Dublin Restaurants

Brasserie Sixty6

Located in the heart of Dublin’s busy centre, Brasserie Sixty6 is easy to walk by, but you probably don’t want to miss the food they have on offer. The dining area is large, but it’s worth booking on a weekend as I suspect they get busy. It’s the sort of place where they call or text you to confirm your reservation. I’ll let the food speak for itself.

66-67 S Great George’s St Dublin 2, Ireland
+353 1 400 5878

The Waterloo Bar and Grill

Short listed for one of the best Gastro pub’s in Dublin, you can tell they are trying hard to get things right with a decent cocktail menu, an interesting looking menu and a special of the day. The food is well executed, the drinks spot on and my only complaint was the low level of lighting (making photos even with my fast lens pretty tough).

36 Baggot Street Upper Dublin 4, Ireland
+353 1 660 0650


Another Ranleigh restaurant that is bringing the touch of New York to the Irish shores. The owners of this place have at least another place around town, and both are considered popular options. Although we came here for dinner, I read about how popular their brunch is on weekends. I opted for the ribs which, though soft, weren’t really the best that I’ve had (tasted a bit more boiled than grilled).

47 Ranelagh Dublin, Co. Dublin City, Ireland
+353 1 497 8010

The Chop House

A bustling Irish steak place that has a great location with a naturally lit dining area akin to sitting inside a greenhouse – perfect for an early dinner to catch the sunset. They had a decent selection of wines (as you would expect from a steakhouse) and they do an amazing set of changing bread (Guinness and a curry + chutney one on the day that I visited). The steak arrived perfectly cooked – it was pink on the inside and well rested so it remained very juicy on the inside. Steaks arrive with a couple of sides (cooked mushrooms, tomatoes) but I’d recommend ordering some salad or green vegetables as it was all very brown.

2 Shelbourne Rd Dublin 4, Ireland
+353 1 660 2390

FX Buckley

Another steak place, this time apparently part owned by one of the Irish national rugby players. Knowing that they would probably like steaks, we were not disappointed. They have several around town, but we visited the one on Pembroke Street, tucked away in a little courtyard.

The restaurant is certainly fitting for a steak restaurant – a wood panelled wall and dark green tiles on the other that reminded us part of being in a butchery. The restaurant doesn’t appear very large, so I would recommend booking. They had a strange 1:45 turn around on tables, instead of the usual 2.

They certainly know how to cook their steak, and is accompanied by a single side. You can order more for an additional €4 surcharge. Good service, topping up water and a nice experience

1 Lower Pembroke Street Dublin, Ireland
+353 1 676 4606

Hawksmoor Air Street

Out of the great steak places in London, Hawksmoor is one of those that are consistently good and although, not cheap, is great value for the quality of the food and the service you get. We had a dinner booking at Hawksmoor Air Street, one of the latest expansions of the steak restaurant located near the bottom of Piccadilly. It’s outfitted with a larger number of booths, polished floors and significantly more suited customers to go along with it all. I can only imagine their city outlet would compete with them on this. Nevertheless the food did not disappoint as you can see in the photos below.

Name: Hawksmoor Air Street
Website: http://thehawksmoor.com/airstreet
Found at: 5a Air St London W1J 0AD

Hawksmoor Guildhall

I think I may have eaten at all the Hawksmoor locations now, after having dinner with my sister at the Hawksmoor City branch. Also open for breakfast and suprisingly close to where I live, it’s a tempting offer since it’s only about a ten or fifteen minute walk. I’d really have to do something to both work up an appetite for the meat-heavy plate and also do something to work it all off.

I agreed that I’d meet my sister for dinner after going to the gym, knowing how rich and decadent the Hawksmoor meals could be and how I can’t really stop myself from ordering. It’s one of the most consistently great places I trust for a good steak even if it’s sometimes hard to get a booking.

