Restaurant Reviews

Dining room at Max's, Kinsale. The restaurant justifies the witticism: "There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction."

Restaurant Review: Max’s, Kinsale, Co Cork

WHEN the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali paraded his pet lobster along the Rue de Rivoli in Paris he must have seemed as exotic as anything — or anyone — led along the promenade in Kinsale.

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Restaurant Review: Cava Bodega, Galway

WITH the Spanish Arch just minutes away, it makes sense to continue the Iberian trail, and so in the middle of the Galway International Arts Festival, we rocked up to Cava Bodega. 

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Restaurant review: The Claddagh, The Square, Blarney, Cork

THERE are days when you just want middle-of-the-road, keep-the-show-on-the road food — days when you don’t need, or even want, poppy-seed brown bread knitted by celibate artisan bakers; days you just can’t summon up the joie de vivre needed to make the prospect of crabmeat or pan-roasted cod named after the port in which its captor buys his marine diesel, seem even vaguely uplifting. 

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No sign of recession at Dunne & Crescenzi as the place hums with good conversation and good food.

Dublin: Dunne & Crescenzi

Dunne & Crescenzi,
14-16 Frederick Street South,
Dublin 2;
tel: 01-6759892,
www.dunneandcrescenzi.com

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Cork: The Black Pig Winebar

The Black Pig Winebar,
66 Lower O’Connell Street,
Kinsale, Co Cork;
tel: 021-4774101

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The Winding Stair is a bustling space with a dignified and honest-to-goodness approach to décor and practical restaurant aesthetics.

Dublin: The Winding Stair Restaurant is worth the climb

The Winding Stair,
40 Lower Ormond Quay,
Dublin 1;
tel: 01-8727320;
www.winding-stair.com

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O'Connor's Seafood Restaurant, Wolfe Tone Square, Bantry, CoCork, a local favourite and well worth visiting — especially forthe cod dish if you're from Newfoundland.

Cork: O’Connor’s Seafood Restaurant

Wolfe Tone Square,
Bantry, Co Cork,
www.oconnorseafood.com,
027 55664

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Dublin: Flawless food of the Forest

Forest Avenue,
8 Sussex Terrace,
Dublin 4;
tel: 01-6678337;
www.forestavenuerestaurant.ie 

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Waterford: White Horses Restaurant has substance, like a fine red wine

White Horses,
Ardmore, Co Waterford;
tel: 024-94040

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Mayo: Comforts of home at Cafe Rua

Cafe Rua,
New Antrim Street,
Castlebar, Co Mayo;
tel: 094-9023376;
caferua.com

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The dining room at the Panorama Restaurant.

Kerry: Panorama Restaurant, Killarney

Panorama Restaurant,
Europe Hotel and Resort, Fossa,
Killarney, Co Kerry;
tel: 064-6671300;
www.theeurope.com

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The romantic setting of the state dining room at Ballyfin Demesne where dinner is only available for residents.

Ballyfin Demense: deliciously expensive dining

THE devil isn’t just in the detail at Ballyfin; it’s in the big picture too. A lavish, Regency-era mansion sitting pretty in a private demesne beneath the Slieve Bloom Mountains, this is not only one of the most extravagant five-star hotels in the country, but one of its most exquisitely restored country estates.

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Cork: Living the high life in El Vino

El Vino, The Elysian,
Eglinton Street, Cork;
tel: 021-4318530;
elvino.ie

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Conor and Nicola Duggan's hip Platform Pizza Bar has given the people what they want, and Bray is the better for it.

Wicklow: The perfect platform

Platform Pizza Bar,
7 Strand Road,
Bray, Co Wicklow;
tel: 01-5384000; platformpizzabar.ie

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Promise fulfilled at Jacques

Jacques Restaurant, 23 Oliver Plunkett St, Cork
Tel: 021-4277387
jacquesrestaurant.ie

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A business park on the Drinagh roundabout isn't the sexiest of locations for a café, but Kelly's does its best to bring warmth to an open-plan space.

Wexford: Kelly’s Café, a foodie hero

Kelly’s Café,
Drinagh,
Co Wexford;
tel: 053-9168800;
kellys.ie

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Tipperary: Chez Hans

Chez Hans,
Moore Lane, Cashel,
Co Tipperary;
tel: 062-61177;
www.chezhans.net

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Kilkenny: Italian delights in Ristorante Rinuccini

Ristorante Rinuccini,
1 The Parade,
Kilkenny;
tel: 056-7761575;
rinuccini.com

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Chapel Steps is a slick, professional place, an ethos apparent from its excellent website.

Cork: Chapel Steps is top class at right price

Chapel Steps, Patrick’s Place,
Bandon, Co. Cork;
tel: 023-8852581,
www.chapelsteps.ie

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The dining room at Belleek Castle features crushed-velvet seat covers and a curving oak staircase straight out of a fairy-tale forest.

Mayo: Breaking the mould at Belleek Castle

The Restaurant, Belleek Castle,
Ballina, Co Mayo;
tel: 096-22400;
belleekcastle.com

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The Strasbourg Goose's pricing policy seems to have paid dividends but this forces its own limitations.

Cork: Strasbourg Goose

Strasbourg Goose,
17 French Church St,
Cork;
tel: 021-4279534

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