Fresh Eire Blog
Bike Tour Menus:
What to expect at a Fresh Eire Adventures Restaurant?
George V Dining Room
Here is a sample menu we’d recommend:
Start with the Connemara Lamb Salad, followed by the Soup, followed by the Hake with either the Connemara Whiskey Crème Brulee. These all showcase the very best of local Irish gastronomy.
Auberge de la Caillère
Auberge de la Caillère is an excellent and highly recommended 3 star hotel-restaurant featured on our Classic Loire Valley adventure in France. We dine here on both our Deluxe and Classic trips. It is only a matter of time before Eric & Aurélie receive their Michelin star.
Restaurant Olivier Arlot
Here are our Top Café & Restaurant Recommendations in Dublin.
Hatch & Sons
Located at the edge of St Stephen Green, Dublin 2, Hatch & Sons offers an authentic Irish food experience served in a beautiful Georgian kitchen. The Irish breakfast is served on a beautiful Irish oak wood board, and the chicken salad comes with refined buttermilk dressing.
Padraic, founder and managing director of Fresh Eire Adventures, tried this restaurant and reviewed it on TripAdvisor :
“Excellent quality lunch with a pal, seated on their basement terrace in the sunshine...a wonderful Dublin treat. My fishcakes were superb; served with a light salad. My friends goats cheese salad was also superb. Wonderful food, great setting but service was a little disappointing (I had to send back my white wine - dirty glass, wine not cold)...”
Fade Street Social
Fade Street Social is an excellent restaurant that focuses on combining an uncomplicated way to cook using home grown products to give a rustic and exquisite flavour to their food. Inspired by his artistic mind, Chef Dylan McGrath highlights the importance of simplicity and final taste in his process. The restaurant is based just in front of the Brooks hotel, on the corner of Fade Street and Drury Lane in Dublin 2.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Fade Street Social by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures :
“This is really one of the best gastro bargains in Dublin; a recession-busting 3 course gourmet lunch for €25. But don't be in a hurry to enjoy the Fade Street Social experience. On the menu: a choice of 4 mains, 4 starters and 2 deserts. The starters are served with an extra flat bread pizza of mushroom and pumpkin - no one, not even the most famished, will go hungry. My (solitary) scallop was a delight; perfectly cooked and full of flavour. My friend's seasonal vegetable plate was the superior choice however; a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds. The accompanying flatbread pizza was exquisite; a taste sensation and an original deviation from the typical bread-in-a-basket. Some might say that this is overkill; that perhaps it is excessive. I, for one, having had just the scallop, was delighted the starter was accompanied by something a tad more substantial than a lone bivalve. We both opted for the ravioli. This was an exquisite dish; a selection of mushrooms (ceps, girolles...) and a sheet of fresh pasta (not parcels as one might expect) in a rich truffle sauce with a fresh gremolta. Perhaps one of the finest plates I had all year thus far. Service was a little haphazzard (although not terrible for a lunch service); our mains went to the other side of the restuarant and it was a minute before they realised for whom they were inteneded, and it took a while (5 minutes) to get the attention of the server when we wanted to pay and leave (he was hanging out by the doorway chatting with the restaurant manager and bar tender and didn't so much as throw a cursory glance in our direction during that 5 minute period). House waters (still and sparkling) were €1 each for a c.600-750ml bottle (great idea as long as you are not after mineral water as my lunch companion was), I had a super glass of Tempranillo (€7) and we enjoyed two Americanos (€3.25 each). Not terribly busy for a Monday lunch; there were perhaps 20-30 diners well spread out in the well appointed airy room. Stylish and comfortable (yet functional) furnishings, a table runner (fussy, unnecessary) and good quality napkins. I did not visit the bathroom. On the other tables: quite conservative looking folks in their mid 30s upwards; couples, friends, business meeting types. On the stereo: inoffensive trendoid tunes. Not in my pocket: €75 including tip. The atmosphere was a little flat; the restaurant manager, while making eye contact and smiling at the guests, did little else to interact with customers; something which (especially in a quiet restaurant) takes very little effort and can go a long way in establishing a long standing rapport. Perhaps most folks wouldn't see this as important, and I admit to being old fashioned when it comes to hospitality, but I believe a Manager should always work the room whenever possible. Overall a fantastic lunch and highly recommended.”