On a Friday night, the Hawksmoor Guildhall branch was buzzing. It was one of those strange days where it was raining particularly heavy outside. I’m glad I was able to leave my soaking wet umbrella upstairs in the cloakroom before descending downstairs. I’m met by I’m guessing the head maitre-de who was fantastically friendly, striking up a conversation instead of simply leading me to my table.

Fortunately I booked and I didn’t have to wait for my table, with my sister joining about five minutes later. The classic Hawksmoor elements are there. A warming bar for those waiting for tables or who failed to reserve a table. Dark wooden tables, an underground cavern feel and the buzzing nature of a busy steakhouse.

One thing that stood out for me in this particular Hawksmoor location (and it wasn’t just me as my sister commented on it too) was how extremely noisy it was. We fortunately had a table against the wall at the back of the dining room, with a wide view of the entire restuarant. However, maybe it’s a city thing, particularly on a Friday when too many city workers had already had a few and there were notably a lot more shrieks and group “chants” than I’ve ever heard anywhere. It made me feel like I was attending a football match than I was dinner.

Like most of the Hawksmoor restaurants, their waiters and waitresses are friendly. We had a particularly warm Spanish (I think) waitress who took care of us for the evening. She refilled our tap water without hesitation, and observed when the bread that I ordered hadn’t arrived when the appetiser we ordered had, asked if we still wanted it.

We went a bit lighter on ordering, sharing a starter (the Tamworth Belly ribs are to die for and significantly larger than normal portion), skipping dessert and just opting for a good steak with some nice sides Perfectly cooked medium-rare steak arrived for me and went down a treat with the umami-rich mushrooms, creamed spinach and the wonderfully executed fries. No disappointments there.

My sister asked if she could order something off the bar menu, and not feeling like a steak opted for the beef brisket sandwich served in a toasted brioche bun with bone marrow sauce. Considering how rich, tasty and large it was, it is a really good deal for the price we paid.

Chicago’s Stetson’s Steakhouse

As part of the working week we had a group, my company organised for a dinner in the hotel we were staying at. The result was a dinner at the surprisingly inventive Stetson’s Steak house. We had the private dining room booked and they had a fixed menu for us with a number of alternatives to choose from. We also had two types of wines, but taking the chance, I asked for a glass of Zinfandel instead (which I got and enjoyed very thoroughly).

Our first cocktail was an inventive shrimp cocktail with shrimps almost appearing mutant size – they were really that big. It come straddled across a fresh tomato sauce with a background of wasabi kick and cleverly kept cold through some dry ice in the bottom container. Spectacular to look at and a very great combination to start with.

I opted for the lobster bisque that was a very good bowl of soup indeed. Nothing very surprising here but an extremely enjoyable bowl with lots of flavour.

They brought around tiny coronets of lemon sorbet to cleanse our palettes for the oncoming main menu. I wasn’t expecting this and was delighted by the zesty citrus flavours.

I ordered a 400g steak that arrived with a lovely BBQ sauce and they brought around a number of sides to go along with it including some onion rings, asparagus.

I had to try the mac and cheese as well though there was already a lot of food. The steak was perfectly cooked to medium rare and it was very deliciously juicy and meaty.

The cheese course arrived looking grand with an interesting assortment of prunes, fruit and honeycomb as well as some toasted bread to eat the cheese.

Dessert arrived in the form of a platter with tiny cakes and chocolate dipped strawberries. Too much decadence here but I couldn’t resist trying some of the cakes and blueberries.

I really enjoyed the dinner. Although I don’t know how much the dinner overall cost, looking at their website, the US$100 seemed reasonable for the sheer number of courses that arrived and the quality of the food. It’s definitely not an every day sort of place to eat. Or at least, not to do the tasting menu every day of the week but would definitely head back to have a steak there.

