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1 , City Centre North, Dublin

Had the 2-course, €17.85, lunch menu here. Delightful experience overall, and found it tough to choose my courses from the blackboard. I eventually settled on the potato boxty with beetroot and butternut squash (a tasty little number and a great spin on a trad classic), while my companions had the vegetable broth (thick, hearty and delicious) and the ‘free-roaming’ chicken liver pâté (unfortunately bland and acidic). Nostalgia pushed me towards the corned beef and mash for the main, which was plentiful, heavy and filling, though I couldn’t help to think that after an initial tastiness it was somewhat plain and after a time became a bit boring. The other two had the raywing, which was also plentiful and delicious and was (I noted enviously) somewhat tastier, more varied and exciting than my rustic choice. Service was super: warm, friendly and honest, and the atmosphere matched this generally. I couldn’t help to think there could be better value to be had elsewhere though, but perhaps my menu choice had an effect on this.

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The Pig's Ear
4 Nassau Street, Dublin, City Centre South, Dublin

Took advantage of the lunch offer here and was delighted with the experience overall. Atmosphere was muted, but it suited the location and minimalist décor I think. She had the Butter Potted Crab which was delicious though the 'Spiced Mayonnaise' was flavourless; I had the Old Fashioned Pork & Bacon Brawn which was a deliciously welcome treat. For mains I'd the fish of the day – salmon - which was great and wonderfully garnished with Irish garden greens of dill, flat leaf parsley, mint, et al, though maybe I should have gone with something more exotic; while she had the 'Risotto' of Spelt Pearls which I thought would be boring but was fantastic, a great Irish take on a traditional (and often bland) favourite. The Caramelised Lemon Rice Pudding was both delicate and potent depending on the mouthful, while the Vanilla Cheesecake was rich and thick. The coffee was short and strong, just the way I like it. All were served in varying pots, jars and Le Creuset pans, which added a nice twist to the perhaps austere set-up. Service was professional but perhaps a little cold; it was efficient though. A great 3-course meal and a bargain for €20. A place to be proud of should you wish to show off to foreign guests (as I was).

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Les Freres Jacques
74 Dame Street, Dublin City Centre, Temple Bar, Dublin

Very, very disappointing. Was brought here as a birthday treat as it’s one of the better-known and well-respected establishments in Dublin. For the life of me I can’t understand why. The air was stale and fusty when we entered, the décor and lighting reminiscent of a cheap Chinese restaurant. The poorly-typed menu was a little limited but had adventurous touches – a good sign in an establishment able to carry it off. Les Freres Jacques did not. We were given an amuse-bouche involving prawns which was fine but a bit tired. She had the foie gras and I had the scallops & prawns to start – again, fine, but nothing special – we were expecting much better for the frankly extraordinary price. For main I had the roast duck magret which came with chocolate sauce; I had chocolate sauce with deer previously and it was a fantastic combination so expected much the same here. It was, however, cheaply made and it smothered the duck which, despite being well-cooked itself, I could not taste as it was swimming in the sauce. She has steak which, again, was fine, but nothing special and available elsewhere for much better value. The whole meal was one massive disappointment, especially given the astronomical price. Service was great and the wine good though. This place seems to be riding on the coat-tails of people who must have come here in decades past when it was one of the only fine food eateries in town, and who continue to patronise the place without realising the better food and value to be found elsewhere nowadays. Les Freres Jacques is well past its best and doesn’t deserve the reputation it has. The final cost of your dinner here is better off spent in a Michelin-starred restaurant where you will actually get something for your money. We left the place feeling cheated and robbed.

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Camden Kitchen
3A Camden Market, Grantham Street, Dublin 2, Camden Street, Dublin

This place is a little gem. Went here for a birthday dinner so lots of everything was ordered, and without boring you by recounting it all I can say with confidence that nothing was amiss here. The food was superb, especially for the price given the quality. I had the rabbit and it was some of the best I've had in Dublin, and miles ahead of a well-known establishment I slated in an earlier review. Uniquely, all wines are available by the glass, meaning a selection of 8-10 wines (I can’t remember exactly) and the opportunity for all at the one table to mix and match according to their menu choices. Service was attentive yet unintrusive, knowledgeable yet unpretentious. The only downfall was the shocking level of noise downstairs when full – the place needs some soft furnishings to absorb the din. All in all a fantastic surprise; I’m just looking for a reason to return…

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Rolys Bistro
7 Ballsbridge Terrace, Dublin, Ballsbridge, Dublin

