This gigantic new cafe bar is located just west of the main shopping area in Henry Street and is probably the classiest place to have a snack and a drink on the northside.
It’s located in an 18th-century baroque former church, which has been restored in a reasonably sensitive manner. The church has an interesting history, with associations with Wolfe Tone, the Guinness family, Jonathan Swift, Sean O'Casey and John Wesley. Its new incarnation as a bar (Wesley must be rolling in his grave) only started in December 2005 and has yet to really find its feet - the service and food were quite erratic on my two visits.
However, it’s well worth a look in, even if just to admire the architecture. If they get the food and service right, this could soon be one of the classiest venues in the city.
Authentic Italian restaurant. It sells truly excellent slices of pizza for takeaway. (Very) fast food without the guilt of inflating the profits of some evil multinational purveyor of junk food.
Chatham Street, just off Grafton Street, round the corner from HMV; tel: 670-5630
The real 'left bank' of Dublin. It is everything that Temple Bar aspires to be, mixing art and music with Dublin's finest pubs on one stretch of street. Whelan’s for the best live music and gigs. Carnival for alternative entertainment. Solas for relaxed chat and music. Cassidy’s where Bill Clinton had a pint of Murphys. Ryan’s for some of the best pints in Dublin. The Bleeding Horse, one of the oldest pubs in Dublin. Flannery’s where the country people create a piece of the west in the city. Plus numerous eateries with cuisine from around the world, furniture, fashion and art dealers. What more could you want from a weekend in Dublin?
At the tram station on Stephen's Green take a right away from the Green and you are there.
A good value Italian restaurant, centrally placed. A varied menu and wine list all at very reasonable prices make Toscana a good place to eat before the theatre.
3 Cork Hill, Dame Street, opposite Dublin Castle; www.toscana.ie/
A gastropub just off Grafton Street. Bright and modern design make this refurbished pub a pleasure to while away the hours. Food is excellent - try the sea bass on asparagrus risotto - and good value. There’s decent pints of Guinness and a very good wine list. One negative, food is not served after 8pm.
4 Chatham Road, Dublin 2; tel: 00 353 1 679 2909
This is one of the last and (in my opinion) one of the best traditional Dublin pubs. Tucked away down an alley off Dame Street, it is characterised by dim lighting and pints of excellent Guinness lined up along the bar. It does food (of the traditional variety), there's a good crowd and it has a small snug but you have to get there early to get a seat.
Dame Court, off Dame Street
Head south out of Temple Bar and you will find a long road full of interesting restaurants and shops that will tickle you fancy. Eventually you´ll reach Portobello Harbour, an old canal mooring now smartened up with cafes and shops.
Highlights include Solas and Carnival bar. Good pubs to go to are O'Connels and Wheelan's. Grab something to eat from Bretzel's Jewish bakery, which has the best bread in south Dublin, and wander down the canal, weather permitting, of course.
Off Dame St, down George St and keep on going
Gerry's offers a range of hearty meals at very affordable prices. Its popularity stretches from banking types to local construction workers to students. A range of hot meal options is offered at lunch (during which time Gerry’s is very popular) as well as soups and an all day breakfast. Service is prompt. Expect to find a good bit of change from your €10 note.
For those who favour a full stomach over watching their cholesterol count!
Just off Harcourt Street, beside the Montague Casino
Several excellent restaurants, of all cuisine types, such as:
Skewers,9a Thai Van Lung (Mediterranean);
Mogambo, 20Bis Thi Sach (American);
Al Fresco, 27 Dong Du (International);
Au Lac Do Brazil, 238 Pasteur (Brazilian);
Chao Thai, 16 Thai Van Lung (Thai);
La Fourchette9 Ngo Duc Ke (French);
Bavaria, 9 Ngo Van Nam (German).
See also our magazine: www.saigoninsideout.com
This is a very popular pizza restaurant in Dublin's increasingly trendy north side suburb Drumcondra, the home of Ireland's current prime minister, Bertie Ahern. Their slogan states that they've being serving Dublin's favourite pizza since 1984, and quite frankly, I find it hard to disagree. Might I also add that their spicy chicken wings aren't half bad either?