Name: Stetson’s
Found at: In the Hyatt on Wacker (151 East Wacker Drive Chicago, IL 60601, United States)
Website: http://www.hyatt.com/gallery/stetson/index.html

The Good (and not so Good) at Goodman’s

I’d heard a lot of great things about Goodman’s. It’s one of the two steak groups in that competes for the “best steak” places in London, at least according to a number of foodies. Last year, we had our Christmas gathering at Hawksmoor last year and opted to try Goodman’s this year instead.

We had a reservation for 8:30pm but decided to meet up for a drink at Aqua first. To call that place heaving would have been an understatement with the bar full of very beautiful people, and many others simply preening themselves. It passed 8pm and we decided to try for a drink at the bar at Goodman’s rather than another one at Aqua. We arrived early. Just after 8pm and, as expected, were told that our table wasn’t yet ready. We didn’t really mind this, as we figured we were a bit early, but looking back, we really should have simply had another drink at Aqua because the bar area isn’t particularly suited for waiting, filled with other guests dining at the counter.

Time passed and at 8:30pm, one of our party decided to ask if our table was ready. The maitre de assured us that the party occupying our table was simply paying and that we would have our table after five more minutes. Five minutes passed and nothing. So we waited five minutes more before deciding to ask again. One of my dining companions asked the maitre de again who repeated back exactly the same statement, “five more minutes.” We were seated at 8:50pm. He was not impressed.

Finally getting seated (after having a reservation!), we were starting to get a bit hungry. I’m pleased that bread was placed on the table, shortly after all the menus made their way down. Soft, creamy salted butter and slightly warm rolls made good partners to tame the building hunger. Our waitress, a friendly lady, told us about the various cuts on offer and took our orders of the steak, sides and wine. A pleasant and efficient experience that would prove not to last the rest of the night.

Being with a group of Italians, we all ended up ordering the Burrata. I’d never had this rich dish before (mozzarella mixed with cream). Served with crispy chorizo, small tomatoes and a small bit of crispy sourdough (£12), I was very impressed with this dish. Unfortunately my dining partners (and I) were less impressed that we had to ask for our wine after the round of appetizers sat at our table for a while.

We finished our decadent, delicious starter with the plates sitting there for a good twenty minutes before they were taken away. Fair enough they were busy but for 12.5% service, I expect much better.

Like other, well regarded restaurants, Goodman’s have their won steak knives.

Our waitress came up to us, just before all the food arrived, apologising she hadn’t asked if we wanted any sauces. We ordered some (stilton, pepper, and bernaise) but by then all of our food arrived. It was an impressive collection of food. The four of us split a 1kg steak (Scottish grass fed only!) (£120), and unlike last year’s Hawksmoor experience, this one had been cooked perfectly. Pink and juicy, charred on the outside. Given all the sides we’d ordered, it was a good thing we didn’t order bigger steaks.

The downside was when the maitre de arrived ten minutes later, asking us how everything was going and still those sauces had not yet arrived.

Fortunately the side dishes were pretty good, worth tucking into while we waited. Above is the creamed spinach with blue cheese (£4.50).

And a delicious truffle mac and cheese (£4), though being italians and disliked pasta being treated this way, only one of my companions was tempted to try it. I found it delicious though. Eventually our sauces arrived and everything was rather complete. The steak was excellent – juicy and smoky, and did just the job.

Our dessert menu arrived, and though full, convinced ourselves rather quickly that it was worth trying some of the dessert menu. Well, we would have if someone came to took our order. It was a good half hour before our waitress returned to take our order. On top of that, our water bottle had been taken away, and not refilled during this time.

I went for the calorie dense, Brownie sundae (£6.50) (minus the whipped cream). Chunky and delicious.

A couple of of the creme brulees (£6.50) were ordered. Pretty good reports on this.

And finally a cheesecake (£6.50), also apparently very well made.

Overall I have to say that the food was definitely very good, but our experience of the evening was tainted by far too many incidents. When the bill arrived, we informed our waitress that we weren’t going to pay the service. Interestingly, her reaction was first to ask what was wrong, and then after explaining the events of the evening, said that she had to go to the manager to get her to “take the amount off the bill”. This was fascinating, because for us, the bill already showed the amount that needed paying without service. We waited, another ten minutes for the manager to return.