Staff were disrespectful. There was only noise, not atmosphere. We were treated as though on a conveyor belt - in, fed, out - and served by cold, distant automatons. Worse is that they force a 10% service charge on you, indeed this was mentioned four times on the menu. There was not a glimmer of life in anyone we came across and everything was performed with disinterest. We asked half way through our meal for mashed potato, but he bought us mint & basil mash; when we asked for it to be exchanged he said nothing and reappeared later with some normal mash, not a word of apology or surprise at the mistake. When we gave the card to pay it was whisked away without a word and disappeared for 10 minutes without explanation until a different server brought back the receipt and said simply, "You sign", without a thank you or goodbye. Food was quite good but swamped by the awfulness of the service and atmosphere. It was packed, and forever will be because "it's Roly's" and people expect that they have to like this place. Previous menus repeatedly mention the food quality and value - all this can be found elsewhere and done much, much better, and you're on the right website to find alternatives to this lifeless, frenetic disappointment. I could never recommend this place to anyone.

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Fitzsimons
21-22 Wellington Quay, Temple Bar , Temple Bar, Dublin

Flooded with stag and hen parties; surly, rude staff; re-heated bog-standard food; vaccuum-like lack of atmosphere ... this is basically a McDonald's dressed up in TV lit, stale, characterless, pseudo-pub awfulness with a slab of Paddywhackery. I was led astray here by a friend. Never, ever, again.

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Brownes Deli and Cafe
18 Sandymount Green, Dublin 4, Sandymount, Dublin

Had brunch here on a Sunday as it's "the place to be" for that kind of thing. We sat in the extended bit next door, which had awful acoustics and was deafening. Service was good but due to the numbers felt a bit hurried and conveyor-belt-like. I ordered the 'stack of 3 pancakes' with bacon and maple syrup which I expected to be a trio of thick wholesome American pancakes, but which actually ended up being a sorry mess of French crepes (different thing entirely) with a pathetic drizzle of syrup (none extra on the side) and overpowering dump of packet streaky bacon. Poor choice. She ordered the Full Irish, which was good in fairness. She asked for ketchup and was served a weird, jam-like, confected thing which may be related to relish. Coffee was OK, but there are a few better, less crowded and less hyped places around the green.

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Busyfeet & Coco Cafe
41- 42 South William Street, South William Street, Dublin

Called in here for a quick coffee and bite to eat with a friend. We sat out the back given it was a warm evening and he smokes. The menu is uninspired, covering all the usual bagel and sandwich reliables, so I opted for a burger while he had the Caesar salad with added bacon. My burger was a sorry affair: cheap meat in a cheap bun with admittedly nice relish and tomatoes, but drowned out by boring shredded iceburg lettuce. The ‘side salad’ was exactly the same shredded iceberg lettuce and tomatoes in my burger, only on the side. A poor effort worthy of a chippy van outside a nightclub at 3am on a Saturday night. I would have been better of at McDonald’s. The Caesar salad was thankfully generous, but had the disturbing aftertaste of carbolic soap. The added streaky bacon was served whole and somewhat stale, and it was all served on, you guessed it, shredded iceberg lettuce. They must have got the stuff on bulk discount. A drizzling of some flavourless white sauce topped off what actually, technically, wasn’t a Caesar salad at all. The coffee was fine in fairness, and the service smiling, but they forgot about us out the back. There’s nothing going for this place at all really, a rip-off for the poor quality you receive. Note that most of the previous reviews give their good marks because of the potential to sit outside on a nice day. By all means do so and have a coffee, but don’t bother your money with anything that comes from the kitchen, there are far too many better cafés nearby.

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

I've been here once before and remember it being quite nice but nothing special, but a recent visit really took me by surprise. The place is fantastic, and difficult to fault. The Plateau de Pâtés du Jour to start was delivered with great pomp and ceremony and was delicious, especially the duck rillets and the terrine; while my leek, saucisson, egg and truffle salad was a treat. We avoided seafood as we had some the night before, but by all accounts it can be great here. Instead we had the duck breast and pigeon, and both were fantastic. The former was succulent and its white bean cassoulet fantastically tasty and wholesome; the latter carried off with respect and grace. The wine menu was a real surprise, offering an excellent, concise selection for some reasonable prices and being particularly generous in offering differing sizes (glass, carafe and bottle) and inventively separating them by ‘normal’ and ‘reserve’ wines. But the real treat was the small but perfectly-chosen selection of half bottles: we were able to have a half bottle of Meursault to match the starters and a half bottle of Gevrey Chambertin to perfectly match the gamey mains, meaning we got great quality wines but weren’t stuck with one full bottle or getting unnecessarily inebriated, an experience I have not yet come across in Dublin and is a delightfully far cry from the predictably drab New World offerings you get when you downsize. The service was professional yet human and even cheeky at times. My only complaint was that the acoustics are somewhat lousy, especially if there’s a vocal crowd in (which there was that night). Highly recommended.

