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  • Travel Guide: Ireland
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  • Of course nobody can do more with a potato that the Irish. Our favorite was the simple and delicious potato cake—a flour and potato-flour concoction sauteed in butter. Don't leave Ireland without trying them. Ireland is also blessed with plentiful salmon. Served in a variety of ways, it can be found in the most sophisticated restaurants and in the humblest of pubs. And though it may sound redundant, the Irish make the best "Irish stew" (mutton, onions and potatoes). More surprising is the fact that chicken Kiev is probably found on more Irish menus than Irish Stew. Why? Your guess is as good as ours. Also try the grilled or roast beef, cured hams, breads, oysters, mussels and eel (some of the restaurants have viewing tanks).

    But don't just stick to traditional Irish food. You'll find—in addition to a respectable selection of ethnic eateries—restaurants that specialize in a distinctive school of New Irish cuisine. It uses rich, indigenous Irish foodstuffs blended with lighter influences from the European continent and the Mediterranean. Good places to sample New Irish food are Eden in Temple Bar and Peacock Alley in The Fitzwilliam Hotel (definitely a dress-up kind of place).

    As for breakfast: Whether you stay at a hotel or bed-and-breakfast, your room is likely to come with a morning meal. And we're not talking Continental breakfast, either: If you've the stomach for it, you can usually have a huge bowl of cereal, a basket of bread and scones and a plateful of eggs, bacon and sausage. If you prefer lighter fare, most hotels now offer fresh fruit and yogurt. For those whose hotels don't provide breakfast—or those who got up too late for it—Elephant and Castle in Temple Bar turns out a good Irish breakfast, and it's one of the few places in Dublin where you can get huevos rancheros. Jury's Coffee Dock in Jury's Hotel also serves complete breakfasts—all day long. (But it's fairly expensive.)

    By and large, eating out in Dublin is not cheap. Extras such as free drink refills are rare, and don't be surprised if you have to pay for ketchup in some fast-food places. Set menus tend to be your best bet for good value. Also check out what The Irish Tourist Board calls the "tourist menu program." For about US$6 or US$10 per person, travelers can have a three-course meal for lunch or dinner at one of nearly 300 restaurants throughout the country. Check with the tourist board for the list.

    One cautionary note: Ireland, in general, is very smoker-friendly, and that includes restaurants. Although eating establishments are required by law to designate certain seats as nonsmoking, you have to make a point of asking for them.

    Below is a sampling of restaurants in town. Expect to pay within these general guidelines, based on the cost of a basic dinner entree for one, and not including drinks, but including tax and tip: $ = less than £7; $$ = £7-£13; $$$ = £13-£30; $$$$ = more than £30.

    Favorite restaurants  | Asian  | Cafes and tea rooms  | Continental  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    101 Talbot—You might very well spot the actors from the Abbey and Gate Theaters here, as well as trendy types from the north side. Couscous and pasta are favorite choices from the Mediterranean menu. Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-11 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 100-101 Talbot St., Dublin 1, Dublin. Phone 874-5011.

    Botticelli—Real Italians who know their pasta run this place. Try their estimable gnocchi and end-of-meal tiramisu. Decor is light and airy. Open daily 10 am-midnight. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 3 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Dublin. Phone 672-7289.

    Cookes Catering Room—Popular with the cognoscenti, Cookes offers a gamey but delicate menu including partridge, warm confit of duck, and wild boar stew in their downstairs restaurant. Daily 12:30-2:30 pm and 6-11 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. Castle Market, Dublin 2, Dublin. Phone 679-0536.

    Eden—This trendy eatery in the heart of Temple Bar is architecturally stunning—the tile work evokes 1950s poolside cabanas—and the food is cutting-edge New Irish cuisine: Smoked loin of pork with red cabbage and apple Calvados sauce is an example. A terrace on Neeting House Square in Temple Bar allows guests to enjoy summertime concerts and movies while savoring a gorgeous dinner menu. Daily 12:30-3 pm and 6-10:30 pm. Reservations recommended. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin. Phone 670-5372.

    Elephant and Castle—Breakfasts at this bistro—from bacon and eggs to huevos rancheros—are a terrific value, and they're open early on weekdays. Monday-Friday 8-11:30 am and 11:30 am-11:30 pm for their lunch and dinner menu, Saturday 9:30 am-5 pm for brunch and 5-11:30 pm for dinner, Sunday 10:30 am-5 pm brunch and 5-11:30 dinner. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 18 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Dublin. Phone 679-3121.

    Fitzers Cafe Temple Bar—The Fitzpatricks started out as fruit and vegetable merchants in Dublin and have become fine restaurateurs. Fitzers is a mainstay of fresh, innovative Mediterranean/modern European cuisine. Has a delicious brunch (plus great people watching) on Sundays noon-4:30 pm. Open daily noon-11 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. On Temple Bar Square, Dublin. Phone 679-0440.

