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Dublin in June

Steve, my wife and I recently spent two weeks in France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Ireland. I would have to say two of my favorite meals were in Dublin...

The best meal we had was at Locks Brasserie in the Portobello section of the city. You will need to take a cab from The Shelbourne, but you will be treated to great food at this casual, one Michelin starred bistro. They offer a seasonal market menu with two courses for €25.00. Split a farmhouse cheese plate for desert and you will be amazed at the quality and value you are receiving. Locks' sister eatery is called Pearl Brasserie and is right around the corner from The Shelbourne (next to Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud) and might be worth visiting for lunch.

The other restaurant that we really enjoyed was the Pig's Ear which is a 10 minute walk from your hotel. This is another outstanding and reasonably priced Dublin restaurant. Ask for a window table and you will get a nice view of Trinity College from this second story dining room. It’s easy to find, just look for the pink door on Nassau Street…

The Shelbourne is our favorite Dublin hotel. Try the afternoon tea service and also spend some time in Stephen’s Green right across the street.

May 15, 2013
wellington in U.K./Ireland

What do you with think of this Radius/Via Matta Living Social Deal?

After receiving an email from Living Social this weekend about this deal, I called Via Matta to get their perspective on how they would fulfill their offer. Instead of clearing things up, I was left with more doubt about the offering. When I asked what comprised the 3 course/$100 value tasting menu, I wasn't given a straight answer. In fact I was told the chef's offering could be at least 3 but up to 6 courses based on food availability and chef's whim that evening. No guarantees that more than 3 courses would be served. The second issue I had was when I was told all other diners in the party without the Living Social coupon would also have to order the same multi-course dinner at the full value price of $100. At this point, I totally lost interest in the deal. I gave Living Social a call and told them about my concerns. They quickly processed a refund on my behalf. In hindsight, this deal would have been better for all if it were a simple straight-up $100 off your dinner bill coupon for $50. Almost all of these "social" restaurant deals from Living Social, Groupon et al are structured this way and most include alcohol as well...

Via Matta
79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

il Casale in Belmont Center - why no buzz?

Had an unremarkable meal at il Casale last week. I ordered the pasta Bolognese and was quite disappointed by the entree size and overall lack of flavor. Maybe the sauce was "rushed" as it lacked the layers of flavor that only comes with slow cooking this type of complex meat sauce. I rarely use salt on food to add flavor, but in this case the sauce was so bland that I had to salt it several times. Very disappointing... If I am going to spend $35 for a small bowl of pasta and a glass of pinot noir, I will leave Belmont for il Capriccio or L'Andana or a few other more established Italian restaurants in the area and find better quality and value. On the plus side, the service is usually very good here.

Temple Bar Update

I have been disappointed by the Temple Bar for years. I have always rooted for the place to be a nice upscale Irish bar in Cambridge with good drinks and even better food. Alas the food has disappointed for as long as I have gone there, which seems like 10 years or so. I will blame this on the chef and kitchen...
There is a new chef at TB from what I have read. I recall the previous chef at Temple Bar worked at the Mohegan Café on Block Island early in his career after graduating from Johnson and Wales. I experienced the Mohegan as another place with a much better bar than restaurant after summering there for the last 15 years. I should have seen a pattern here when I read the chef’s resume at the Temple Bar.
I am willing to try the new Temple Bar menu under the new chef to see if it's any better than before. Otherwise I will continue to eat at my favorite Chinese, Cuban, and Mexican restaurants in this foodie Cambridge neighborhood, namely Changsho, Chez Henri, and The Forest Cafe.

Insanely Good Super Cheap Porky Goodness

I have to get there this weekend. It sounds like a true pork fest...

Best working chef in boston.

Is Tony Maws a star chef?

Looking for the best cuban sandwich

I love Chez Henri's version of the pressed Cuban sandwich. If you can grab a seat at the small bar, order a beer or mojito and enjoy their simply delicious pork sandwich.

Gelato in Boston area?

Where do you live? You may want to try Angelato on Trapelo Rd. in Belmont (next to the Studio Cinema). They have been in business for several years and produce a nice selection of gelato in about a dozen flavors.

il Casale in Belmont Center - why no buzz?

Thanks for the update. I think I'll give it a try one night this week. We definitely need better restaurants with full liquor licenses in Belmont (like Savino’s and il Casale). The town has been an upscale dining wasteland for a long time.

Half-sour pickles

Very tasty...

Half-sour pickles

Russo's in Watertown usually carries POE (Pickles, Olives Etc) half sours from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. They are reasonably priced and delicious. I look for the really bright green, crispy ones... Yum!

Aujourd'hui closing

A sad statement on the Mass. economy...

il Casale in Belmont Center - why no buzz?

