Whatever your budget, Dublin can show you a good time.
In this except from olive magazine (Aug 2010), Tom Doorley (writer, broadcaster, Irish Daily Mail's restaurant critic) shares his recommendations on where to go for a bargain and where to go to splash out.
Combine a visit to the Chester Beatty Library with lunch at its self-service but brilliant Silk Road Café. It has good coffee and superb Middle Eastern food.
Pichet is Dublin's busiest bistro. Chef Stephen Gibson earned a Michelin star at L'Ecrivain and manager Nick Munier will be familiar from Hell's Kitchen. Their two-course lunch special, with dishes such as daube of beef, ox tongue, mushrooms à la grecque and horseradish mash, is among the best value in town.
Kevin Thornton is arguably cooking the greatest food in Ireland at the moment. There are two lunch specials, including dishes such as guinea fowl with Savoy cabbage, carrot purée and tarragon cream.
Understated style and unfussy, modern cooking has made Camden Kitchen an instant hit with Dubliners, particularly the Portobello locals. Seasonal dishes such as sole on the bone with crushed potatoes and hollandaise is well worth a try.
Juniors is one of the smallest and busiest restaurants in the city. Tables are so close together that friendships are struck up and parties just happen over fun food but serious cooking, such as clam linguini, and veal with broad beans and girolles, €24.
Michelin-starred L'Ecrivain is right back on form. Derry Clarke's meticulous food, such as confit rabbit, chicken liver parfait, egg and caper dressing, is as good to look at as it is to eat. Handy pre-theatre menu available.
If you want to experience a Dublin pub that has not changed in its essentials for a century, head for no-frills Mulligan's – tons of atmosphere, gossip and one of the best pints of Guinness to be had anywhere.
Unlike at Mulligan's, there are precious few media types and politicians at Walshes. This is a proper, traditional neighbourhood boozer tucked away in a quiet and atmospheric part of the inner city. (6, Stonyebatter, Dublin 7; no number or website)
The Bar With No Name is so called because it's true. You'll recognise the doorway by the wooden snail above it. Cool lighting, excellent cocktails and a smoking area make it a favourite of those in the know. (3 Fade St, Dublin 2)
On the Grand Canal, near Baggot St Bridge in leafy, elegant D4, the Mespil Hotel has bright, spacious, affordable rooms.
The Grafton Guesthouse is in a rambling Victorian building in the heart of the city and has particularly good breakfasts, served in the affiliated award-winning L'Gueuleton restaurant – and it's just a short walk from The Bar With No Name.
The Radisson Blu Hotel at St Helen's, just three miles south of the city centre, is located in a stunning Georgian house set among terraced gardens.
Visit Cake Café for its wildly eclectic, mismatched crockery and brilliant home baking. The lemon slice is the stuff of dreams.
Dublin's top tourist attraction is, not surprisingly, the Guinness Storehouse, a towering interpretative centre (constructed in the shape of a pint of the black stuff) dedicated to the alternative national symbol. End your tour with a pint in the stunning and very lofty Gravity Bar with its 360-degree views of the city.
The Celtic Whiskey Shop just off St Stephen's Green has a vast range of fine spirits, including the immensely rare Mitchell and Son's Greenspot Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey, and offers in-store whiskey tastings.
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