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  • 4.0 star rating
    13/6/2014
    1 check-in here

    Mel G & I were in Dublin on travels, and we came here on the recommendation from 2 people, and the menu looked pretty damn good! We arrived before 7pm to make sure we had enough time to get their dinner special - we just had to make sure we vacated the table by 8pm.

    Their special menu gave you a choice between a few starters and entrees for €26.  I ended up going for the deep fried monk cheeks w/ brownshrimp tartar sauce, and the bacon chop.  The monk cheeks were just delicious!!  I really liked their tartar sauce, it seemed like it was more pickle / shrimpy goodness, and much less on the sauce.  I could eat it like a salad on its own!  Seems like a failproof dish!

    I was warned that the bacon chop is a lot of salty meat, but I wanted to give it a go anyway.  It was literally, one big slab of meaty bacon - but holy cow, it was delicious.  The meat was so incredibly tender, and yes it tasted like your standard smokey bacon (and who doesn't love bacon?!), but it was a different type of smoke.  Hard to describe, but i was so glad I ordered that monster.  People were a bit surprised that I finished it, but it was delicious.  

    Anyway, I really loved the food here, and was very happy with their pre-theater menu!

  • 5.0 star rating
    12/5/2014

    Wonderful spot for Sunday brunch!

    We walked in and enjoyed sparkling wine with smoked salmon over potato waffles.  Fantastic!

    There's a wide open dining space and windows overlooking the river which also lets in some great natural light. However we sat just to the right of the bar/counter area and enjoyed that it was a bit quieter.

    This is good Irish food with a rustic flare.  For 25 Euro, I had a big pile of smoked salmon over the waffles with lots of fixins', a glass of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine), and a cup of coffee.  This was well worth the price tag.

    I have found that it's a good idea to make a reservation for dinner as this spot is hugely popular.  But, it was nice to walk in - on a whim - for brunch and enjoy this gem.

    On another note, if you like chowder, this one is a must try! It's a meal in itself!

    Bookshop of the same name  is on the street level - but just head up the winding staircase and find yourself enlightened on another level!

  • 5.0 star rating
    28/2/2014
    1 check-in here

    Gorgeous decor and okay...I cheated I read the yelp reviews before going to the restaurant and trying it for myself. Therefore, I must agree with the rest of the reviews that the Butter + Bread pudding is to die for! No joke, it orgasmic and you have to take turns watching everyone a your table try a piece. Just watch each face expression its that good!

    I also messed up by not ordering the HUGE bowl of mussels I saw come out of the kitchen.
    Someone try it! Tell us how it goes.

  • 5.0 star rating
    11/6/2014

    Wonderful place. We went there last week and it was a fantastic place for Saturday Brunch.
    I had Fermanagh Black Pig sticky ribs  and it was awsone. My husband enjoyed a  delicious beef rib-eye. We will be back. The best irish meal I have had in Dublin!

  • 4.0 star rating
    7/7/2014

    I had a really nice saturday brunch in the Winding Stair. The fish platter was to die for and it was perfect with my spicy bloody mary ( so good, I had to order another). The rib-eye was good but a bit too fatty for me but a very generous portion. I had such a great time and the attention to detail by the waiters made the meal even more enjoyable. I would definitely recommend it and i'm excited for my next brunch there.

  • 4.0 star rating
    23/6/2014 Updated review

    An early lunch in the Winding Stair and I am entirely more sold on it than the bustle and noise of an evening meal there. It's relaxed, airy and the setting as beautiful as ever, especially on a summer day in the city. I had a most delicious salad, a mix of feta, broad bean, chicory and some other things I can't remember but wish I'd taken note of, and its light deliciousness made it a welcome relief from what remains quite a wintry menu in general. It was so crisp and fresh and flavorsome that I will be thinking about why I didn't take note of the full ingredients for some time to come (the waiter told me that if he told me he'd have to kill me, which I considered, but I felt on balance that would be counter productive if I hadn't had a chance to make it at least once beforehand). Didn't get to sample the wine this time but a light lunch like this with a glass o super chilled white wine would be my idea of summer's day heaven, and it's not unreasonable for the level of food you get here. A little more summer on the menu would be welcome too.

    3.0 star rating
    21/7/2013 Previous review
    If it was down to view from the window alone, the Winding Stair would get the full-star rating, as… Read more
  • 4.0 star rating
    24/1/2014

    We got a recommendation for the Winding Stairs from the nice people at Etto. So glad we went. My fiance had the poached eggs with salmon and I had the salmon breakfast.

