Review: La Pizzeria, Clogherhead, Co Louth

La Pizzeria 2  Some chefs have reputations they don’t deserve; others definitely so, and when word got around that Jian Carlo – initially the pizza maker at County Louth, Drogheda’s La Pizzeria, when it opened about 25 years ago, and subsequently the owner/chef – was quite likely the grumpiest person ever to stand behind a food counter it fast became something of a running joke to see just how grumpy he could be.

Review: Vintage Kitchen, Dublin

Vintage Kitchen

We have been to smaller restaurants but usually they’ve been located in much larger cities than Dublin; hideaways in side streets and alleyways in Paris and New York spring to mind, but we have yet to visit one as downright charming and quirky as Vintage Kitchen (which can seat, at an all-too obvious squeeze, 30 people who will, by the end of their meal, have few secrets from each other).

Review: Havana, Dublin

Havana

Any business that manages to keep its head above water for 15 years must have something good going for it, and so it proves with Havana Tapas Bar, a cosy place bang in the centre of Dublin’s Restaurant Row. Havana hasn’t always been in this location, however.

Review: Brabazon, Tankardstown House, Slane, Co Meath

Brabazon  The setting within which Brabazon Restaurant reclines is beautiful, and we’ll warrant there are few places in Ireland to beat it. Over 15 years ago, Tankardstown House, a period property, was in need of careful restoration and repair, and it is to the credit of owners Trish and Brian Conroy that very little expense has been spared in refitting this property so well that it once again stands tall and welcoming on the 80-acre estate.

Review: Drury Buildings, Dublin

Drury Buildings  Sitting comfortably? Let’s begin, shall we? On Tuesday we booked dinner for Saturday, and received a phone call on the Thursday – two days before the appointed reservation – asking us to confirm that we were, indeed, still intending to make ourselves known.

Review: DeVille’s, Dalkey, County Dublin

DeVilles  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.

Review: The Snail Box, Ashbourne, Co Meath

Snail Box  The first things you notice are the baseball caps. They hang down from the ceiling – over 3,000 of them – in neat rows, looking for all the world like multi-coloured bats. Hats from the locality, hats from around Ireland, hats from across the globe.

Review: Cava Bodega, Galway

Cava Bodega Ext  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. No fools us, we nabbed a table for two a few weeks before, as we had previously learnt to our cost that this little tapas place is almost always booked out at weekends.