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Dublin - Where to go to be wowwed?

In Dublin for a few nights and was wondering were to go to have a great meal?Trying to stick around $300 a person.

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  1. A lot of people would recommend Chapter 1. I really liked Still in the Dylan hotel. If you want to spend less my favorite is Winding Stair.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Missmoo

      I've got the same question, but under $300/person for a wow experience? Too rich for me. How about under $100/person? Not just Dublin, but all of Ireland: what is not to be missed, when it comes to outstanding chow?

      1. re: Bashful3

        Winding stair fits that description. I can't comment on the rest of Ireland as it's been many years since I visited other areas.

        1. re: Bashful3

          If you make your way to Laragh, south of Dublin in Wicklow County, we really, really loved the Wicklow Heather. Excellent food, even more excellent service. I'll link to a report when I get a chance to write it up.... Around 50 Euro for an excellent meal for two.

      2. I'd give a thumbs up to Winding Stair, although to be fair, I haven't tried most of Dublin's finer eateries. Winding Stair is nice because it's a tasty spin on traditional Irish food (which in general is not the sort of stuff one would describe as "great").

        My problem with the Dublin food scene is that you can get good food for outrageously expensive prices, but it's not really worth it if you have access to good food elsewhere. So if you're visiting from any metropolitan US city it's sort of silly to spend 4x the price on a good French meal in Dublin. That said, it's worth going to places like Winding Stair, because they are definitely grounded in Irish cuisine.


        1. These are some names I got from a friend who lives in Dublin. He does a lot of business dinners and is a good judge of food.

          The Merrion has Patrick Gibault whos is Michelin starred.
          Chapter One
          Shanahans on the Green (but way waaaaay over the top pricing)
          Brownes Brassierie (St Stephen's Green)
          One Pico (Schoolhouse Lane)
          Rolys (a firm favourite of Dubliners but it's becoming a bit hit and miss)
          He also mentioned L'Ecrivian <sp?> but has not eaten there

          1 Reply
          1. re: zuriga1

            Roly's is lovely. We actually stumbled across it quite unwittingly since it was nearish to where we were staying in Ballsbridge. The coffee was among the best I've had anywhere in the world. The full Irish B'fast came in a reasonably sized portion (i.e. one sized for normal, non-agrarian diets), with a beautiful, (balsamic-marinated?) mushroom and tomato. Black and white pudding was well spiced. Bacon was a bit tough. I'm sad we didn't get a chance to try any of the baked goods for which it's apparently most famous.

          2. I always insist on going to l’Gueuleton (Fade Street) - they do the best French Onion Soup I have ever had! You can't book but you don't have to wait long for a table. Short-ish menu with French bistro classics. Belly pork is wonderful. Puddings smashing too. One gripe would be the menu stays more or less the same but if you're only visiting Dublin that hardly matters! Its wow in the sense that it feels really special and has a buzz about it and the food makes you go 'wow' ...

            1. Darwins on Aungier street. excellent steaks, great veggie menue as well as seafood and game...book in advance. Shanahans is a wow place for food and decor but terribly expensive. I have not tried the winding stair yet.

              1. monger, where did you end up? Assume the $300 includes alcohol, tax, tip and the unfavorable exchange rate (for those of us in the U.S.). I'm searching for Dublin food for a friend who is going to Ireland on business soon. He eats in NYC often so the bar is pretty high. Anything from moderate, regional local favorites to more upscale restaurants with good wine lists. Thanks in advance. fdr

                PS I did a search of this Board and sent him some suggestions based on recent threads.

                8 Replies
                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  Yeah winding stair is well worth a visit and nice experience. Another place called DAX is very nice its like a high class bistro food is simple but very good. http://www.dax.ie/

                  to be wowed in dublin in the context of the international food scene there arent very many places but as a chef I have to mention Mint in Ranelagh (like a 5 mins tram ride from the city centre) http://www.mintrestaurant.ie/

                  1. re: tonto21

                    thanks, tonto21. I'll pass the information on.

                  2. re: financialdistrictresident


                    I have never been to Dublin but will be there for 4 days at the end of next month. I have done exhaustive research and asked advice of a few friends who have lived there, and these are the restaurants I have picked: For dinner, Cooke's Cafe, The Tea Room, Chapter One, and One Pico. Possibilities for lunch are Mermaid Cafe and Jacob's Ladder, both of which have lower prices at lunch than at dinner. I had seriously considered the Winding Stair but it looks rather simple and casual, yet the prices are not much different from the high-end places, so I'm going to skip it.

                    1. re: rrems

                      Update to the above post: I just got an email from Cooke's Cafe telling me my reservation has been canceled because the building has been sold and they are closing. So I'm still looking for one more place for dinner.

