Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant review: A ’square’ meal deal in Blarney

IN A WORLD where everyone of Roy Keane’s self-serving, confrontational utterances is treated as if it were a recently-discovered Heaney poem on the nature of egomania.


Restaurant review: Pump up the volume at Drury Buildings

SITTING comfortably? Let’s begin, shall we? 


Restaurant Review: Campagne, Kilkenny

AS someone obsessed by the idea of catching impossibly large and beautiful salmon in impossibly large and beautiful rivers I have had to come to understand that the hoping and wishing may almost be as exciting as the arriving and doing. 


Restaurant Review: San Lorenzo’s, Dublin

SO THERE we were, walking along Dublin’s Great South George’s Street of a Sunday morning. 


Restaurant Review: Granville’s Bar and Restaurant, Macroom, Co Cork

Many, many years ago I was involved in selecting an end-of-the-food-chain rugby team — Minor B Seconds — at a small, rural, end-of-the-world club. 


Restaurant Review: De Ville’s, Dalkey, Co Dublin

WHEN chef Keith McNally opened his restaurant, Pastis, in New York’s rundown Meatpacking area in 1999, it blew the competition away to such a degree that one of the restaurant’s most noted celeb visitors, Martha Stewart, gushed that having an eatery of such distinction was like Paris coming to town.


Restaurant review: Room with a sea view at the Seafood restaurant, Ballycotton

Pier 26 Seafood Restaurant, Ballycotton, Co Cork, 
tel: 021-2061449


Restaurant Review: The Snail Box, Ashbourne, Co Meath

THE first things you notice are the baseball caps. 

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.


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. 


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. 

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,


Cork: The Black Pig Winebar

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

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;

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,,
027 55664


Dublin: Flawless food of the Forest

Forest Avenue,
8 Sussex Terrace,
Dublin 4;
tel: 01-6678337; 


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

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


Mayo: Comforts of home at Cafe Rua

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

The dining room at the Panorama Restaurant.

Kerry: Panorama Restaurant, Killarney

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

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.


Cork: Living the high life in El Vino

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