Established in 2005 and located on Palace Street at the gates of Dublin Castle, Dublin 2, Chez Max is an excellent French restaurant considered as a traditional French café. The decoration is wonderful and inspired by the Paris Gardens. Chez Max offers delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner all homemade with a Parisian style.
Padraic, founder and managing director of Fresh Eire Adventures, tried this restaurant and reviewed it on TripAdvisor :
‘’One of the most authentic French restaurants in town, I recently visisted Chez Max with a couple of friends. The experience was superb from beginning to end. Seated at a central table, we were immediately offered water and drinks by our server who was friendly, informative, efficient and answered our questions confidently and insightfully. The menu is extensive with some true stand out features such as the seared tuna (delicious).
Some regular wines were a little on the pricey side (Gigondas at €45 per btl, €11.25 a glass) but there are some commendable bottles such as the Riseling at €29. Not the most affordable French bistro in town (€177.25 plus tip; 3 starters, 3 mains, 2 bottles as described, 2 espressos. no desserts) but an outstanding meal nevertheless and therefore great value. Highly recommended.’’
Located in front of L’Gueuleton on trendy Fade Street in Dublin 2, the Market Bar is an original gastro bar and an excellent tapas restaurant that offers pretty good snacks (especially the garlic bread and the soup of the day, delicious) and its own range of meats, salads, seafood, pizzas and vegetarian menus. We recommend to try the delicious “Gambas Pil Pil” (it comes with fresh bread) with a glass of red wine; the “Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux”.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Market Bar by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures :
‘’Wine list is on the value side but offering a fair selection sub 25 euro a bottle while the tapas selection is comprehensive. Excellent calamari, risotto with fish kebabs and simple tortilla are standouts for me. Service is superb and overall this casual dining experience offers excellent value for money.’’
Located on South Great George’s Street, 777 is an authentic Mexican restaurant that successfully combines the bold flavours of Mexico City with the national Irish techniques. Open 7 days a week, 777 offers a modern environment, is friendly,and inspired by the typical image we can have of a Mexican’s interior saloon. This is the best Mexican in Dublin by a long way.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of 777 by Padraic, director and owner of Fresh Eire Adventures :
‘’I had heard much off 777 since it opened some time ago...all positive but I also heard people grumble about the prices. I went along with an open mind and was blown away. What I wasn't expecting was the amazing food on offer (Ireland does not have a good track record of doing Mexican fayre at all well - need I remind anyone of the plethora of Tex Mex menus masquerading as the real deal?) I was also not expecting to be wowed in almost every other way possible. Our server was friendly, chatty, polite, witty and efficient; off to a great start. She also looked the part. They don't take reservations (grumble) but we arrived early and were seated right away. The place filled up within 30 minutes - my advice; get there early! We ordered some excellent cocktails (I had a non-alcoholic ginger based extravaganza - amazingly refreshing and delicious...if not cheap; grumble!) and perused the menus. Lots of choice here for meat eaters and pescatarians / flexitarians alike...vegetarians however have limited choice. The specials were also appetising. While we waited for a third member of our group to join us we ordered some chips and guacamole - again excellent (served in Tacqueria style red plastic basket - small touch adding to the authentic feel of this place). Decor is a mix of Lower East Side NYC art deco of white tile, booths with formica tables...a long elegant bar open to diners with well stocked tidy shelves. Bar tenders knew what they were doing too and made an excellent job of my friend's Maragrita. No table cloths or linen napkins here; but high quality paper napkins and very well cleaned down tables. Dark lighting and blacked out frosted over windows makes this place look a bit like a sex club from the street - not necessarily in a sleazy way but gives a sense of "best kept secret" as you enter. Sure, it's a hipster hangout and is unapologetic about it. This is utterly fine with me; I'm a wannabe hipster who is probably old enough to know better but I like looking at cooler people prettier than myself these days. On the stereo; a strange mix of 80s dance tunes, hip hop and Americana...somehow it worked as it was subtle and more background music than pumping