These restaurants will serve up a delicious meal, great ambiance and a potential celebrity sighting…
SHANAHAN’S ON THE GREEN
THE ROOM Fancy but not overly formal, this classic restaurant has grand proportions, gleaming crystal chandeliers, white tablecloths, and a buzzy atmosphere that is as seductive as the menu. The Oval Office basement bar is popular for a pre-dinner drink. THE PLATE It’s all about the steak and the sides at Shanahan’s. Start with crab salad or jumbo shrimp cocktail and for mains, it has to be steak, sourced from the Shanahan farm in Co Meath. Don’t skip the fluffy cloud-like whipped potatoes, the onion strings or the creamed corn on the side. THE STORY Over the years, Shanahan’s has hosted le tout monde. Bill Clinton enjoyed a brief spin in JFK’s famous chair that now resides in The Oval Office Bar. Rod Stewart and Mark Wahlberg have also dined there. All who visit are greeted by host John Shanahan who has dual citizenship in Ireland and the US. Perhaps it’s the mix of Irish hospitality and American charm that makes dining in Shanahan’s such an enjoyable experience, albeit an expensive one. Shanahan’s on the Green, 119 St Stephens’s Green, Dublin 2, 01 407 0939; www.shanahans.ie.
THE BARTON RESTAURANT AT THE K CLUB
THE ROOM A traditionally opulent space named after the property’s original owner (of Barton & Guestier wine fame), with marble pillars, velvet drapes and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking landscaped gardens and the River Liffey. Have a Blue Martini cocktail as you peruse the menu. ON THE PLATE Executive chef Philip Brazil uses the best of local produce – try the Irish King Scallops. If choosing wine, put yourself in the capable hands of sommelier Liza O’Doherty. I recommend a selection from the cheese trolley as the perfect finale to supper here. THE STORY The K Club has hosted both the Ryder Cup and the Irish Open in recent years, so the world’s best golfers have all wined and dined at The Barton. George W Bush has dined there too, as have One Direction, the Spice Girls, Justin Timberlake, and even Ozzy Osbourne. The K Club, Straffan, Co Kildare, 01 601 7200; www.kclub.ie.
THE ROOM Step inside from Dublin’s Crow Street and you’ll find the dining room at Rosa Madre suffused with pretty ambient light. This restaurant is as appealing as a Roman trattoria thanks in part to its effusive host, Roman native, Luca Di Marzio. Those in the know request Table One, with its views of the kitchen and the entire restaurant. ON THE PLATE Regulars go for the lavish seafood platter of caviar, oysters, squid and baked scallops – and that’s just for starters. A speciality is fresh calamari and prawns served with spicy spinach. Pasta lovers should try the Lobster Tonnarelli or Ravioli al Tartufo. THE STORY Michael Fassbender and wife Alicia Vikander, Will Farrell and Metallica have all dined at Rosa Madre. Dave Grohl and Nate Mendel of the Foo Fighters have sampled the wines from Luca’s famous cellar. A prerequisite for those ordering champagne is to “sabre” it at the table. You have been warned! Rosa Madre, 7 Crow Street, Dublin 2, 01 551 1206; www.rosamadre.ie.
THE ROOM This basement restaurant in a former bank vault (dating from the 1760s) has a jazz club feel with red leather banquettes, dim lighting and striking murals, channelling Brasserie Lipp in Paris. ON THE PLATE Classic Mediterranean brasserie fare with some interesting twists. Dublin Bay Prawn scampi is a staple; Chicken Milanese with garlic and herb butter, rocket and parmesan salad and fried capers, served with duck fat roasted potatoes, is my go-to comfort food dish of dreams. Leave room for a chocolate fondant. THE STORY When Peploe’s opened its doors in 2003 (it is named after the post-Impressionist artist Samuel Peploe) owner Barry Canny was determined to give jaded Dublin diners a restaurant in the grand brasserie tradition. Since then, Peploe’s has been THE place for a sneaky midweek lunch, a family celebration or a raucous Saturday night get-together. Golfing greats Jordan Speith and Padraig Harrington, footballer Robbie Keane and local hero Larry Mullen have all dined there, but there’s almost always someone at a table nearby. That’s the fun thing about Peploe’s. Do be discreet when rubbernecking! Peploes, 16 St Stephens Green, Dublin 2, 01 676 3144; www.peploes.com.
RESTAURANT PATRICK GUILBAUD
THE ROOM In the elegant surroundings of The Merrion Hotel, this two Michelin-star restaurant is a tranquil space, with beautiful Irish art, pristine table linens and acres of space between tables. ON THE PLATE Sophisticated classic French cuisine, immaculately presented. The lunch menu changes daily. Expect dishes such as Ravioli of Blue Lobster, or Comté soufflé with champagne, quince and hazelnuts. Dinner guests can choose from an à la carte or a tasting menu. THE STORY The restaurant’s impeccable credentials as one of Ireland’s best dining experiences mean that celebrities, local and international, make a beeline for RPG. Bono is a regular. Dining at a long table in the candlelit private room on a winter’s afternoon is an enchanting experience. Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, 21 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, 01 676 4192; www.restaurantpatrickguilbaud.ie.