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Hugo's
6 Merrion Row, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

I was one of a party of five and we were seated downstairs, though this place doesn't seem to be able to cater for more than four as we were quite crammed around a small table, though there didn't seem to any larger one there. For starters, the queen scallops were awful: tough and salty; my confit of duck was only ok, though small and a bit over-cooked; the charcuterie board was uninspiring; and the parmesan and tomato cake was good but then it is just a potato cake so not much can go wrong there! My main of venison was variable. Two rough-looking fillets were served, one of which was tougher than the other, but oddly both were actually succulent in parts. That said it was OK, and the sides were amenable. Two of the diners each got the chicken and pasta dishes which was met with very pleasurable reviews, and indeed it was quite good. The duck was again for one of the mains but was somewhat better than the starter, though the gratin dauphinois was the real winner of that dish. The wines were very disappointing for an establishment that appears to market itself as a wine bistro. A list full of no-names means that it’s quite hit-and-miss, and indeed the Fleurie we chose (the only one on the list) was OK but nothing special. This all said, the service was excellent and friendly, and in fairness can be good value for a very city-centre location if you play your cards right. If you get to sit upstairs (which has more atmosphere) with just one or two other people and order the chicken and pasta, then you could be on to a winner.

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Pearl Brasserie
20 Merrion Street Upper, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

Pearl Brasserie has provided me with the best dining experience I have had in Dublin in the 7 years I have been living here. It would take me more than the maximum 2000 characters to sing the praises of this restaurant, but let me just say that everything - and I mean everything - was excellent when I visited here. The service from every one of the members of staff who graced us with their presence was exemplary. The food was outstanding: absolutely delicious and stunningly presented. The wines by the glass (I was driving unfortunately) were outstanding and I eyed the rest of the list enviously. The décor was gorgeous yet unfussed (apart from the booths which were unashamedly decadent). Yes, it is expensive, but this place is worth every penny and is truly a rewarding experience.

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Captain America's Cookhouse and Bar (Tallaght)
Unit A3 Tallaght Cross Dublin 24, Tallaght, Dublin

I sometimes eat here for lunch as I work nearby, but usually only on the request of others as this place is tiresome. It's a good value lunch at €9.90 if burgers, chips and big glasses of soft drinks are your thing, but for me there's only so much you can do with this and it seems the kitchen is of the same opinion - the stuff is thrown out at a lightening speed, which is a definite plus, but then you realise that it's not all exactly fresh and only just re-heated then assembled. The chips are good though. A good place for a daycent feed in Tallaght but there's better quality to be found elsewhere.

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Harrys Cafe Bar
21 Upper George's Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

Popped in here almost by accident and quite liked the place. I only needed a quick snack and cup of coffee, so I got the breakfast roll (it being a Sunday, and the morning-after-the-night-before) and an Americano. The breakfast roll was perhaps a bit scant, but was tasty and nicely done - i.e. no big, greasy, industrial-sized rashers, etc, but good-quality ingredients – but my big plus was the Americano (which is done so badly with such shocking frequency in Dublin) but this is one of the best places I’d had one by far. The décor is a laid-back, student café style, and had staff to match – one exceptionally cheery and one grumpy. In all quite a pleasant experience.

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

Our visit didn't start well as we were informed upon entering that there was a 15 min delay on all orders, despite the fact that it's not by any means a large restaurant so I can't see where the difficulty lay (and it wasn’t explained to me either). In fact, I was turned away on my last visit here as they could not feed full capacity as they were undergoing an extension of the kitchen! After being seated uncomfortably close to the kitchen serving hatch we chose our meals, but then we were studiously ignored in order to buy the kitchen more time. But anyway, the food: we started off with the pinchos, which were almost OK but bad value and very amateur in execution, followed by the chicken for me and the burger for her. My chicken was excellent, so full of flavour and very well cooked, excellent chunky veg and nice mash, but unfortunately her burger was a slab of unseasoned, bland beef. The chips were great, however, as was the espresso served with Valhrona chocolate. Unfortunately, we were charged the main course price for our shared starter of pinchos, and I was bluntly informed that because we shared the starter then they brought the main course size. The fault was in their incorrect assumption, I informed them, which led to a sudden disposal of all amiability which was replaced by a chilliness I have not experienced in some time. My bill was re-calculated and payment processed without eye contact or any semblance of manners. Luckily it was at the end of the meal. In all Green Nineteen is indeed quite good, and excellent value, but I feel the unconditionally excellent reviews are somewhat misplaced.