    Mermaid Cafe—A meal at this understated bistro on busy Dame Street is a soothing experience. The cafe is a Best Restaurant award-winner in the Taste of Temple Bar competition. Service is excellent, the wine list extraordinary and the food inspired. Their piece de resistance is their Giant Atlantic Seafood Casserole. Monday-Saturday 12:30-2:30 pm and 6:30-10:30 pm, Sunday 12:30-3:30 pm and 5:30-9:30 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 69 Dame St., Dublin 2, Dublin. Phone 670-8236.

    Odessa—You're sure to eat a delicious brunch and see the trendy, artsy crowd on any weekend at Odessa. The menu is an attractive mix of Californian and Mediterranean, with a refreshing hint of Mexican. Fully stocked bar. Open Monday-Wednesday 5-11 pm, Thursday-Sunday noon-midnight. $$. Most major credit cards. 13 Dame Court, Dublin 2, Dublin. Phone 670-07634.

    Peacock Alley—Young chef Conrad Gallagher has made quite a name for himself with his passion for New Irish cooking, producing a book on the subject and recently taking on duties at the prestigious new Fitzwilliam Hotel. Lunch menu at Peacock Alley includes such delectables as spiced lamb fillet with onion marmalade, toasted walnut bread and summer salad. Monday-Friday 12:30-2:30 pm and 6:30-11 pm, Saturday 6:30-11 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. The Fitzwilliam Hotel, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Dublin. Phone 662-0760.

    Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud's—His two-star Michelin menu is a vigorous one, with such dishes as Wicklow venison poached in a broth seasoned with juniper and tarragon. Chef Guilbaud has long reigned as top chef in Ireland. Excellent wine cellar. The dining room is bright and airy. Tuesday-Saturday 12:30-2 pm and 7:30-10 pm. Reservations recommended. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. In the elegant Merrion Hotel, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, Dublin. Phone 676-4192.

    The Tea Room—Like all things about The Clarence Hotel, its Tea Room is a classy affair with large, luminescent blue windows. The cuisine is creative and delicious (but tends to be nouvelle in the small-portion sense of the word). Monday-Friday 7-10 am, 12:30-2:15 pm and 6:30-10 pm; Saturday and Sunday 7:30-10:30 am and 6-9 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. In the Clarence Hotel, accessible via Wellington Quay or East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Dublin. Phone 670-9000.

    Favorite restaurants  | Asian  | Cafes and tea rooms  | Continental  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Chili Club—Situated off S. Anne Street, this cozy little restaurant is the best of a small but growing number of Thai bistros cropping up in the city. Open Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, open Sunday for dinner. $$$. Most major credit cards. 1 Anne's Lane, S. Anne Street (off Grafton Street), Dublin 2, phone 677-3721.

    Monty's of Kathmandu—The only Nepalese restaurant in Dublin. Both their set lunch and early-bird special are bargains. The delicious cuisine is a subtle variation of Indian. Open daily noon-2:30 pm and 6 pm-midnight. Lunch and dinner $$. Most major credit cards. 28 Eustace St., Dublin 2, phone 670-4911.

    Orchid Szechuan—Top-notch Chinese food with excellent service. Monday-Friday 12:30-2 pm and 6-11 pm, Saturday 6 pm-midnight, Sunday 6-11:30 pm. Lunch $$, dinner $$$. Most major credit cards. 120 Pembroke St., Ballsbridge area, Dublin 4, phone 660-0629.

    Rajdoot—A Northern Indian restaurant (Tandoori-style cooking) that's especially good for vegetarians. Monday-Saturday noon-2:30 pm and 6:30-11:30 pm. Reservations advisable. Lunch $$, dinner $$$. Most major credit cards. 26 Clarendon St. (Grafton Street area), Dublin 2, phone 479-4274.

    Yamamori—Affordable prices and a great buzzing atmosphere are enticements enough to stop at this Japanese noodle house. Ramen noodles, teriyaki and tempura are some of its specialties. Monday-Wednesday 12:30-2:30 pm and 5:30-11 pm, Thursday and Friday 12:30-2:30 pm and 5:30-11:30 pm, Saturday 12:30-11:30 pm, Sunday 5-11 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 71/72 S. Great Georges St., Dublin 2, phone 475-5001.

    Favorite restaurants  | Asian  | Cafes and tea rooms  | Continental  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Shelbourne Hotel—If you want to experience the afternoon tea phenomenon, head to The Shelbourne. In addition to standing a great chance of spotting a celebrity or two, you're guaranteed to enjoy the setting overlooking St. Stephen's Green. Daily 3-5:30 pm in the Lord Mayor's Lounge. $$. 27 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, phone 676-6471.