At the point of the evening (almost midnight and after some very nice wine and dessert wine), I can’t really remember if we had to re-explain our circumstances. She came back and said that she took off a round of drinks apologising for the service. We explained back that it wasn’t necessary, and all we really wanted to do was to not pay the service, but she insisted.

Would I come back? Given the quality of the food I think I would. Service is a funny thing, variable on lots of different factors. They did a good job to redeem themselves, and just hope that they actually took the feedback on board, rather than simply not pass it on to our waitress.

Name: Goodman Steak Restaurant
Website: http://www.goodmanrestaurants.com/
Found at: 24-26 Maddox Street, W1S 1QH


One of the many restaurants, on my ever-growing list of places to eat in Berlin was Neu. Selected by Michelin for their Bib Gourmand award, meaning a place with good value, I finally got to try it one evening I was in Berlin. My first attempt failed by attempting to go eat there on an evening they were shut, we walked down through the courtyard, fingers crossed that they would be open.

Surprisingly, they weren’t particularly busy on the evening we went. Admittedly I think it was a fairly dinner by Berlin standards, around 7pm and about one third of the dining tables had been filled by the time we ate and left. Neu’s interior reminded my a lot of Alpenstueck – clean white lines and very modern furnishings. The food soon to follow would reflect that.

My dining companion was in a bit of a rush, so we skipped starters and both succumbed to the tempting steak on the menu. Although we were surprised when an amuse bouche arrived at the table. I can’t remember all the details exactly, however I believe it was a light tomato mousse, served with a crisp bread and freshly chopped tomatoes. Despite being worried about the tartness the tomatoes might have – after all, we weren’t in Italy or Spain of all places, each bite brought a bit of surprise with plenty of flavour and sweetness throughout.

I heartily approve of all of their bread selections. Served with your typical mayonnaise side dressing (people don’t seem to like butter as much here), we had two or three different fresh breads to choose from. Delicious!

Our steak finally arrived, and what a huge dish it proved to be. The steak sat atop a crunchy piece of sourdough bread, smothered with a salty goats cheese layer, topped with a lavish and generously dressed salad and a couple of poached tomatoes on the side. Although slightly fatty, my steak had been perfectly cooked to my rare request and literally melted in my mouth. Let’s just say it didn’t last long.

I really want to come back here and try all the different courses they have to offer. Although not an extensive dinner offering, everything we had they executed perfectly well. I’ll also have to come back here for the breakfast/brunches they do on the weekends.

Name: Cafe Restaurant Neu
Website: http://www.restaurant-neu.de/
Found at: In den Heckmannhöfen, II. Innenhof , Oranienburger Str. 32, 10117 Berlin

Hawksmoor Covent Garden

Any good foodie will know about Hawksmoor. Apparently it and Goodman’s are the biggest contenders for great steak restaurants in London. Don’t get go near any of those Aberdeen Angus Steakhouses, and don’t get me started on the terrible value of the Gaucho chain.

The good Italian family and I (in the role of honorary family member) arranged for a Christmas gathering at the second and newest location of Hawksmoor in Covent Garden. As much as they call themselves on the seven dials, it really doesn’t qualify. I looked forward to the evening since I’d heard so much about it and I’ve always enjoyed my steaks when dining at their Commercial Street location even despite the infamy of their Kim Chi Burger.

With a booking a 9pm, we decided to meet a little bit earlier. Unbeknownst to many people this location actually has a reasonably sized bar where you can even book a table to dine on. The bar was certainly busy when I sat down just after 7pm. Every table seemed busy though cleared down as the night went on. Their cocktail list seemed pretty exhaustive with plenty of inventive drinks and many pages to flip through.

