Fresh Eire Blog
Lisbon - Wining & Dining
Here are our Top Winning & Dining Recommendations in Lisbon, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
O Cantinho Das Gaveas:
Located in Bairro Alto Lisbon, O Cantinho Das Gaveas is a typical cosy restaurant. The Portuguese cuisine is simply but excellent, and moreover is affordable.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of O Cantinho Das Gaveas by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
“This place was recommended to us by the owner of a different restaurant which couldn't accommodate us. Usually such a scenario encourages me to accept the recommendation politely but ignore it afterwards. On this occasion, I was delighted I didn't. With appetizers of squid (and bread - no charge!) and garlic fried shrimp followed by a sort of rice fish stew (with shrimp, of course). This was one of my favourite meals in Lisbon. However, my pal having a salad was less than impressed. All of us who ordered fish based dishes were suitably impressed. A house white was served in a jug and was great value. Our server was very friendly, efficient, and helpful. Recommended”.
The Old Pharmacy:
In Barrio Alto, The Old Pharmacy is a wine bar which kept its original pharmacy decoration with the old glass shelves. The collection of wine is wonderful, such a unique atmosphere to relax and enjoy a refreshment.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of The Old Pharmacy by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
“Not knowing a lot about Portuguese wine I was determined to try a good bottle from the Douro Valley (someone had recommended to me) while in Lisbon. The server guided me through the extensive menu and brought my attention around to a special 2009 Vallado Touriga Nacional (Esporao). Outstanding. This is a charming and lively spot and an ideal starting point; a little on the pricey side for Lisbon but worth the extravagance if you choose wisely and check ratings using an App on your smartphone if (as I was) unfamiliar with the wines of the region”.
Chapitô a Mesa:
Located in the heart of Lisbon, Costa do Castelo, near Saint-Georges Castle, Chapitô a Mesa is a simply adorable restaurant which offers you a stunning view of the city and the Tagus river. This place is not only a restaurant but a meeting place for Portuguese food lovers. Such a great way to relax after a visit of the Castle…and what a view!
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Chapitô a Mesa by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
“After visiting the castle, we stopped off here for a very late lunch on the recommendation of a friend of mine who had been here in 1999. We were not expecting the welcome we were given ("Wait two minutes and I'll get you the best table in the house") and the views. While this is a very simply decorated space, it oozes charm and authenticity, and boasts unparalleled views. Our meal was outstanding and accompanied by a bottle of vinho verde. The grilled shrimp dish was a particular highlight but my friends vegetarian salad was served too cold and the mushrooms in particular were super chilled. Service was wonderful and friendly. Watching the sun set here at the Magic Hour was a spectacular bonus”.
In the middle of Barrio Alto Lisbon, Remakefood is a typical restaurant which allows you to taste varied food, but I advise you to focus on vegetarian dishes, they are copious and gorgeous. The decoration is surprising but warming, combining friendliness and professionalism.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Remakefood by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
"On a gastro trip to Lisbon I checked out this spot in Barrio Alto. The clinical modern facade is carried through to the interior. I had a tapas dish at the bar; the only person doing so; the restaurant was reasonably busy. The server was very unfamiliar with the wine list and told me there was only one wine available by the glass despite the menu stating quite clearly there were 5 options. He attempted to have me drink a terrible, partially sparkling affair which was unacceptable. Eventually he conceded that there were other options. The marinated squid in roast vegetables was served cold (a surprise) - cooked perfectly and presented very simply. It was outstanding".
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 Hotel Recommendations in Galway.
The G Hotel
A few minutes walk to the city centre, The G Hotel is ideally located to discover the theatres, the restaurants, the souvenir shops and the nocturnal vibes of Galway. Whatever your expectations, this fabulous 5 star hotel is willing to carry you in its glamorous atmosphere. Each room has its personal workspace, furniture and artworks equipment; all design by Philip Treacy. His muse was supermodel Linda Evangelista and the evidence is everywhere.
Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures, stayed here to evaluate it for future guests. Here is his review from TripAdvisor :
‘’Elegant, efficient, stylish and professional. I had feared that this mecca of luxury would be a case of style over substance...however I was wrong. The lobby is very impressive; lots of glass and subdued lighting and something you'd be more likely to see in Miami Beach than in Galway. Staff were well-informed, courteous - nothing seemed to be any trouble to them. The rooms are super luxurious; great comfortable beds, huge wardrobes, comfy sofas and stylish fittings. The bathroom was top class with a great bath and fantastic shower. I also had dinner; an exquisite affair...an inventive menu, extensive wine list and friendly, professional service. Breakfast the next day was a relaxed affair. Great value and a fantastic top-end experience in Galway; there's nothing else like it.’’ Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking Lough Atalia.
The House Hotel
The House is one of our favourite 4 star hotels in Galway. Located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, the hotel offers chic and quiet spacious rooms to make its guests feel at home. We recommend spending time in the bar to enjoy a delicious homemade cocktail and appreciate the stylish surrounding.
The Meryck Hotel
This is another highly recommended 4 star hotel for your trip to Galway. Based in Eyre Square to facilitate your stay, the Meryck hotel combines efficient sophistication and elegance. Originally named The Great Southern Hotel, and honouring its links to the great rail heritage of yesteryear, The Meryck has no less than 163 years of Irish hospitality under its belt.
The Park House Hotel
The Park House, situated in the heart of the city centre is a traditionally luxurious 4 star hotel which offer guests an authentic "cead mile failte" * in Galway. The quality of the service is impressive and Kitty, a Galway institution in her own right and a tour de force of hospitality professionalism, will ensure you will feel at home.
* "one hundred thousand welcomes"
The Victoria Hotel
Located in front of Eyre Square shopping centre, a few minutes walk to Galway Cathedral, the Victoria is a great 3 star hotel and an ideal budget option for a stay in Galway. The rooms are clean with good quality accommodations and stylish furniture while their Irish breakfasts will set you up for the day.
The Heron’s Rest Boutique B&B
Located on the pier behind the Spanish Arch this boutique B&B is lovingly run by local nutritional expert Sorcha Molloy and her fabulous team. Rooms are cosy and have excellent views over The Claddagh and the River Corrib as it enters Galway Bay. Breakfasts here are a real treat with delicious and nutritious homemade Granola and freshly baked scones, brown bread and muffins. Very highly recommended.
Here are our Top Café & Wine Bar Recommendations in Dublin.
Recently opened (2012) in the North of the City, Dublin 1, the Brother Hubbard Cafe is enjoying an incredible success thanks to its traditional menu, which offers delicious coffees with tasty sandwiches, cakes and biscuits. The Brother Hubbard is persistently accolade with awards such as the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, the “Best Chocolate in Dublin” by Lovin’ Dublin 2015, the “Best Lunch in Dublin” by Lovin’ Dublin 2015 and the McKenna’s Guides “Top 100 Places to Eat in Ireland” 2014 and 2015.
Located in Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2, this 1 star Michelin Café is an ideal meeting point for coffee lovers. Furthermore, 3fe is also a boutique where you can buy all the coffee listed on the menu as well as a large range of other coffee tools / accessories. How hipster are you?
Specialising in the design of tasty cakes and simple hearty plates, the Cake Café offers a perfect mix between the sweetness of their cakes and the temper of their delicious coffees. Furthermore, few minutes walk to the St Stephen’s Green, the Cake Café is ideally located for you to enjoy your trip in Dublin. Hidden away at the back of the ecologically focussed Daintree Building, and accessed from the Camden Street entrance of a stationary shop, this is one of Dublin’s best kept secrets frequented by locals.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Cake Café by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures :
‘’This is a great spot run by a few people who are clearly passionate about what they do - and it shows. I've seen reviews on here written by people who clearly just don't get the magic on offer. Let me explain. This is NOT a fine dining experience; it's a cafe. They specialise in cakes, tarts, buns, scones and breads. The name even suggests this. Coffees, teas, cold drinks. A cafe. They also offer some simple salads, and short orders. What they do, they do VERY well and in a super pleasant, friendly manner which is becoming more difficult to experience in Dublin. Cake Cafe is laid back and casual and they use a mish-mash of old fashioned crockery, teapots and cutlery. And it's good value for Dublin too. Sure, it's hip and trendy but not in an arrogant way and attracts a friendly clientele for the most part. Yes, it's a bit of a squeeze sometimes but then you'll never know who you'll strike up a conversation with! Service can be slow, and you might have to wait for a table, so don't come here on your 15 minute lunch break. Located off Wexford Street, in the Daintree Building, it can be a challenge to find the first time (you can walk through a paper/stationery store to get to the courtyard, or you can walk around and enter the building from the back)...it has a Alice In Wonderland appeal. If you are after something fast and devoid of character then go elsewhere; you're ruining it for them and for the rest of us!’’