    Favorite restaurants  | Asian  | Cafes and tea rooms  | Continental  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    La Stampa—Exudes elegance and provides a huge helping of socialites and celebrities. Continental cuisine served with a dazzling smile. Daily 12:30-2:30 pm and 6:30-11:30 pm, Friday and Saturday stays open later. Lunch $$, dinner $$$. Most major credit cards. 35 Dawson St., Dublin 2, phone 677-8611.

    Morels Bistro—If you're willing to venture farther afield for a high-quality French/Italian menu with a wide range of choices and impeccable service, Morels makes the trip out to Glasthule (southeastern coast of Dublin) well worth your while. Monday-Wednesday 5:30-10 pm, Friday 12:30-2:15 pm and 5:30-10 pm, Saturday 6:30-10:30 pm, Sunday 12:30-7 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. Eagle House, Glasthule (take the DART to Sandycove station; figure on 20-25 minutes), County Dublin, phone 230-0068.

    Roly's Bistro—A staple of the corporate crowd, Roly's offers unparalleled service and a reliable Continental menu. Open daily noon-2:15 pm and 6-9:45 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. 7 Ballsbridge Terrace, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, phone 668-2611.

    Favorite restaurants  | Asian  | Cafes and tea rooms  | Continental  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Casa Pasta—Situated in the picturesque Howth area, this intimate Italian bistro offers great food, as well as atmospheric live music. Monday-Thursday 6-11 pm, Friday 1-3 pm and 6-11 pm, Saturday and Sunday 1-11 pm. Closes for lunch Tuesday-Thursday during winter. $$. 12 Harbour Rd., Howth (take the DART to Howth), County Dublin, phone 839-3823.

    Gotham—This is a great spot if you have a craving for pizza and Americana. The walls are covered with Rolling Stone magazine covers, and the creative, thin-crust pizzas have names like the Soho and the Tribeca. Monday-Saturday noon-midnight, Sunday noon-10:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 8 S. Anne St., Dublin 2, phone 679-5266.

    Il Primo—Expect excellent homemade pasta specialties such as open ravioli with diced chicken breast, wild mushrooms, Parma ham and green beans in a white wine and cream sauce. Il Primo has a varied menu with choices ranging from pizza to steak, and a great wine list with wines that can be ordered by the glass. Monday-Friday noon-3 pm and 6-11 pm, Saturday 6-11 pm. Reservations advised on weekends. Lunch $$, dinner $$$. Most major credit cards. 16 Montague St. (opposite the National Children's Hospital, near St. Stephen's Green), Dublin 2, phone 478-3373.

    Tosca—Owned by Norman Hewson, the brother of U2's Bono, this relaxed yet lively Italian restaurant offers bargain early-bird specials on their scrumptious pasta dishes and steaks. Open daily noon-midnight. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 20 Suffolk St. (just off the bottom of Grafton Street), Dublin 2, phone 679-6744.

    Favorite restaurants  | Asian  | Cafes and tea rooms  | Continental  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Jury's Coffee Dock—At £10.26 for a full Irish breakfast, this place is pretty pricey, but it's open in the wee hours of the night when you might not care. "23 hours a day, seven days a week." $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. In Jury's Hotel, Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, phone 660-5000.

    Kafe Mokka—Very popular late-night spot with occasional live music and poetry readings. Hot chocolate, herbal teas and flavored coffees, as well as cakes and other desserts. You can take your goodies to the comfy chairs upstairs and play a little chess. Open nightly until 4 am. $-$$. 39 South William St., Dublin 2 (just off Grafton Street), phone 679-8475.

    Favorite restaurants  | Asian  | Cafes and tea rooms  | Continental  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    Fox's Pub—A superb seafood restaurant (with nothing but seafood, in fact) set in the Wicklow Hills. Amazing views of Dublin and an authentic old country pub decor make this worth the 40-minute drive out of the city center. For £28.50, you get dinner and an amazing "Riverdance"-inspired floor show. Monday-Saturday noon-10 pm, Sunday 4-10 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. Glencullen, County Wicklow, phone 295-5647. (Not accessible by public transportation, and a cab ride will be expensive.)

    Favorite restaurants  | Asian  | Cafes and tea rooms  | Continental  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Seafood  | Additional experiences


    PD's Woodhouse—If the breathtaking views of the coast around Dalkey and Killiney or the James Joyce Museum are not incentive enough to travel out of the city center, this warm and cozy barbecue bistro should win you over. Daily 6-11 pm, Sunday from 5 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. 1 Coliemore Rd., Dalkey (accessible by DART), County Dublin, phone 284-9399.

    Rhino Room—Caters to a young lounge crowd with a New York-style grill open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-noon (to 1 am Friday and Saturday). Upstairs from Cookes Catering Room, Castle Market, Dublin 2. Phone 670-5260.

    Favorite restaurants  | Asian  | Cafes and tea rooms  | Continental  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Seafood  | Additional experiences

    Information prepared by Weissmann Travel Reports
    Copyright © 2000 by Reed Travel Group. All rights reserved.



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