    First the poached eggs were cooked perfectly. Seriously, I don't think I've ever seen better looking eggs. Second, my salmon was wonderful.

    The staff was lovely and attentive. It was fun seeing families there and the customers interaction with the staff.

    Try to grab a seat by the window because the view of the Liffey is worth going alone.

  • 5.0 star rating
    20/5/2014

    Fantastic little place with a beautiful view of the river. The food was excellent and freshly prepared. We enjoyed a smoked meat appetizer, the seafood special and the lamb entrees, along with bread butter pudding and coffee. All of the food choices were delicious and the service was great as well.  I would highly recommend a visit. The place is cozy so a reservation is recommended. The best Irish meal we have had in Dublin!

  • 3.0 star rating
    31/1/2014

    Decent Option.

    This place was pretty good. The charcuterie plate was pretty awesome to start. I got a breaded chicken with duck fat potato and kale meal and it was pretty good - the chicken was great, but the potatoes were not fully cooked - which was disappointing.

    Service was good. Atmosphere was casual but nice.

  • 5.0 star rating
    10/12/2013

    Mm mmm mm m mmmmmmm.

    I went for three courses here, which was a mistake I was happy to make as I had to be rolled down the winding stairs like a barrel.  

    Ambiance - great, its a lovely homey little restaurant, cute, not over done.  

    Food - amazing.  I had the crab pot for a starter - as did three of us.  The tast was fantastic, and I love butter, so the presentation didn't bother me, but some of my dining guests were a little put off by the pot of crab being sealed by a layer of butter - The idea being you spread butter on brown bread and top with crab - the taste amazing, the presentation could use a little work as the butter cap can be off putting to some.  

    For my main I had venison cushion with pumpkin and potato mash.  The venison was cooked perfectly, bright pink almost red (on medium rare order) inside.  Delicate without being too gamey or chewy.  Really fantastic sauce on the side.  I thought the mash could have a higher pumpkin to potato ratio, but now I'm being picky.

    Other diners had the Christmas turkey special, which was very tatsty, the stead with chips - which was juicy and delicious, and the smoked haddock, which had a lovely smokey flavour and flaky consistency.  

    Desserts we shared the rice pudding and the bread and butter pudding - both yummy, I ordered the rice pudding, but may have to put my vote with the bread and butter pudding.

    Would definitely go back as pretty much everything I put in my mouth I liked.

  • 5.0 star rating
    12/11/2013

    The night I went to Winding Stair, I suffered a seafood coma and I loved it.  We booked a reservation a week before (make sure you do, as you probably won't get a table the day of).

    Walking up the winding stairs into the cozy riverside interior, I really felt like I could drink and eat all night in here.

    We had the seafood chowder (£11) which was chock full of mussels and fish and came with Irish soda bread.  This could have been a standalone meal, it was that filling and delicious.  We also had the crab claw, avocado, grapefruit salad on toast (£13), odd but lovely combination of buttered crab, veg and fruit.

    We should have stopped at this, but we ordered the venison (£26) and mussels and clams (£24), all of which we couldn't finish because we were so full from starters.  The venison was tenderly cooked and placed over simple, roasted veg, and the mussels and clams came with a crab mayo toast.  I'm salivating. Stop me.

  • 3.0 star rating
    2/8/2013
    1 check-in here

    As a foodie myself, I have a disproportionate number of foodie friends, some of whom are from Europe. Several of these folks told me that I HAD to visit The Winding Stair or else face their wrath, which likely would've included being beaten with hard salamis (and not in a good/sexual way, either).

    So I made it a point to go to The Winding Stair for brunch on the Saturday of the Dublin gay pride parade. I didn't have a reservation but it didn't seem to particularly matter as there were plenty of seats open (I arrived perhaps 20 minutes after opening).

    I wish I had better news to report, but I was served what I would consider a very average plate of Eggs Hemingway (which I did not order--I asked for a smoked salmon platter, so the presence of a muffin, not to mention Hollandaise, surprised me). I was checked on exactly one time, and was largely ignored otherwise.

    I don't wish to disparage or pan the restaurant, as I suspect its dinner service is decidedly better, but based on brunch alone, I cannot recommend the spot.