I understand they haven't had an official opening yet, but they have been serving food for a month or so now. Why isn't there any buzz about this place, especially with a top notch Boston area chef running the kitchen? Do they need a new PR person? Is Belmont too boring? The il Casale website finally has a dinner menu up (and it looks real good with moderate prices for both food and drink) but not much else is on the website. TV Diner filmed there last week and the interview with Dante was shown this past weekend. I'm anxious to check out the bar and try their "little tastes" menu to sample a variety of their food. Menu:

Has anyone been there and what do you think?

Pizza AND burgers

Can't go wrong at Conley's... Great burgers and pizza (love the Buffalo Chicken with Jalapenos).

Conley's; Haddad's; McKay's

I like Conley's a lot. The pizza is very good and they make a great burger. The friendly bar staff makes the place a good local hangout for the Watertown, Belmont, Cambridge area. Only downside is the poor acoustics in the place. It can get very noisy during the dinner rush on Thur.-Sat. nights.

Stone Hearth Pizza, Belmont -pleasant meal for too much $$$

I finally tried Stone Hearth after my teenage son ate there the other day with friends and raved about it. I live nearby and have never been real interested in eating there as I am very happy with pizza from Stella's and Upper Crust (Watertown), Za (Arlington), Armando's and Emma's (both in Cambridge). Based on his recommendation, my wife and I decided to order a pepperoni pie and a Caesar salad for takeout on Saturday night...

Let me begin by saying the salad was quite good. The Caesar dressing was very thick, but also very flavorful with the right amount of garlic. It was quite enjoyable. As for the pepperoni pizza, it was probably one of the worst I have had in a long time. First of all, the "all beef, nitrate-free pepperoni" that is used looked terrible and totally lacked flavor. Give me a good pork based pepperoni like they serve in Napoli. I’ll pass on the all beef version… Second, please hold the Provolone mixed with Mozzarella. Classic pizzas don't use Provolone cheese; it tends to add a negative flavor in my opinion. Finally, for a place that uses 700-900 degree ovens, how can the bottom of such a thin, puny crust come out so white? I should have ordered it well done to get some char and color on it... Overall, the pizza was quite disappointing. I probably won’t be going back especially with the other excellent pizza choices not too far from Belmont.

The Winding Stair in Dublin

We recently went to The Winding Stair with high expectations after reading some great reviews and the fact that it is hard to find good restaurant value in Dublin. Overall, the food was fine, not great. Locally sourced ingredients seem to be the mainstay... The dining room is small and unremarkable, above a book store that is much more interesting than the restaurant. On my next trip to Dublin, I would give it another try to see what all the buzz is about.

Nov 25, 2008
wellington in U.K./Ireland

The Stonecutter Cafe - A gem in Aughrim, County Wicklow, Ireland

Just returned home to the US after 10 days split between the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin and a farmhouse in Tinahely (southern Wicklow)… About 11 km from Tinahely is the beautiful town of Aughrim, winner of the 2007 Tidytowns National competition and home to The Stonecutter Cafe. What a great find!
Our first thought was to lunch at one of the two pubs in the center of town one afternoon, but neither was open. We then decided to try The Stonecutter after we saw all of the alfresco tables in use. We made the right decision... For lunch we tried the pizza slice and salad (mushroom and Serrano ham pizza and just picked local greens) and prawn salad sandwich. A side of perfect pommes frites, a nice glass of red, and a tasty Belgian beer sealed the deal to book dinner the following night.
For dinner, our party tried the steak, chicken, and lamb chop dishes. All are locally sourced meats from nearby Wicklow farms. All were perfectly cooked and served with bowls of organic vegetables and crispy roasted potatoes, all picked early that morning. Served very simply and very fresh… With entrees around €23 average, the value was great especially compared to the restaurants in Dublin. The Stonecutter has been at this location for 10 years or so under several owners where the reputation of the place has gone from “very good” to “terrible” and once again to “excellent”. The latest owner seems dedicated to providing great food at reasonable prices. Don’t pass it up…
Also, for a unique country pub experience, try the Dying Cow pub in Tinahely. This tiny family owned pub is right on the Wicklow Way hiking trail. It is my favorite spot in all of Ireland to drink a Guinness and enjoy local music on Thursday nights. The actor Michael Douglas recently stopped by while hiking the Wicklow Way. Word is no one paid any attention to him in the pub...

Aug 18, 2008
wellington in U.K./Ireland

Search and sort...

Search is not very accurate. Please contact Google to figure out how to implement search. It isn't that hard...

Also figure out how to sort entries by date (and other criteria). This is a basic feature found on the most basic of websites. If it takes Chowhound this long to figure out sorting messages, hire a new web administrator.

The site has good info, but it should be a lot easier to find and display this info...

Jun 02, 2007
wellington in Site Talk