                      1. re: rrems

                        rrems, first report is in . . .Chapter One. He said "phenomenal," could it be jet lag? Will post more details as soon as I get them.

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          More on Chapter One. . . Terrine of foie gras, scallops (suggested by one of the owners, Martin), cheese platter (4 cheeses). He also received a tour of the kitchen and briefly met the chef/owner. He learned they plan to add a chef's table. fdr

                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                            So glad to hear they enjoyed it! Thanks for the report back.

                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                              Chapter One in his own words:

                              Dinner the first night was at, Chapter One, 19 Parnell Square just up and past O'Connell Street. The atmosphere was warm and inviting. Martin (later I'm told he along with the chief "Mr. Ross" are the owners) greets us and politely asks if we want to sit at the bar for 10 minutes while a table is made ready. The restaurant is busy but the noise is not an issue.
                              Now the good stuff, FOOD. The wine list is wonderful, not as voluminous as Cru but very good. The menu lists their major suppliers and note the vegetables are organic. The food going past our table looks fantastic. An adjacent table share a prime rib which is sliced and severed table side.

                              I have, Terrine of Foie Gras and Scallops. Martin helps with the selections after inquiring about likes and dislikes. The Foie Gras is served with venise jelly, a thinly sliced apple, and a drizzle of balsamic. The Scallops are grilled perfect. They are served with pureed cauliflower and Sauce Veronique.

                              My associate orders; Pork Boudin with seared Foie Gras, horseradish creamed and apple puree. For his main it is the Duck Breast creamed cabbage, shallots and roasted beetroot. The sauce is blackberry.

                              For desert; cheese, 2 cow, one goat, one sheep. France, Spain and Ireland all together on one plate and all very, very good.

                              The service is perfect. The waite to patron ratio is very high yet they were never intrusive. Le Grande Finale, Martin asks if we would like to view the kitchen. They have spent a lot of money in the kitchen. The goal is to build an area for a chief's table.

                              This is seriously raised to a new level Irish fare. All wonderful and attentively prepared and plated. I wish there were more vegetables. I know there were potatoes and cabbage and yes that is Ireland but a few more vegetables would be welcomed.

                              I will eat here again.

                    2. Yeah it probably has to be Mint.
                      He's definitely doing stuff with food that isnt happening in Ireland.
                      Expensive but it has its Michelin star although some wont go near him as a matter of principle now after a behind the scenes documentary revealed the head chef to be what some call objectionable. Usual stereotypical loud, insulting, swearing stuff.
                      Others are DAX, Chapter One and Winding Stair.

                      17 Replies
                      1. re: DublinChow

                        I looked up the menu for Mint and was shocked at the prices. About 50% higher than Chapter One. However the descriptions of the dishes are very tempting. Is it worth it? Can Mint really be that superior? I'm willing to spend the money if it is, but since every meal is going to be expensive with the horrible exchange rate, I am hesitant. What would you advise?

                        1. re: rrems

                          Go for Chapter One!
                          An experience in Irish fine dining and hospitality, excellence but with the degree of formality or informality that u prefer- they will go with your mood and judge appropriately. Relax and enjoy a fine Dublin dinner.
                          You could go pre-theatre and grab a play at the Gate theatre down the road - another Dublin institution!

                          Mint is international in style i guess but also small, one-roomed, cramped (neighbours-elbows!) and a bit too bling and rushy : )

                          1. re: DublinChow

                            Great, thanks very much for the advice. As I said in my post above, I had planned on one dinner at Cooke's Cafe, but they are going out of business. Do you have a suggestion for a substitute in view of the 3 other restaurants I have chosen? In the email from Cooke's they recommended Lock's but I looked it up and it gets very mixed reviews.

                            1. re: rrems

                              What about Peploe's or Pearl Brasserie, both lovely rooms and atmosphere, in the city centre and Pearl won Best Service Award recently. Both modern takes on traditional european and both are great Dublin favourites. For lunch if its a nice day take DART (train) to Howth and get a window seat at Aqua for nice seafood and a walk on the pier.

                              1. re: DublinChow

                                I checked these out and Pearl looks like the winner. The menu looks interesting and it seems to get consistently rave reviews. I also happened upon a fairly new place, Rhodes D7, which is owned by Gary Rhodes (apparently a "celebrity chef" from London but unknown to me). It looks interesting and is a bit less expensive than Pearl, and gets pretty good ratings but not quite raves. Any thoughts on this?

                                1. re: rrems

                                  Hi again, no way jose to rhodes, boring modern mediocre british in a boring modern mediocre building, peploes and pearl faaarr better.

