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Lunch in Dublin


fergal
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Hi,

my wife & I will be in Dublin over the weekend and we were wondering where's good for lunch and/or gastronomic delights we should try.

Any suggestions would be helpful? It's not a place I know well.

thanks

Fergal

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You'll do well to get a decent dinner on Valentine's Day at this late stage, but you might do okay for lunch. Normally I'd send you straight to Mint in Ranelagh, but they don't do lunch on Saturdays. If you're in on Friday, though, get the Luas from Stephen's Green -- it'll only take a couple of minutes.

At the higher end I'd consider Thornton's or Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud. The latter especially is lovely at lunch, and not bad value for a 2-star.

Next tier down I'm always fond of Bang Cafe, and they have a new lunch deal going on there at the moment. Pearl Brasserie is another lovely spot, but I can't remember if they open for lunch on Saturdays (a lot of the better restaurants don't). Dax is another, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't open. One Pico is one I haven't been to in a while, but they have an excellent lunch deal available at the moment also. Whether it's available this particular Saturday I don't know.

For rib-sticking grub in a relaxed setting, you should definitely consider L'Gueleton, which has almost become my default Saturday long lunch spot. You can't book, just turn up. Fallon & Byrne is popular and nice, although I'm not a huge fan. For a glass of wine and some pretty decent tapas, you could try Port House or it's sister restaurant Bar Pintxo. Dunne & Crescenzi is always a good bet as well.

These are the ones I'd frequent, but I'm sure there'll be plenty of other suggestions. What kind of budget are you looking at? Where are you staying?

Incidentally, Sunday Brunch in the Exchange at the Westin is, by all accounts, really very good.

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thank you Simon for your great reply.

We're staying at The Shelbourne. And are keen on some good Irish food. So a 'gastropub' option would be a definite consideration.

I guess with the state of the Euro, dining out in the high-end restaurants doesn't represent good value for money!

regards

fergal

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Gastropubs aren't so common in Ireland, at least not good ones, so you might struggle a bit there. The Winding Stair would be ideal food-wise (and should have been in my original post) as it represents really good Irish cooking, but it's so busy you'd definitely need a booking, and it might run a bit pricey.

The relative strength of the Euro is a kicker alright. It's going to make it really difficult to eat well for anything approaching a reasonable GBP price... I'm not so good at this kind of thing in the city centre. I'll keep thinking, but hopefully somebody else will be along shortly with more recommendations.

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Simon has covered most bases but I'd also recommend The Mermaid Cafe for Saturday or Sunday brunch/lunch. I've also had a couple of decent dinners in The Pig's Ear and like the Winding Stair, the cooking is modern Irish.

As Simon pointed out, Saturday night is going to be very busy for St. Valentines so I would strongly recommend l'Gueuleton on Fade St. for Saturday evening. They don't take bookings so go along before 6pm and queue for a few mins. You can go straight in or stick your name down for later and go next door for pint!

Any of the others mentioned should be fine for Sat/Sun afternoon. Mermaid, Winding Stair and Pig's Ear also open Sunday evening.

Have a great weekend and don't forget to let us know how you got on.

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many thanks for your help. I've booked the Winding Stair & the Pigs Ear.

We're having Sunday lunch at the Winding Stair, but they said they would need the table back by 5.15pm (on a 2pm booking for 2 people)!

None of your 1.5hr/2hr turn around slots here!

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Great recommendations above, hope you enjoy your trip.

If you're looking for a light lunch on Saturday, you might find Shebeen Chic on Georges St interesting; it's very tongue in cheek from a decor POV, and the mussels in cream with jalapeno is an unexpectedly successful combination. They come in a big bucket with plenty of bread. Another nice light lunch time spot is upstairs in La Maison des Gourmets in Castle Market

I've pasted in part of a review I did of the Pig's Ear a few months ago.

***

With the nagging feeling that someone was making fun of us for the things we thought were classy back in the ‘80s, we put the menu to the test. The shrimp cocktail (€9.95) appeared, packed full to the brim of a whiskey tumbler, with delicious shrimps, crisp lettuce and a particularly good avocado purée. Nice one, very confident presentation, we like your style. Nothing ironically-twee about this; we were in good company. The chicken liver parfait (€8.95) was creamy, savoury and seductive; and the omelette (€12.95) was served in its own little pan with a salad of micro greens. Very London, very smart, very now. The pork terrine (€9.95) with little credit crunchy garnishes of the eponymous pig’s ear, was tasty and rustic, but not particularly edgy. Both the chicken liver and the terrine came with generous quantities of excellent toast; a pleasant change from the customary dearth which enforces toast ration management when consuming pâté, terrine, or soup de poisson.