thumping tunes. Womack & Womack meets Don Henly. Who knew? On the other tables: couples on dates, friends having dinner and drinks, after work crowds...buzzing in general. The food was OUTSTANDING - I ordered a special of Shrimp in chipolte, some soft shell tacos with Snapper and shrimp emenadas...all perfectly executed; not fussy and utterly delicious. And AUTHENTIC Mexican - this is as good as it gets folks. Mexican is one of my favourite types of cooking and I've been spoiled for choice because I travel to the USA so much and have been to Mexico (not just for the food) 5 or 6 times. Bathrooms were spotlessly clean and followed the blacked out lighting theme throughout. No expense spared in the toiletries either; L'Occitane Verbena liquid soap and bars all the way. Thankfully no horrific hand driers to contend with either; high-quality civilised paper towels all the way. You must walk through the kitchen pick up area to access the bathrooms so you can throw an eye on the goings on back there too. For desert we ordered sorbets and 2 portions of OUTSTANDING Key Lime Pie...again; if you haven't had Key Lime Pie done properly before you're in for a real treat if you order it here. I've never seen it on a menu in Ireland before. OK,, so it was not cheap. The damage for the three of us came to 155 euro before tip. For what we had however this was reasonable. For the entire experience however I'd go so far as to say this was amazing value for money. Wow factors all the way from the service to the bathrooms to the food to the cocktails. Top drawer all the way. Yet fun and super casual. This is one of my new favourite restaurants and one I can wholeheartedly recommend to friends and clients alike. Bravo for getting it done right first time around. I can't wait to return. 10/10.’’
Located on trendy Fade Street in Dublin, L’Gueuleton offers a fusion of exquisite French bistro food, wine and high quality Irish produce in a relaxed and casual setting. You should try the caramel cream, the most popular dessert of the bistro. A recent guest of Fresh Eire Adventures compared the experience here to the very best French food outside of France.
Padraic, founder and managing director of Fresh Eire Adventures, tried this restaurant and reviewed it on TripAdvisor :
“When this place opened it had an air of self-importance. Roll on a few years and the recession has hit. The pretension has disappeared but the menu, food and service are still right up there with the best Dublin has to offer. Prices are reasonable. Their specials are always worth checking out. The layout of this French style restaurant is simple yet possesses a comfortable atmosphere and a wonderfully solid, uncomplicated menu with plenty of choice. Their Oysters Rockerfeller are the best in Dublin. There is almost always a buzz here at night but during the day, especially mid week, lunches are quieter. Mid week lunches are now my favourite time to eat here; a long lesiurely boozey lunch where the servers are not trying to move you on! I recommend this restaurant to colleagues and clients alike - everyone who goes here RAVES about the service, ambiance and especially the food. Great wine list too with plenty of good quality bottles in the sub 40 euro category. Keep up the good work.”
The Claddagh is a symbol of love and friendship. The story of the famous Claddagh ring began in a small fishing spot in Claddagh, Galway. The area contains little more than a church, a school and a visitor centre, providing privacy and yet a tradition steeped in love.
Here are our Top Restaurant Recommendations in Galway.
Located on Father Griffin Road, Anton’s Café is our top choice for lunch in Galway. Open 7 days a week, the restaurant offers 3 main menus (House menu, Take out menu and Breakfast menu) all made with locally sourced products. Anton’s Café has its own in-house bakery, its own focaccia bread, and uses only fresh ingredients for its soups & salads. The flour-free chocolate cake is divine. The restaurant also acts as a gallery and, from time to time, art exhibitions are on display as part of the Galway Arts Festival.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Anton’s Café by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures :
“A Galway institution I've been enjoying since 2001, Anton has been baking his delicious foccacias at dawn and filling them with the highest quality produce; home made pesto, hot tuna, blacky ham, aged cheddar...complimenting everything with hearty home made soups, fresh salads...followed by classic desserts and muffins with probably the best coffee on this side of the Corrib. No trip to Galway is complete without calling in to soak up the ambiance at the very least. Do yourself a favour and go. And return. Many times. Gets very busy at lunch time Mon - Fri so try plan your visit keeping this in mind. VERY highly recommended.’’