                                  Not backward about coming forward there, was I? Haha

                                    1. re: rrems

                                      rrems, DublinChow thanks so much. I will pass this information on. He leaves this Wednesday so your posts are very timely. We will report back.

                                      1. re: rrems

                                        DublinChow, thanks so much for the Pearl suggestion. He went to Pearl tonight and had an "all appetizer" dinner. Service was impeccable. The apps were:

                                        *Smoked and raw tuna with a horseradish aioli
                                        *Rocquefort ravioli (the pasta was "delicate")
                                        *Foie gras on brioche with tart, thinly sliced strawberries and stewed rhubarb

                                        Sounds like he had another delicious meal!

                                        1. re: financialdistrictresident


                                          This is great to hear. My dinner lineup now is Locks, Tea Room, Chapter One and Pearl. Please keep the info coming as I still have time to make changes.

                                          1. re: rrems

                                            rrems, I only wish I was in Ireland . . . I hear the Guinness is better there too.

                                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                              One gets a free pint if you do the Guinness factory tour. It's a real must-do in Dublin as the view from the top floor is fantastic.

                                              1. re: zuriga1

                                                His last dinner was at La Cave (spelling?). A small French? zuriga1, I now have beer glasses from Dublin to enjoy my Guinness in!

                                                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                    Looks like I got the spelling right, La Cave:

                                                    La Cave Wine Bar & Restaurant
                                                    Cuisine: French
                                                    Price: Moderate
                                                    28 South Anne Street,
                                                    Dublin 2

                                                    La Cave is the oldest and most famous French Wine Bar and Restaurant in Dublin.

                                            2. re: financialdistrictresident

                                              Pearl Brasserie in his own words:

                                              Had the pleasure of a very enjoyable dinner at Pearl Brasserie, 20 Merrion Street Upper. It is a short walk from Trinity College and far enough from all the tourist spots along the river.

                                              The restaurant is in an affluent area of the city. It is down stairs but does not feel like a basement. The rooms are bright and well done in a contemporary style. I sat next to a large fish tank and that also added a depth to the room.

                                              The menu is French and the wine list while not expansive will satisfy most. My server was helpful and actually steered me to a bottle costing about $29 (US) less then first selected. It was a Bourgogne, Les Perrieres, 05’, very nice

                                              Rather then a traditional dinner of salad, apps, and main I decided to try 3 apps.

                                              First app was a fresh and smoked chopped salmon tartar with a horseradish dressing. The salmon was shaped with spoons and 3 nice size servings were presented. It was a little too moist and needed a touch of salt.

                                              Second course was a ravioli stuffed with Roquefort cheese and accompanied by leeks and walnuts in a light cream sauce. The pasta was almost translucent and cooked perfect.

                                              Finally, Foie Gras, not just Foie Gras but Foie Gras on delicious REAL Brioche, not somebody’s idea of glorified white bread. The sauce was simple and did not detract from the dish. It was rhubarb and strawberry compote.

                                              All the food was plated beautifully, color and texture, spot on.

                                          2. re: DublinChow

                                            DC, thanks very much for recommending Pearl Brasserie. It was along with Chapter One the best we tried. I have just finished posting my reports on these and the other places we went.

                              2. I am disappointed by the dining scene in Dublin in general... You have to be kidding if at $300 per person you are trying to find a great meal... Multi starred Michelin restaurants in New York City can be enjoyed for a fraction of that price. I ate at The Winding Stair last month and it was fine, not great just average. The dining room is totally unremarkable, service is OK. Three of us ate with one bottle of wine for 150 Euro. I wouldn't say it was anything special compared to lots of restaurants in Boston, New York, and Montreal. Dublin seems to lack quality restaurants at a mid range price that offer value. You can eat overpriced ethnic food on the low end and overpriced Michelin starred food on the high end. Maybe the strong Euro is to blame, but Dublin seems to lack a quality dining scene with value in mind.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Paris Hilton

                                  Firstly the $300 mark was set by the person who started the post and was looking for advice and what they are willing to spend and find reasonable is up them. If they see $300 as a realistic mark for Ireland they must be spending that on a 'great' meal in America. I have eaten in some top places in Chicago and New York and have found the prices astronomical at times. It tends to go hand in hand with the concept of a Michelin starred restaurant so I don't see it as a problem which solely applies to Dublin.