Edward Hopper fans will love to dine here and gaze at prints of his finest paintings whilst their pizza is being cooked in the large woodstone oven. The oven’s flames provide atmospheric lighting and are also quite hypnotising if you grow tired of gazing at paintings (or into your dining partner's eyes).
Many delicious pasta dishes are also on the menu, and don't forget to try the luxurious cheesecake The prices are far cheaper than town. A two-course meal for two with a half carafe of wine and coffee to follow won't set you back more than €50. I challenge you to match that in a quality restaurant in the city centre.
28 Lower Drumcondra Road, Dublin 9; Tel: 830 2044;
nearest station : Drumcondra Statiom
If you're going to splurge on a meal, this is the place to do it - and not just because it's in Bono and The Edge's hotel, The Clarence, where you might be able to eavesdrop on the conversation of the rich and famous. It's top-notch food (Dublin Bay prawns, roasted pigeon, that sort of thing) in really light, airy surroundings — the best dining experience I've ever had in Dublin.
Clarence Hotel, 6-8 Wellington Quay
BA is bursting with cafes and confiterias, a number of which are now firmly on the tourist track. If you would like to try something a little more 'locale', check out Confiteria Las Violetas, a few stops west on the Subte (underground). It is a slice of real BA 'confiteria culture' with its grand tables, fine stained-glass windows, traditional service, not to mention a rather tempting menu - particularly for those with a sweet tooth.
Rivadavia 3899; nearest undergorund: Castro Barros;
tel: 00 61 4958 7387
Google map: tinyurl.com/kw7zcu
This spacious bar is in a former sausage factory. Bench seating makes it great for large groups of people to talk, as there is no TV or loud music. The amazing, tapas-style food is reasonably priced and excellent for both carnivores and vegetarians. The bar attracts locals and not too many tourists.
14a Fade Street, just a few minutes east of Grafton Street
A small - and always packed - bar in Gamla Stan. It's nominally gay, but always has a very mixed crowd with a real buzz. Like all bars in Sweden, it also serves food and here it's not just a thoughtless add-on to the bar: good, imaginative, fusion food. Your only problem will be finding a table.
Österlånggatan 7, Gamla Stan; tel: 08 206 055; nearest metro: Gamla Stan
Soul Mama is located in one of the best spots for dining in Melbourne, upstairs in the renovated sea baths at St Kilda. There’s no real menu, the line up for your meal is different, the view from the toilets is worth a million dollars and the restaurant is vegetarian only.
You choose the size of the meal you want: little, small, medium or large. The little dish consists of dips and bread. The small/medium/large meals are made up of your choice of 20 or so hot or cold vegetarian dishes. You also have a choice of wines, beers and soft drinks and, for the health conscious, variety of freshly made juices.
If you manage to get through your main course, then amazing deserts await. Some look strange but they all taste terrific.
Soul Mama is bright, kid friendly and best of all, the meals are priced relatively cheap. Underground car parking is also available for patrons.
St Kilda sea baths, Jacka Blvd, St Kilda; tel: 9593 6470
This is an awesome place in Madrid to drink a coffee or beer, or to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They have great salads an desserts (my girlfriend ate more than 4 cakes). I love this restaurant and I love Madrid.
Isaac peral 4 (Moncloa); tel: 34 91 543 2009; www.vangoghcafe.com
The Rainbow Reading Room is one of the finest second hand travellers' bookshops in Central America, with a healthy selection of quality titles, compared with the Danielle Steele-heavy shelves of some competitors.
The racks are helpfully sorted into the standard categories rather than having the books placed at random, and the selections include a classics shelf and a gay/lesbian section as well.
All books are also databased, enabling you to search by author or title, and the staff (who speak both Spanish and English) are happy to help. In the back of the building is a courtyard cafe/coffeeshop, which provides a shady area for a cool drink in the middle of the day, along with an internet cafe. Every book you buy gives you free minutes on the internet.
The cafe serves food which is reasonably priced and very tasty, though the Thai Green curry had a suspiciously dark hue, as though it had been doused with food dye. Aside from that the place is thoroughly recommended.
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