  • 3.0 star rating
    1/4/2014

    My family and I ate here our last night in Dublin. I was looking forward to a good meal after all the reviews but it was a letdown. Our meal was just okay, nothing special. Three of us ordered the beef strip-loin steak and it had a weird taste. The meat was okay but the sticky onions flavor did not seem to pair with the steak. We were disappointed since we were looking for a good dinner on our last night.

  • 5.0 star rating
    20/8/2013

    Winding Stair was one of the best restaurants we went to in Ireland. It attracts both locals and tourists who want good Irish ingredients but who don't want yet another plate of fish and chips.

    The menu has fresh, local ingredients that are prepared in simple ways. Some standouts were the cockles and mussels, smoked fish plate, and heirloom tomato salad. Lots of dining options outside of the typical meat and potatoes you get everywhere in Ireland.

    The restaurant is small, but very cosy and you feel like you are in a friend's living room. Service is fantastic. Make reservations because it fills up quickly.

  • 5.0 star rating
    12/6/2013
    1 check-in here

    Hopefully this yelp review will help you if you're wandering around after a Jameson tour wondering where to go eat (because thats how I found this place).

    So there really air winding stairs going up to it. There is indeed a reason for the name.

    I got the Nutty crumbed Corleggy Halloumi with  nectarine and green peppercorn chutney and something else with cheese on top (sorry I can't help you further). All I know it is was AMAZING! If you sit by the window, you get a great view of Dublin and the river.

    The staff is nice, the food is brilliant and the wine great. I highly recommend winding through!

  • 5.0 star rating
    29/6/2013
    1 check-in here
    Listed in Dublin Favorites

    We were looking for a good Irish breakfast place away from the noise of the street, but with an authentic atmosphere an good food. Just dumb luck that we spotted this place on the second floor of a building just as we were crossing the Ha' penny pedestrian bridge on the River Liffey not far from O'Connell Street. The entrance is easy to miss, but it's just beside the bookshop with the same name.

    It has a relaxed casual atmosphere with friendly staff and some amazing food. I ordered the smoked salmon on a potato waffle and my wife ordered the sticky ribs which came with the best chips (fries).

    The orange juice was fresh squeezed and they have the uber professional coffee machine which cranked out some awesome brew. They can also make just about any other coffee concoction you would get at your favorite coffee house.

    For dessert we had the ginger cake with vanilla bean ice cream. It was covered with an intense ginger syrup that wasn't too sweet. Just amazing!

    If you are looking or something authentic and away from the typical rowdy options at street level, this is definitely worth trying.

  • 5.0 star rating
    17/4/2013
    1 check-in here

    This place is COOL. If it were in a city I lived in, I would frequent it as much as I could afford to.

    It was a bit tricky figuring out if they were open or not --it is not obvious from the outside of the building. Their chalk board had been wiped and wasn't on the sidewalk. You have to go up a flight of stairs to get in (super inaccessible if you have mobility issues) but it became very clear as soon as we opened up the door at the top of the stairs that they were open for business.

    It is very loud. If you do not like noisy restaurants, this is not the place for you.

    It is very crowded. If you are a very large person or claustrophobic, this is probably not the place for you.

    Who is it for? Wine snobs and foodies who like a boisterous setting. The service was great, the decor and ambience are welcoming but fancy at the same time, food was delicious, portions were large, location central...It isn't for everyone but it was certainly right up my alley.

  • 5.0 star rating
    16/1/2013

    What a wonderful place!

    I had my birthday dinner here, and it delivered on every aspect.  I started with a fish sampling plate that had two kinda of trout, gravlax, oyster pate and smoked scallops.  This was absolutely great - I normally hate oysters, but these smoked oysters were just amazing.  The same can be said for the scallops - they were as good as good gets.  My main was a flatbread with Irish riccotta-style cheese. This was wonderful as well.  I wanted the bread and butter pudding from the dessert menu, and was a little disappointed when I switched because the bread was very light.  I was soon relaxed, we shared desserts at the table and I think i tried everything EXCEPT the bread and butter pudding.  They were all tops.  This is a great little restaurant, but very busy!  Wonderful!

  • 3.0 star rating
    19/4/2010

    Lunched in the Winding Stair yesterday (Sun 19.04.10) since moving to Dublin a couple of years ago the right opportunity to try this place out had never arisen, always booked up or otherwise.