Fallon & Byrne Wine Bar
Located on Exchequer Street, close to the famous Grafton Street, Dublin 2, Fallon & Byrne Wine Bar offers an unrivalled list of 600 quality wine choices. Wine is served by the glass (or bottle) and all bottles can be taken away. The wine cellar also offers lots of appetizers to accompany your wine degustation with a group of professional experts willing to help you choose the perfect wine for your meal. Fallon & Byrne’s Wine Bar’s offer of €1 corkage on all wines from the cellar shelves is available every Monday & Tuesday (except in December).
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Fallon & Byrne Wine Bar by Padraic, director and owner of Fresh Eire Adventures :
‘’Having dined in the main dining room a few times in the past, and having attended a wedding dinner there a few years ago, I have always been underwhelmed by the experience (forgettable plates, service lacking in charm and often efficiency). I recently had the opportunity to return for a pre-theatre bite and opted for the wine bar in the basement. Thankfully we did and were rewarded with a pleasant experience. A very buzzy space, with an outstanding wine list, the basement attracts an after-work, professional-looking crowd and the day we visited (a Wednesday) it was very, very busy. Expecting to be told there was no room, our server immediately presented two options to us; either at a circular bar (around a pillar) or at a table; we plumped for the latter. Explaining to our server that we had to be in and out in under an hour she immediately brought our menus, took our order and then returned with water, bread and our drinks order (the excellent house Sancerre; €8). Ten minutes later our main courses arrived - outstanding effciency! I had the Poached Flaked Salmon salad as a main. Perfectly cooked and served on a simple bed of crunchy gem lettuce it was incredible value at €13. My friend had the Lamb & Spinach Curry which he enjoyed - again, great value at €16. Service was friendly, well informed and entirely efficient. Couldn't have been better, in any way, in fact. Overall I'd say the experience in the basement far exceeded that of the restaurant and I'd have no hesitation in recommending it to my clients. The restaurant however I'll avoid. Visited July 2014.’’
Here are our Top Hotel & Restaurant Recommendations in Seville, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
Gran Melia Colon:
Member of “The Leading Hotels of the World”, Gran Melia Colon 5-star hotel in the heart of Seville is a sumptuous building which allows you to immerse yourself into the luxurious Spanish lifestyle. Rooms are spacious and with the latest technology to fully relax and enjoy your night. Views from rooms of the street, and the Cathedral, are wonderful. The Majestic Restaurant offers you Andalusian cuisine with unique aromas which allows you to enjoy a lovely dining experience.
Hotel Palacio Villapanés:
Near Santa Cruz neighbourhood, 5-star Hotel Palacio Villapanés is a warming and luxurious baroque authentic building. The patio is fabulous, also ideal to drink a cocktail to refresh yourself or have breakfast each morning. The spa is designed to give the very best of aquatic sensation. I advise you to dine in their Mediterranean restaurant " Los rincones del Marqués" which combines Andalusian gastronomy products and a surprising but tasty selection of wines.
Hotel Casa del Poeta:
Hotel Casa del Poeta is an elegant 4-star housed in an authentic architectural building from the 17th century with its central patio. A few steps away from the Cathedral of Seville, you will appreciate the spacious, comfortable and very luminous rooms. No doubt, this hotel gathers all of Seville’s warming aspects.
Hotel Casa 1800 Sevilla:
The hotel’s rooftop is fabulous to enjoy a drink, and relax in the swimming pool, with a breath-taking view of the Cathedral.
Few steps from La Giralda, in the historical centre of Seville, Alminar Hotel is an affordable but lovely 3-star hotel which allows you to visit all best attractions of the city by foot. Rooms are comfortable and cosy. According to TripAdvisor, this hotel is one of the best in the city.