Located in Galway’s West End, the authentic Aniar restaurant was awarded a Michelin Star in 2013. Chef, JP McMahon prepares recipes with ingredients from Galway and the West of Ireland. The restaurant offers a daily tasting menu, which consists of 10 enticing courses. Aniar also offers an early evening menu of 5 delicious courses.
Ard Bia at Nimmo’s
The quality of its food and the variety of its menus have made Ard Bia one of the most enduring restaurants in Galway. It’s fun atmosphere and excellent service coupled with the unique culture curated by Galway institution Aoibheann McNamara, Nimmo’s is our top dining recommendation for your trip to Galway. Opt for a table next to the water and you will take in views of The Claddagh while small groups of 4 should request The Snug. McNamara has also received acclaim for her Tweed Project; another feather in this maven’s cap.
‘’I've been going to Nimmos for over ten years now...it changed management a few years ago and the quality has, if anything, improved. The building itself is historic and built right on the pier. It attracts a great variety of people; there's almost always a few suits and glammed up ladies, a few arty types, hipsters and urban professionals; and a few smug-looking tourists who look as though they got in on Galway's best kept secret! The food is simply wonderful; a great array of seafood especially. Great presentation, lots of originality but very straightforward. Excellent wine list also. Service is very laid back, casual and friendly - it's very much in keeping with the laid back vibe of this special place. My favourite table is 'the snug' - ideal for 3 or 4 people only.’’
Kai is an excellent casual restaurant, which delights with its simple authenticity and combines the old with the modern in a comfortable and homely atmosphere. The restaurant offers a large range of affordable and tasty menu. Kai also houses a great collection of artworks and paintings.
Locals rate McDonaghs as the "Best Fish & Chips" in Galway, if not in Ireland! Indeed, with a menu that lists a dozen delicious fish (ray, hake, salmon, cod and so on) and tasty french fries, McDonaghs offers a fine insight into this Irish staple dish. The service is speedy and informal – there are two options; either take-away or dine-in. With the take-away option you get your food in around 5 minutes after you order and you can sit at communal benches to enjoy your food. The dine-in option is more traditional with table service. Staff are polite and friendly, and the price is very affordable for the quality of the food. You will appreciate the original and unique marine-themed decoration of the interior, which tells the story of local Irish fishermen.
‘’A great selection of fresh fish, cooked to perfection. My recommendation is the battered salmon, with chips and a side of curry sauce (try it!). Do as the Galwegians do - order at the counter and take a bench seat. It's effectively the same menu as the restaurant (which almost always involves a wait for a table). Great people watching opportunities if you side outside on the benches.’’
Dough Bros Pizzeria
Located in Galway city centre, Dough Bros is a casual venue to enjoy an authentic wood-fired pizza like no other in town. The place is warm, cosy and you can enjoy the combination of the wood fire and pizza smells. The service is friendly, and the flavour of each featured ingredient is easily identifiable such is the quality. The size of the pizza is relatively small for enthusiastic pizza lovers so we recommend that you double your order – lucky you!
Moran’s of the Weir Restaurant
Moran’s of the Weir is an excellent seafood restaurant, which is famous for Galway flat oysters and tasty fresh mussels. With their produce directly collected from the sea in front of the cottage restaurant on Galway Bay, you will appreciate their delicious menu with a refreshing Guinness or glass of wine. Enjoy a large piece of their traditional homemade brown bread with (my favourite ) the garlic breaded grilled oysters with a splash of Tabasco. In a simple and comfortable setting, the restaurant offers a friendly atmosphere in which to relax and enjoy a pleasant dinner. Based just outside Clarinbridge (on the Galway side), Moran’s of the Weir is ideally located for your visit en route to or from the Burren or the Cliffs of Moher.