Sitting in the bar area, everything is table service though unfortunately it took me about twenty minutes before I managed to order my first drink. A shame considering I sat in front of the maitre de with numerous waiters zooming between the bar and the dining room (pictured above in a poor iPhone-quality photo). On the plus side, I tweeted about it to the @HawksmoorLondon twitter who pleasingly responded (more on that later).

Our time for dinner finally arrived and quite famished from the waiting happily ordered after perusing the menu. Toni got the 6 Cumbrae Oysters (£10) (pictured above) whilst both Luca and I choose the ribs (pictured below). I’m happy to report the soft succulent flesh of the pig remained juicy and tender with plenty of flavour from the sauce covered around it. Don’t expect an American-style BBQ ribs – on the menu, they’re called Tamworth Belly Ribs (£9) so they are a bit more fatty than expected. It’s all worth it for the flavour though. Though happy with that dish, if I returned I’d try the Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint & Caper Salad £10) since I read many reviews.

Three of us decided to share one of the 900gram porterhouse steaks since we wanted something more juicy, although Marco decided to go solo on his 300g fillet (£30). Ordering it for medium-rare, we expected pink, juicy slices served on the tiny skillets. Unfortunately what arrived was a much more medium to well done steak. We noticed it only after grabbing a small slice and went to tell our waiter about the terrible fate this Ginger Pig-sourced piece found. We flagged the maitre de with our waiter nowhere to be seen, and with a single look, agreed with our observation before immediately sending back for another one. The second time around, we got a much better looking piece of meat, although they kindly let us keep the previous one. I forgot to take any pictures of this in action.

Fortunately all of the sides lived up to my expectations including this deliciously soft and creamy Mac and Cheese (£4) that arrives in its own little cast iron pot.

The beef dripping chips (£4), though really, really bad for you tasted amazing. Nice, crisp and full of flavour.

A couple of us also went for dessert. Here’s my decadent cornflake mini-sundae (£4) that worked to finish me off for the evening.

We finished off the evening with a round of whiskey (mmm, smoky Laphroaig £10.50) and an espresso (£3). The maitre de delivered the drinks and told us he would get them on the house apologising for the meal stuff up and the twenty minute wait earlier in the evening. Well done on Will from Hawksmoor for sending someone across.

Unfortunately the third strike arrived when we hit our bill and I scanned it to make sure it looked correct and found two desserts added that we never really had. Even though it didn’t have a huge impact to our bill because of the amount of food and drink we had, I found it particularly annoying to notice these two items slip in. Pointing it out to our waiter, he apologised acknowledging those dishes were for the table next to us.

I really wanted to love my Hawksmoor experience. I wanted great food, great service (which the 12.5% really did not warrant that night) with great ambiance yet they faltered a few too many times. Customer service did well to make up for a number of misgivings yet it concerns me that restaurants of such fame have these fundamental problems. Oh, and did I mention it’s not on the Seven Dials as much as they claim all over their website, it’s down Langely Street near the famous Pineapple Dance Studios.

Name: Hawksmoor Covent Garden
Found at: 11 Langley St, London, WC2H 9JG
Website: http://www.thehawksmoor.co.uk/sd.php

A La Cruz

There are quite a number of Brazilian grills around London yet not as many of Argentinian ones around. My last time was eating at Buen Ayre several years ago up in Broadway Market. I noticed around the back of Exmouth Market one quite close to where I live that I finally got around to eating at.

When you walk into the restaurant, you notice a slight smoke in the air. This comes from the magnificent Asador or fire pit where you can see a number of meats roasting. We dined there early on during the week so they probably are used to roasting many more meats. It’s definitely an impressive sight to see.

Upon ordering, we got served some nice soft bread. Instead of butter however, we got aioli to spread across the bread. I have no idea if this is a common thing or not, but it tasted pretty good.

We also ordered the mixed empanadas to start with. It’s a bit hard not to enough pastries filled with assorted mixtures.