Mesones del Serranito:
Here’s the review of the restaurant by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures:
“This was without a shadow of a doubt my finest meal while in Seville. The place is very local and is beautifully authentic. Service was top notch and unfussy and the food…exceptional in all regards. I had a series of fish plates but the standout was shrimp in oil and garlic (Gambas Ajillo) which arrived sizzling to my table and was simply divine. I would have eaten this every day for the remainder of my trip (and in fact did return the next day at lunch…but they were too busy). Treat yourself; go here… its super affordable also!”
Abantal is a Michelin Star restaurant in Sevilla. Chef Julio Fdez. Quintero offers you the finest Andalusian cuisine experience in the city. Recently awarded as “Mejor cocinero Andaluz”, the chef will surprise you with his unique and artistic presentations and the sommelier will advise you on the best wine to fully appreciate your gastronomic Spanish experience.
Here are our Top Attraction, Hotel & Restaurant Recommendations in London, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
The Greenhouse is a 2 star Michelin restaurant located in Mayfair, a chic neighbourhood near Hyde Park. French chef Arnaud Bignon will welcome you inside a sober and harmonious restaurant to offer you the finest French dining experience in London.
The Golden Chippy:
Located in Greenwich the Golden Chippy is the best fish and chips in the capital. Even if the restaurant is small, you can take away your dish if you prefer. Affordable, this restaurant is a good way to combine English cultural food in it’s delicious simplicity.
Hotel 41 is a 5-star intimate establishment in the heart of the capital which offers you 30 luxurious black and white themed rooms. This is the best hotel in London according Tripadvisor reviewers. Next to Buckingham Palace, Hotel 41 is in a fantastic location but don’t expect the Queen to drop in for tea!
The Montague on the Gardens:
The Montague on the Gardens is a warming Georgian 4-star townhouse in the famous Bloomsbury neighbourhood. Rooms are spacious and cosy. You will be surprised to discover the Leopard Bar, unique in its decoration because it combines British elegance and South African inspiration. To top it all, the British Museum is just down the street.
London County Hall hotel:
Located at the London Eye, you will definitely enjoy this strategic location where all London’s attractions are accessible by foot. Very affordable by London standards the rooms are clean and comfortable. I advise you to take your breakfast, it’s copious and varied.
The Chesterfield :
The Chesterfield in London' s Mayfair is part of the Red Carnation Hotel Group. It's in a great location and they are known for their exceptional service. The standard rooms are a little on the small side however. If you're planning on spending considerable time in the room I'd spend the money on a upgrade. The Red Carnation group includes both Ashford Castle and Ashford Lodge; both hotels are featured on our Connemara Castles and Manor tour of Ireland.
Founded in 1753, the British Museum is one of the oldest museums in the world. Every year, 5 million tourists spend time in the museum to discover and learn more about biggest ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and Greeks. Located in the Bloomsbury neighbourhood, this museum is a must see in London. The admission is free, so enjoy.
Hyde Park covers 350 acres in the heart of London. It’s a relaxing space to enjoy a sunny day in the capital whether you opt to take a picnic and enjoy some reading or you can take one of the many pathways which traverse the West London park. This park is a meeting for all runners, open from 05:00 to 00:00.
The London Eye is the world’s tallest wheel which offers you a fabulous view of the Capital. Also, named the Millennium Wheel, you will enjoy a breath-taking view especially at night where the Wheel, Tower Bridge, The Parliament and Big Ben are illuminated.
Camden is a unique district in London, a former punk neighbourhood where the street art is increasing considerably. This district is a hub for live music scene, where the energy of the city is concentrated here at night.
The Last Tuesday Society:
The Last Tuesday Society is a surprising and bizarre curious cocktail bar in London, where you will also have the opportunity to visit the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. It’s such a unique proposition and atmospheric place in the capital city. A celebrity haunt you could find yourself rubbing shoulders with patrons such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Graham Norton.
Victoria & Albert Museum:
With more than 4.5 million objects, V&A is the largest museum of design and decorative arts in the world. This museum allows you to travel from antiquity to the contemporary world, admiring exceptional pieces perfectly preserved. Free admission.
Serpentine Gallery is a pavillon located inside Hyde Park since 2000. Each year, one renowned architect is selected by a Commission to create their own summer pavillon to create a surprising space for concerts or cultural events. It was founded to house the Contemporary Art Museum of Kensington Gardens. It’s a fantastic way for the public to engage with such significant architectural creations.