                                  As for the Winding Stair no one ever suggested it was in the "stunning" bracket but as an overall experience it is very pleasant and the quality of ingredients and end product of the food stand up to anywhere else of the same level elsewhere in the world. As for "overpriced ethnic food on the low end and overpriced Michelin starred food on the high end" I think America is prime example of this gone mad, In order to get anything half decent one has to pay over the odds to get something which is individual and of a high standard. While there is an abundance of chain and commercial "restaurants" which serve up sub-par and generic food across America. In Dublin, taking into account the size of the city, we are lucky enough to have a good selection of independent and accomplished establishments serving quality food at good value. Winding Stair, Dax, Peploe's, Town, Bang, Pearl, L'Gueleton and Mermaid are some of these. Even if these are expensive by American standards I feel in order to get the same level in America one would be paying just as much if not more.

                                  1. re: tonto21

                                    tonto21, my guess is the $300 US is due to the unfavorable exchange rate which the OP may have built into the price range. May also include wine (which can sometimes be more then the food). . . fdr

                                  2. re: Paris Hilton

                                    I'm sure you're a great critic of restaurants, Paris. But with that name will anyone ever take you seriously? :-) I had some fine food at one of the grand hotels in Dublin.. maybe that's where the good chefs head?

                                    1. Value is relative and what one person considers expensive another can consider cheap.

                                      Dublin is a very expensive place to do business these days and coupled with the fact that Ireland has one of the highest incomes per head then food is nominally highly priced.

                                      Thankfully we have a growing mid price scene of quality in Dublin, as tonto described, that compares well with similar elsewhere in the world.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: DublinChow

                                        I think one problem is that tourists in Dublin rarely have a car, so they miss a lot of the good places that are not in the city centre. Luckily, I visit a friend from London who works in Dublin, so I've been treated to some very interesting meals I'd never have tried on my own. Last year we had a great, Indian dinner .. I think it was somewhere near Donnybrook?

                                        I totally agree with you that value is a very relative thing. Thus, when people ask for cheap meals in London and don't give a price they're willing to spend, it makes recommending very difficult. It's the same with cars. :-)

                                      2. I ate at all the best places in NY for ten years so I'm no slouch in that dept. Have to admit that Rolys is great. However, in another class of food, I have to say there is a Persian Kebab place behind the Clarion on the edge of Temple Bar, that is unreal. I have ordered a fish (salmon) kebab there with phenomenal rice and flatbread made on the premises, that is do die for. Given a choice between anyplace and that kebab, guess what wins.

                                        1. I recently had a very enjoyable meal at Eden in Dublin. Probably came out to less than $150 per person with wine and three courses.

                                          1. Was recently visiting Ireland (from Toronto) and had a terrific dinner at Bang in Dublin. It was 168 Euros for the two of us (cocktail to start, app, entree + coffee). Amazing meal - I had the Thai Style Sea Bass and my husband had the wild mushroom Gnocchi as entrees. One of our most memorable meals on our trip through England and Ireland.

                                            1. http://www.pearl-brasserie.com/

                                              Pearl on Merrion is lovely intimate atmosphere and beautiful food. Excellent service as well

                                              1. Both Cookes Cafe and Mint are closed for some time. I guess its a sign of the recession as they could not trade their way out. Pity for mint, Cookes never did it for me and he has gone bust before.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: SiobhanP

                                                  I think the thread has become confused by comparing what might be a wow $300 meal with other general recomendations.
                                                  To answer the OP, for that sort of wow factor, I would recommend Patrick Guilbauds. The only 2 michelin * restaurant in Dublin. It has fantastic food and service. My personal favourite in that category would be Thorntons. They previously had 2* but last year lost one. Still for my money the most wow in terms of food. Their tasting menu is fantastic.
                                                  Otherwise L'ecrivan is another with good standards, but less of a wow factor to compare internationally in my opinion.
                                                  Unfortunately Dublin still has very expensive restaurant prices relative to what you get, although that is changing.
                                                  In the mid price range, some of my favourites have been mentioned already. Pearl Brasserie, One Pico, Eden, and also Bentleys which hasn't been discussed yet.
                                                  I think Roly's is over rated, and still trying to trade on a reputation and menu from a dated past.
                                                  What I am glad to see is that there are some great new casual restaurants doing fantastic, local ingredient food, at very cheap prices. These places do not have any wow factor in terms of setting, but are trying to offer good food, cooked well in casual surroundings with great service. My current favourite is Green 19, where no main course costs more than 10 Euro.

                                                2. I am from San Francisco, and my favorite restaurant in Dublin is Bang Cafe on St. Stephen's Green. It's kind of a Chez Panisse Cafe for Dublin: all locally-sourced, kind of nouvelle Irish with a good dollop of everywhere thrown in. I really like it, and I am really picky. I'm in Dublin this week, and I am really sad that they picked this week to renovate.