    In we went for lunch anyway, staff are fairly sound so no problem there, the waiter offered us a couple of seating options, the 1st by the window was sandwiched right in between two other tables, to be honest I don't think even the slim frame of my lady eating partner could've slinked through to take her seat. Screw that. We took a table a little close to the door. Then every time new custom entered we crossed our fingers hoping that they wouldn't be seated on our laps.

    They had 2 cheap menus something like €17 and €22 for 2 or 3 courses...not bad, but the options on the blackboard didn't appeal (crap options maybe driving people to the a la carte), in fact one did appeal out of about 12, that was the razor clams. However, I noted someone on the opposite side of the room with this dish and it seemed like max you would get on the plate would be 2. Went a la carte, Charcuterie board shared for starters then pork Wellington for the two of us...not a bad menu but that dish really appealed to both!

    The charcuterie board had what you would expect, decent to share...a little cheese alongside and we would've been laughing though.

    Pork was very nice, wrapped neatly and served with some spuds, mushrooms and pickled onions. Nice dish, bit weird with the pickled onions though, would've preferred roasted shallots or something, not really into the idea of pickled onions, seemingly straight from a jar landing on my €25 platter!

    Anyway, I liked the dish, herself thought it was only ok, she was right though it wasn't amazing by any stretch.

    Desert was a really rich chocolate cake and lemon ice cream , tasty, perfect to share, too much and too heavy for one person...

    Anyway, overall this meal was nice enough,  I wouldn't be rushing back there though. Plus a big thing for me is when tables are way too close together. If this was a busy evening and you're just a couple you can be guaranteed you'll practically be sitting at the same table as 2 people that you've never met before, hey that might be a bonus for some!

    However, it is rubbish when restaurant's try to cram the extra few tables in for the extra few bucks, more than understandable in the times we're in but in the long run I believe this has an effect on custom. Fine during the summer I guess as there will be so many one time only visits.

  • 3.0 star rating
    2/5/2010

    Yeah I was a bit underwhelmed by my visit to the Winding Stair. The combination of food and dining experience didn't quite live up to the hype. Firstly we had booked a table before the rush - as had about 5 other groups, but I have no idea why they decided to seat us all beside each other. The restaurant filled up about half an hour later, but for that time it felt like we were all weirdly huddled together in a corner.

    The early bird menu is on a blackboard, rather than paper,  and cleverly it was out of my eyeline... it seemed unappealing anyway, but I couldn't peruse it at my leisure, which is an essential part of the dining experience for me.

    We ordered ala carte. The food itself was pretty good, although my steak was inconsistently cooked and not quite to my specification. The chips are fuck off good though. Kind of like the ones in the IFI. My dining companion is a veggie and the options seemed to please her.

    My big beef is with the layout and the chairs. We were sitting so close to other people that it was like having dinner with them, so no chance of an even semi-private conversation, and the chairs, the chairs, they're those wooden cafe chairs which is fine for a coffee but after a full meal my arse was going numb. Oh and they brought the bill before we asked for it, just after we had got dessert. All of those things would be fine in a cheaper place, but at the prices that the winding stair charge you should be having a comfortable, unrushed dinner. Although I guess the place was full and they're not having a problem with custom (is it really that exciting to sit near a shelf of books while you have dinner?).. but it really wouldn't be my choice to return... but if I did return I definitely get chips again!

  • 2.0 star rating
    30/4/2012

    There are some restaurants that get a little bit above their stations, complacent and arrogant. The Winding Stair is one of them.

    I had friends visiting from the States at the weekend and was bringing them out on Friday night for some dinner and drinks. They wanted Irish food. I wanted to steer clear of Temple Bar. The Winding Stair came to mind. Irish but modern. It had been a good year since the last time I was here and from what I had remembered it was good but to be honest not amazing.

    So I will start with the good..... I got the smoked fish plate for starter. This was really good. Smoked oysters? Oysters scare me. These oysters changed my opinion.  I am not as scared anymore.

    Unfortunately this was the only thing that impressed me about the 2 hour dining experience.

    I did not find the staff terribly friendly.  I actually thought there was something aloof and insincere about them.

    I ordered the venison.  Medium.  It came out well done.  It tasted like stewing steak.  Strips of meat, like minute steak.  Really bad.  €25 is a lot to be paying for something not cooked correctly or even if it was cooked correctly it just seemed like bad venison.  I said nothing as we did not have a huge amount of time to be waiting for another plate of food to be prepared.

    My friend ordered the same but medium/rare.  It was also well done.