Here’s the picture of the spinach empanada above. I think the Caprese one was my favourite out of the three that we had. The ham and cheese one tasted strangely like a mini calzone.

We decided to go with for the A La Cruz Tradiciona Parrilladas at a very reasonable cost of £21 per person without the sweet breads. It comes with a whole heap of meat. In fact, there was so much meat that it would have been much more than what I think I’d eat during an entire week. It arrived with boneless flank, pork sausages, black pudding, chistorra, lamb and some other beef cuts. So. Much. Meat. I walked out with a food coma. Fortunately it was all really tasty and well seasoned that it didn’t really need anything else to go with it.

Not anticipating the amount of meat, we also ordered a side of chips (super crisp, fluffy and covered with garlic and parsley) and a side salad of rocket and Parmesan for some greens. Service was okay although our tap water remained unfilled for quite some time and we waited for sometime to flag a staff for the bill (when there were only four tables seated).

Would I return? Yes if I was in dire need of a protein injection. Could I eat that much meat again? Not this year.

Name: A La Cruz
Found at: 42 Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HU
Website: http://www.alacruz.com/


When Wes and Stacey came down from Aberdeen they wanted to go to a place that did a really good steak and Hawksmoor was my immediate answer to their request. We had a booking for 7pm and they warmly greeted us at the door, taking us to our table.

I’ll admit we took our time ordering although party of that was because our waitress didn’t seem to be around by the time that we’d decided. I ordered the smoked eel as a starter which went really well with the greens. The piece of fish was also a really decent size and slightly warmed enhancing its smoked flesh.

Although easily tempted by the fame of their burger, we were here for steak. I didn’t want to go too large, so avoided the gigantic proportions offered on their chalk board and ended up ordering 400g fillet. This still ended up being a really large piece of meat and given all the delicious sides, made me not want to have desserts.

I didn’t think service was really that great throughout the night. I ordered an apertif and it didn’t arrive until half way into my appetiser. Kristy also ordered some ginger beer, and there ended up two ants floating in it (who knows why). They did make this up by giving us a free dessert – their deliciously sweet cornflake ice cream.

Name: The Hawksmoor
Found at: 157 Commercial Street E1 6BJ, United Kingdom
Website: http://www.thehawksmoor.co.uk/

Regatta Boatshed

The Regatta is a bit of a Brisbane institute – it used to literally be an old boat shed until it got turned into a pub and became a regular scene for the UQ crowd of students. When I lived in Brisbane, it underwent a renovation and turned the outdoor boatshed into a more upmarket steakhouse with the rest of the venue a bit more of a nicer pub. I caught up with some new and old workmates working in Brisbane where we had a couple of drinks before settling in for dinner.

What’s really nice about the place is that the CityCat (think Brisbane river public transport) now drops you off literally right in front of it. This is definitely the best way of getting to the Regatta from the city if you’re not in a rush.

The menu actually provides a lot of choice but I think their best dishes are the fish or the steak. Despite having steak for lunch that day (another post to come) I couldn’t resist ordering one of their nice Australian grass-fed steaks. The picture above (click it for a larger picture) is the 300g eye fillet ($39.50) that also includes a number of sides (mine with salad, steak fries and bernaise sauce).

Service was a little on the slow side although they did well we turned up with 18 hungry mouths without a booking and they still managed to seat us (barely) and serve us drinks. The steak (cooked medium rare) was wonderfully juicy with that delicious char on the outside. The bernaise sauce, a little bit on the thicker side than I’d like but served with the super fresh crisp salad and perfectly cooked steak fries went down a treat.

As you can see we didn’t have any problems with the venue, although I was surprised by how quiet it was for a Thursday night around this area. You can see us being one of the last ones to leave (photo taken sometime around midnight) – they turn down the lights and start rolling up the boatshed doors.

Name: The Boatshed @ Regatta Hotel
Website: http://www.regattahotel.com.au/
Address: 543 Coronation Drive Toowong QLD 4064, Australia