We decided to take a last minute trip up to Dublin on Tuesday to do a little bit of shopping and lots of eating and drinking of course;) I always get quite excited when we go up as there is such a varied choice of food compared to Limerick but then it is the capital!! We only went up for 1 night so we tried to fit in as much as we could so I’m sitting here with the biggest belly – the diet starts tomorrow:)
We always stay in the Morrison hotel mainly for it’s location and it’s close proximity to the Italian quarter which of course is our favourite place to pop in for a pasta or a quick espresso while out shopping! I loved the Morrison when it opened first, it was so stylish and chic and THEE place to stay! We had a pretty bad experience on our second stay a couple of years ago with the restaurant manager but I wrote a letter of complaint and we ended up staying in a suite with dinner for 2 and wine free of charge as a result – it pays to complain people;) But I had a genuine complaint to be fair!! We were debating this time whether to stay in the newly revamped Shelbourne but we went with what we know. We were a bit disappointed though as I don’t think the Morrison has stood the test of time and the decor looks quite dated especially in the rooms. I do recommend the hotel for it’s location though and it is probably cheaper now than a lot of the higher class city hotels so it is perfect if you are just using it to shop, drink and sleep:)
So, here’s where we ate and drank:
Fallon and Byrne – we arrived up around lunch time and I had planned to eat in the Winding Stair as I had read loads about it and it was near the hotel but we had a look at the menu and it was a little too Irish for the “Italian” and me “the wannabe Italian” so we passed. We always have difficulty choosing somewhere to have lunch in the city centre, there seems to be loads of small sandwich bars or restaurants with full on lunch menu but very little in between. We decided to have a sandwich in the food hall in Fallon & Byrne, they have a great big deli counter with lots of different sandwiches but we couldn’t decide what to have!! We just wanted a simple ciabatta with parma ham and cheese or similar but all the sandwiches tend to have lots of different fillings and dressings which does cater to the Irish market so I can’t really complain. We ended up having a ham and cheese toastie, a roast beef sandwich and 2 soups which were quite good. The food hall itself is fabulous, they seem to have everything you would require in relation to food!! My best purchase there was The Dubliner 100 best restaurants book which will be used on many an occasion in the future – it’s a little gem of a book for anybody not over familiar with the restaurant scene in Dublin.
Cafe on Seine – We popped in here for a quick drink while shopping, I know it’s probably not as popular as it once was and has a reputation for being pretentious but it still is a fantastic bar. Pure opulence and luxury is what best describes this place and the interior never fails to impress, it’s a perfect stop for an afternoon coffee or alcoholic beverage;)
The Port House – This was our biggest find, when we spotted it first it was empty and we were worried that it wasn’t that popular but then another couple went in while we were looking at the menu and we said we might as well give it a go!! By 6pm the place was packed and full of atmosphere, it’s quite small and intimate with a lovely cosy relaxed feel to it!! The food which comprises of both hot and cold tapas is quite good but I don’t think people go there just for the food but for the rare chance to relax with friends and have a glass of wine, a chat and a few nibbles without having to go to a restaurant. I think more Tapas bars or Italian Enotecca are needed in Ireland as this is what people are looking for especially during the week when you don’t want to go to a restaurant and have a full dinner.
Chez Max – believe it or not after all this eating we went out for dinner, we tried to get into the Cornerhouse Grill but it was packed which is always a good sign especially on a Tuesday night, the menu looked great and I love the idea of a grill, the more Ireland moves in the direction of casual dining the better. We really didn’t feel like a huge dinner after our day of gorging so we happened to come upon Chez Max and liked the look of the menu. The place is simple, authentic and of course French!! We both had the french onion soup – god I love the melted cheese in that soup!! I have to say we were spoilt in Limerick for a couple of years as we had a French restaurant that served the best French Onion soup so we are a bit fussy!! We both went for a hearty stew, Bru had the beef stew and I had the Cassoulet which was a bean stew with duck and Toulouse sausage – the portions are huge in this place, I could only eat half but it was really good – rustic, simple and full of flavour! The desserts looked very tempting focusing on creme brulee and a selection of tarts – lemon merengue, strawberry and pear and almond tart. I was too full so I bought some to take away and of course didn’t eat them!!
Bar Italia – As I’ve mentioned before we’re not big breakfast lovers, just a quick cappuccino and a croissant and the Caffe Cagliostro is perfect for this even though I didn’t think the coffee was as good as the last time we were up and they use Suicra sugar sticks “gasp”;) but like everything in the catering business it depends on who makes it, it’s the same in our place as much as we try to attain consistency it can be difficult!! We decided it was time for a little Italian and had lunch in Bar Italia. It was so nice to be able to order a pasta even though the “too cool for school” waiter put me in my place when I asked for it “al dente”. The food was good though, we had a bresaola and rocket salad and an antipasto to start and a fresh egg spaghetti Amatriciana for Bru and a fettucine with porcini for me cooked “perfectly”;) This little area is great as you have the restaurant, a taverna, an enotecca, a coffee shop, ice-cream parlour and a little deli, well worth a visit for Italian foodies!!
p.s. in order to avoid walking around Dublin like 2 tourists looking for food, I’d love to know your favourite spots to eat whether it be for a sandwich or a full dinner!! Thanks in advance:)