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Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill
51 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, Dawson Street, Dublin

I finally managed to make it here after wanting to do so for a while, so squeezed in a lunch with some friends. It was a Monday so it was relatively empty, but still managed to maintain a good atmosphere. I had the half a dozen oysters which were very good and well-presented, while I also tried the ‘oyster cocktail’ which involved shelled oysters in a martini glass filled with a mixture which I didn’t quite catch the waiter describe, but which involved tomato juice, Tabasco and lemon and which was delicious and highly recommended. The same could be said for the prawn cocktail which was delicately lovely. For mains I had the halibut steak a la Sicilian, and which came crisply-topped and interestingly tangy from the olives. The meats were disappointing however, with the black-peppercorn steak over-loaded with the things and thereby masking any taste of the meat, and separately the plain fillet was quite rubbery. The béarnaise sauce was fantastic though, and the spatchcock chicken with chipolatas a simple delight. Nothing came with extras however, meaning all veg needed to be ordered on the side and which made the whole experience a rather pricy one, especially in the current environment. The Chilean Sauvignon Blanc we received was very disappointing and unusually at odds with the high quality of everything else there. But I enjoyed it nevertheless, and would recommend it as a ‘special-yet-informal’ destination.

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Seasons Restaurant, InterContinental Dublin
InterContinental Dublin, Simmonscourt Road, Ballsbridge, Ballsbridge, Dublin

My parents were staying at the Four Seasons and we ate lunch in the 'bistro' part of the main restaurant, which we find cosier. I was shocked when I opened the menu to find that it was prix fixe, at €60 a head! For lunch?!! But investigating further, I realised that the starter was a wide-ranging buffet from which you could fill your plate, and the dessert was a 'tasting platter', so things looked more promising. But my God, the range and quality of the starters was unbelievable. I busied myself with their smorgasbord of sushi, sashimi and other Japanese delights, and even went for seconds as I took advantage of the only good sushi available in Dublin. For mains I had lemon sole, which was absolutely delicious, though perhaps could have had more accompaniments. The dessert platter was light and very, very tasty. In all very expensive but so, so worth it.

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The Port House
64a South William Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

Ate here with my girlfriend and we ended up getting five plates between us - the patatas with all three dips (be sure and get all three!) the blackpudding with chickpeas & pine nuts, the Port House tortilla, the strips of calamari and the meatballs. The first four disches were excellent, with the meatballs the only disappointment (bland, bland, bland, and one of the more expensive items on the menu). My favourite was the blackpudding, which was plentiful, succulent and hearty. The patatas with dips and calamari were also very notable. We had a large lass of wine each with the dinner and left full, content and happy, and all for only €20 each, which is a bargain given the range of dishes we had, plus wine. Highly recommended.

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YO Sushi (Dundrum)
Level 1, Unit 26A, Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 14, Dundrum, Dublin

What's there to like here? You can't have any atmosphere sitting exposed in the middle of a busy shopping centre, the service is scant given it's largely self-serve, the food quality is very poor and the prices are extortionate. You even have to pay for tap water! There was not one thing I liked about this eaterie. Avoid.

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Luigi Malones Restaurant
5/6 Cecilia Street, Dublin 2 , City Centre, Temple Bar, Dublin

I regretted going here almost immediately - it has the atmosphere of an airport eaterie and we were greeted chillingly at the door. Things improved a little during our stay, however, with two difference waiters more than making up for our grumpy greeter. The menu was considerably less Italian than the establishment's name suggests and scant on the pasta dishes, though we were in time for a good value menu with a main and soft drink for €10.90, though the Coke I ordered came incorrectly mixed by the machine and thus overly watery - one of the ways they save money on this meal deal. My Chicken Tequila Fettuccine was good, though not remarkable (or was the rest of the experience having an effect?). My comanion was not particularly hungry and had the Chicken Goujons, which were plain. The place lacks any warmth or charm - get in, get fed, get out.

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L'Gueuleton
No 1 Fade Street, Off Georges's Street, Dublin 2, City Centre South, Dublin

We were placed in a corner table in the less atmospheric half of the restaurant and there was the disconcerting lingering smell of rotting vegetables, but the rest of our experience at l'Gueuleton was excellent. Her French onion soup and my escargots were excellent, the former being both subtle and powerful depending on the mouthful and the latter being better than the escargots I had recently in Paris. For mains I had the chicken chasseur which was simple and tasty, and she had the ribeye steak which, though very flavoursome and well garnished was a bit tough due to the cut - why didn't they have sirloin or fillet? We ordered the house wines of the day - a Syrah and Tempranillo - both of which unfortunately disappointing. The service I found was very friendly and attentive, and I never experienced the poor service as per previous reviews. All in all a highly enjoyable night and definitely recommended.

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