The G Counter
Open 7 days a week, the G Counter is a delicious and trendy cafe-restaurant. The G offers an appetizing breakfast, tempting sandwiches, succulent dishes and tasty homemade burgers. We also recommend trying its fresh bakery and pastry products with a excellent cup of dark coffee. Located at the rear of the G Hotel this is an ideal place to try on your way in or out of town.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of The G Counter Café - Restaurant by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures :
‘’I ate here twice in the last month; both times for lunch in a hurry - service was superb both times despite the restaurant (a bright, spacious industrial style airy space) being very busy. The first day I had the Nicoise sandwich - an open extravagnaza on home-baked sourdough, served on a breadboard and ENORMOUS. Delicious. Second time (2 weeks ago) I ordered the best salmon fish cakes in Galway - featuring salmon 3 ways; in the fish cakes, in a side salad (smoked salmon) and poached. With a bowl of fries and a coke this came to €15 - outstanding value for money. Service on both occasions was speedy and friendly, efficient and well informed. Bathrooms could be better. Not a great location. Lots of free parking however - every cloud! I love this place and have no hesitation in recommending it. Top Drawer.’’
Dubrovnik: Restaurants & Wine Bar
Here are our Top Restaurant & Wine Bar Recommendations in Dubrovnik, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
For the ultimate Dubrovnik dining experience pay a visit to Restaurant 360° a trendy and elegant place commited to presenting top-notch cuisine prepared with the finest ingredients, inspired by Mediterranean flavours, influenced by local history and presented in a contemporary manner. The chef at 360° takes modern Mediterranean dining to a whole new level constantly experimenting with new techniques and recipes to keep their menu full of delicious selections and inventive combinations. Regarding the food, there isn't really a thing we wouldn't recommend from the delicacies they serve, for all the dishes encompassed in their menu are a gastronomic adventure. There is a special degustation menu that serves several mains in smaller portions. One other thing you shouldn't miss, is treating yourself with some of the exclusive wines recommended by the sommelier.
360° is a sophisitcated outdoor oasis, showcasing superb fine dining amidst the iconic sights of Dubrovnik's dramatic architecture. Their superior service is a pearl of the Adriatic's gastro scene. Whether it is a romantic dinner with your significant other, a family get together, or just a night out with your friends, 360° offers something for everyone.
Jam packed into a street filled with restaurants is this small haven for non-meaty lovers. You'll find a fusion vegetarian cuisine from all over the world. Choose from falafel, curry, soups, salad bar and much more. The menu also contains vegan and gluten-free dishes for those mor in tune with Mother Nature. Enjoy the local wines, beers, and home-made juices that Nishta has to offer. A lot of thought has gone into the design of the toilets, so make sure you arrive with a full bladder otherwise you will miss out on the joke.
In the old town of Dubrovnik, Barba is a restaurant which offers you delicious seafood in a simple but modern interior. Their burgers and salads are also gorgeous. This restaurant is a nice place to order fast food such as fried fish.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Barba by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
“Great value, no nonsense fast food in a comfortable and friendly restaurant setting. I made the mistake of ordering too much - the tempura prawn dish was very heavy. However, the server saw it wasn't to my liking, and (they also forgot to order it for me so it took half an hour to arrive) didn't charge me for it.
Recommended (for the calamari)”.
D'vino Wine Bar
D'vino Wine Bar is the perfect place to relax, share an intimate conversation, celebrate a special occasion, or just unwind and enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day. Located in a narrow street in the heart of Dubrovnik Old City, D'vino has an imported wine available by the glass, bottle, and tasting servings. D'vino offers over 60 wines by the glass, which is by far the richest selection in Dubrovnik, with a focus on small wine producers and family vineyards across Croatia. From quick bites to elaborate gourmet platters, D'vino has it all. Based on local ingredients and traditional delicasies, they serve delicious food with a twist.