For mains we had slow-cooked pork belly with a home-made sausage roll and caramelised onions (€23.95), roast breast of chicken with peas, morels, and a chicken pie side dish (€23.95), grilled hake with crushed potatoes in a tomato vinaigrette sauce (€25.95), and seabass with steamed clams and white beans (€25.95). All were competently prepared, and all of the ingredients were very good, but none of these dishes quite made it to the “wow factor”. The pork belly was probably the best of our mains, moist and flavourful with nice texture added by the sausage roll and onions. Both fish dishes were somewhat weaker choices: the seabass was cooked to just the right degree of doneness, but the accompanying white beans and sauce were a bit bland; the hake was also nicely cooked, but again the other components of this dish were not terribly exciting. The chicken pie was good, although the ratio of pastry to chicken was a bit high, and the roast chicken breast was, well, roast chicken breast. We had also ordered two sides, of mashed potatoes and roast vegetables, which were perfectly nice but as it happened, completely unnecessary, as there was more than enough food already on the plates.

Don’t get me wrong, none of the main courses were bad dishes, and I don’t mean to sound like we didn’t enjoy them. If there’s the very tiniest, minor disappointment with our mains, the fault probably lies more with our ordering than with the chef’s cooking. Next time I go back (and there will definitely be a next time), I think I’ll try the shepherd’s pie or the bacon and cabbage rather than fish—simple, honest, Irish comfort food is what they do best here.

Desserts were very much in keeping with this theme. The jelly and ice-cream was sublime. Moulded into a ring, it glistened like a deep ruby jewel, embedded with sweet, lush blackberries. The sherry trifle was extremely good too, as was the lemon tart.

Service was spot on throughout the night—all of the staff were friendly, professional, knowledgeable about the dishes, and moved things along at just the right pace. We never grew bored waiting between courses, but never felt rushed either.

The total damage was €306 for four of us, with two mid-priced bottles of wine, two cappuccinos, and pre-dinner wine extravagance. Without the champagne and Mersault before dinner, or the unnecessary side dishes of vegetables, the bill would have been €240, or €60 a person. And that is great value by any standard.

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Fergal's question has provoked a very useful update of where to eat in Dublin's city centre from those who know their way around.

Not much can be added - Corrigan's is already well covered elsewhere but for somebody staying in the Shelbourne, you could add Town Bar and Grill in Kildare Street to the list. It's just across the road from the side entrance to the hotel. Not always easy to get a table there at lunch as the place is favoured by the movers and shakers of Dublin life - but they are probably forced to keep a lower profile these days.

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My wife & I had a very pleasant weekend in Dublin. We even met Bono. The recommendations were good. thank you.

The Pigs Ear was a good lunch place; an excellent set menu for 19 Euros with charming service and a nice view. As Corrina mentioned, the food such as Chorizo & Prawn salad, Cottage Pie, Pork Wellington - was nothing to shout about, but it was confident and relaxed cooking.

The Winding Stair was lovely. Lunch almost didn't happen due to a power cut. It wasn't cheap at over 20 Euros for a main course, but there was real skill in the kitchen, cooking comfort food of the highest order. We loved the Smoked Haddock with Cheesey Mash & the Guinness & Beef stew. Simple dishes but extremely well cooked. We would definitely go back.

If only Dublin was a little cheaper!

regards

fergal

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Those were good recommendations. Didn't realise Jacob's Ladder had closed (I must be out of touch). Will have to try the Pig's Ear, but the other restaurants are all good choices.

Prices are slowly coming down again (e.g. some lunch deals that offer great value relative to one year ago), but you are right - everything still costs too much in Ireland!

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you are right - everything still costs too much in Ireland!

I'm pretty sure that the strong Euro has a lot to do with Ireland being expensive for visitors from the UK at the moment.

I'm off to London in a couple of weeks to do some eating and there is a noticiable difference compared with this time last year-we're just lucky that it's in our favour for once :smile:

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  • 1 month later...

The one good thing about the strong euro is that none of us yanks are coming your way this summer - I was able to get a $400 (not euro or pound, dollar!) return fare in July!

Because of such, my trip to Scotland (and ultimately to catch Blur in London) will have tow brief layovers (under 24 hours a pop) in Dublin.

So, I've been reading this thread with delight, as a bunch of the places that I had heard about popped up here (The Winding Stair and The Pig's Ear). I think we'll do the Winding Stair for our Friday lunch, but what about a Sunday lunch - anything to recommend?

Also on that note, I'd love to have some great seafood while I'm in Ireland - not just battered haddock or cod, but some proper vittles from the sea - can anyone recommend any reasonably priced (on par with The Winding Stair) seafood restaurants in or around Dublin that we might check out to see what this island country can do? I don't care about the ambiance, I just want some deadly fresh seafood, shellfish, etc.

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