I love eating out, these are some of my favourite places to eat. I like good food and good value and I will add to the list as I try out new places so I can share them with you.
Dublin City Centre
Etto, Merrion Row, Dublin 2
This small restaurant is close to Ely Place just off St Stephen’s Green. It has won many awards, most recently the award for Best Casual Dining in Dublin in the Irish Restaurant 2015 Awards. The menu can seem unusual at first sight, it is adventurous but this is what makes it wonderful and every morsel is considered and delicious. I have been there 3 times this year for lunch which is fantastic value – 2 courses for €20 and 3 courses for €25. The dessert of prunes with mascarpone is to die for!
Forest Avenue, Sussex Road, Dublin 4
This restaurant is a little out of the city centre, it is beside O’Brien’s pub in Leeson Street however it is well worth going just a little out of your way to experience the food here. They use fresh, seasonal ingredients in a really creative way, with great attention to detail. I have been there with friends for some lovely long lunches and I can’t wait to go back as the menu changes regularly. The value is outstanding – 2 courses for €22 , 3 courses for €27 and they even serve an amuse bouche which is you don’t normally get in this price bracket. Below is my starter of smoked beef skirt, black walnut, lovage and pickles and main course of lamb, roast asparagus, wild garlic, salt baked kohlrabi and romesco sauce. Both were delicious and as you can see beautifully presented.
Amuse, Dawson Street, Dublin 2
If you love food you have to eat here – the experience and the value are second to none. As a word of caution it won’t suit anyone who considers a meal to be the mandatory “meat and two veg”, the experience would be totally wasted on them to be honest. I would also recommend that you go there soon as I am sure that there are great things ahead for the chef, Conor Dempsey and you will not get this quality of food at these prices anywhere else in Dublin. 2 courses are €24 and 3 courses €29. The food is stunning and unusual in that it is an exciting blend of Asian and French flavours that will stimulate your taste buds like never before, and the attention to detail is mind-boggling. Below are some photos of our desserts and of the wonderful macarons that they served with coffee. There is nothing more for me to say other than “what are you waiting for?”
Terra Madre, 13a Bachelors’ Walk, Dublin 1
This is the kind of place you need to seek out – while it is in the centre of Dublin, it is not easy to find and quite easy to walk past. Business depends on word of mouth rather than on passing trade so the fact that it has been around for a few years is a sign that they are doing something right. I would urge anyone who loves good food to give this place a try – when you are there you really feel you away from all the hustle and bustle of the city, the shops and all the traffic on the quays outside. When you first look inside you may be put off as the interior is what I would call ‘rustic’ with mismatched tables and chairs. I went there with my teenage daughter who didn’t want to stay as she didn’t like the look of it however I convinced her to give it a try as I had heard good things about it and it had been on my list of places to try for a while. She was pleasantly surprised proving that appearances can be deceiving!
The menu is limited to 4 or 5 starters and main courses. We shared a starter of a ball of mozzarella which was in the centre of a large plate beautifully decorated with small blobs of pesto, sundried tomato and anchovies. The mozzarella was nothing like I have ever had before and no resemblance to the rubbery tasteless version sold in most of our supermarkets here. It was creamy, delicious and to die for – it is worth a trip here just to try this alone.
For main course we both had a pasta dish each – ravioli stuffed with black truffle and cheese and the other little parcels of pasta filled with beef braised in red wine. Both delicious but the ravioli was our absolute favourite.
If you like quality food simply cooked then you will really enjoy this place.
Tip: Take note of the address before you go – 13a Bachelors Walk, between the Halfpenny Bridge and O’Connell Street and it is in a basement rather than at street level.
KC Peaches (Nassau St., St Stephen’s Green, Dame St)
I love this place for lunch in Dublin city – this is my kind of food – healthy, fresh, tasty and reasonably priced. It is a great spot to meet with friends during your lunch hour as you can get in and out quickly or it is just as easy to linger a bit longer when you can treat yourself to one of their wonderful sweet treats if you fancy that too.
It is a bit confusing when you go in first and try to work out what the system is, this can be a bit overwhelming but don’t be put off, any member of staff will explain it. You can choose either a small, medium or large plate and you pay a fixed price based on the size of the plate and whether you are having hot or cold food. So you can pile it high if you want (and some people do!) and you still pay the same price. The emphasis is on healthy, wholesome, fresh and tasty food. The difficulty I have is that I usually want to try everything, particularly the salads. The salads are very popular as they do a take-away option using small, medium and large boxes. If it happens to be a nice Summer’s day this is particularly popular in the Nassau Street branch as people take their boxed lunch and go across the road to sit and eat it in the beautiful grounds in Trinity College. They also do very interesting looking sandwiches and soups but personally I have never got past the salad bar! There are 3 of these in Dublin now – Stephen’s Green, Nassau Street and Dame Street. There is lots of seating in both Nassau St and Dame Street on different floors so a great spot to meet someone and be reasonably confident you will get a table.
PS – Watch out for great value deals for dinner in the Nassau Street branch on websites like MenuPages.