Razonada Wine & Tapas Bar:
Razonada Wine & Tapas Bar is simply the best place to discover high quality Croatian wines in Dubrovnik. With its elegant interior, we suggest to combine a fabulous glass of wine with Croatian tapas such as Proscuitto. Charming and romantic, this establishment is located inside the Pucic Palace Hotel, in the very heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik. Croatia is a land of contrast and the fine wines follow this diversity. Produced on lush rolling green valleys or steep cliff sides the wines of Croatia range from refreshing light whites to full-bodied reds. We recommend sampling a glass of the famous red wine from the Peljesac peninsula, Dingac. Or if you are looking for a cool white wine then we recommend Posip from the island of Korcula. And the lounge bar Defne, a rooftop terrace over Razonda, offers a stunning ambience above the busy streets, after a glass of fine wine make your way up to the terrace for a light lunch. If you are looking for a slightly different way to explore and experience the beauties of Croatia look no further.
Kopun, one of the rising stars among Dubrovnik's restaurants, and a local favourite, is located on one of the most enchanting squares in Dubrovnik's Old Town, the calm and peaceful Ruder Boškovic square, approached via romantic baroque staircase. Elegant interior, gorgeous outside seating and relaxed setting of the whole area, popularly known as Jezuiti, enhances their rich offer, and puts Kopun in the top of the town's restaurant scene. Alfresco dining at Kopun, gives you a unique opportunity to enjoy the view of a wonderfully ornate Jesuit church of St Ignatius, while indulging in authentic delicasies. Their menu features buzzes for everyone's taste, with an emphasis put on tradidtional Croatian recipes, thus one can enjoy flavours from all over Croatia, tastes of Istria or Slavonija, Zagorje or Dalmatia, all carefully gathered and brilliantly created in this one lovely venue.
Special feature on their menu is capon, young rooster bread exclusively for meat. Capon represents a highly valued delicacy in traditional cuisines all across Europe, and in time of Dubrovnik republic it was served to local aristocrats. The recommended dish Dubrovnik Capon, rooster in sauce of sour orange and honey, is inspired by the work of Marin Drzic, Dubrovnik's famous 16th century writer. So sink in and sense the true Dubrovnik, as it once was.
Here are our Top Hotel Recommendations in Dubrovnik, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
The Pucic Palace:
The 5-star Pucic Palace is a 17th century baroque building in the old town of Dubrovnik, and the unique hotel is located inside the fortifications. Rooms are chic and charming, and bathrooms are unique with their Romanesque Italian mosaic in walls and tiles. Open your window, and admire a stunning view of Dubrovnik (be sure to pack some earplugs: the old town can become very loud at night).
Their Defne terrace offers a creative contemporary eastern Mediterranean cuisine, best enjoyed on a sunny day; it’s so pleasant and refreshing.
The 5-star Hilton Imperial is a wonderful building on the doorstep of Old Dubrovnik just outside the Pile Gate, and close to Banje Beach. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with high-quality bedding. To fully decompress, the Beauty Line Center at the Hilton Imperial, allows you to enjoy their indoor swimming pool, spa, steam room, fitness gym or even massages.
The Porat Restaurant offers refined Mediterranean cuisine with local produce meticulously chosen by Hilton Imperial Executive Chef, Julija Basic. The Lobby Bar is also a smart way to appreciate cocktails, wines or even a simple coffee in their sumptuous terrace, facing the beautiful old town and their ramparts.
Lapad Hotel is a 4-star Victorian architectural building located close to the old town of Dubrovnik, in front of the sea in Lapad. Rooms are spacious and cosy; you have the option to choose between the old and classic parts of the establishment. The breakfast is substantial and varied, no better way to start a good day. To relax, the swimming pool is ideal after a day visiting old Dubrovnik city, as is the restaurant where you can enjoy gastronomic Mediterranean creative food.