    This came with colcannon which was really very average.  The sauce/gravy was terrible too.  

    The 2 other guys ordered steak (which was overdone also) and pork ribs which was the nicest out of the 4 dishes.

    I found the beer overpriced too.  €6.50 for a bottle of beer?  Seriously?

    When we were leaving there were at least 3 staff members beside the doorway and as we were walking out the door I tried to make eye contact with them to see if they would say goodbye.  They looked at us and not one said goodbye or thank you.  This really put the nail in the coffin for me for this restaurant.

    With the tip, starter, main and 2 beers we paid €55 each.  Save your money and try somewhere else.  I wont be back!

  • 5.0 star rating
    1/10/2012
    1 check-in here

    It was our last night in Dublin, and we wanted something really good for dinner. Not too fancy, but high quality and relaxed. The Winding Stair TOTALLY fit the bill. We didn't have a reservation (which is HIGHLY recommended, even on a weeknight), but lucked out and got a table by arriving early. The staff were warm and helpful, and the view of the sunset's light over the Liffey was outstanding.

    My companion ordered shrimp on toast to start (huge! yummy!) and the pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon for her entree.

    I ordered the fritters (fried cheese? why YES!) for my starter and the smoked halibut for my main. SO decadent and flavorful.

    We also got a taste of the soup du jour, which was an amazingly rich and creamy peanut pumpkin soup with fresh cream and ground corriander. Exquisite.

    For dessert, we split a whiskey covered (I assume Jameson's) bread pudding that was really good, but not the best we'd ever had.

    All-in-all a terrific meal and a lovely memory. Check it out if you get the chance.

  • 5.0 star rating
    1/10/2012

    One of the best meals I've had in the last 6 months in Dublin.  The atmosphere was cool, relaxed and not stuffy at all.  Even on a Monday night, the place was packed and had a good buzz.

    Our table of 4 ordered a couple appetizers, mains, a bottle of wine and a few desserts.  I don't think there was a crumb left on anyones plate.

    With a great atmosphere, great food, great service and good wine, what's not to like?  We will definitely be back here.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1/10/2011

    I had a big group here, and I thought it was a pretty good Dublin dining experience.  We used the upstairs space for drinks before eating, and the service was attentive and friendly.  The staff were also helpful advising on wine choices (which went down well) and timings etc.

    We moved downstairs for dinner, and the good generally went down really well.  I had the crab claws to start, which were exceptional, and everyone else seemed to enjoy their other choices.

    The mains were slightly less-universally liked (my wild boar was a bit tough though everything else on the plate was great) but still pretty good.

    But what makes this place is its character and location - nice feel to the place inside and out.  Without this, the food would leave it as definitely 3-star, but the whole experience bumps it up to a 4.

  • 4.0 star rating
    19/8/2009
    First to Review

    The Winding Stair restaurant is as delightful as the bookshop of the same name downstairs. It's quite popular so make sure to make reservations before you go.

    The upstairs has the most amazing view of the Liffey and Ha'penny Bridge. The restaurant quarters are a little cramped but the smallness of the place makes the dining experience more intimate and cozy.

    The menu has a nice balance of vegetarian and meat dishes. I ordered chips and aoili and the pork with potatoes and mushrooms. It was very tasty but a little heavy. My sister's goat cheese and squash tart was a better choice. We were so stuffed by the end of the meal that we couldn't eat any dessert.

    Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this restaurant. The service was the best part of the night. The waiters were very professional and quick.

    • Qype User kingof…
    • Dublin, Republic of Ireland
    • 13 friends
    • 133 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    1/2/2010

    The perfect combination of food and books. After you purchased your books in this Dublin literary institution, why not spend your lunch at the restaurant upstairs. Or, instead of buying dessert you may wander around the 2nd hand section of the bookshop (which is not big, so there's not much for browsing here). Always great for a chat in the bookshop & delicious food in the restaurant upstairs.

    It now belongs (together with the restaurant) to the Thomas Reads-group, which fortunately seems to have no influence on the bookshop itself.

  • 4.0 star rating
    23/11/2011

    People talk about the book store downstairs, but honestly, I didn't even see it.  It's very much a restaurant up a not particularly winding flight of stairs.  The space is nice and modern, befitting the modern take on classic Irish fare.  Based on what I read I was expecting to like the Pig's Ear more, but it ended up being the other way around.  We started off with an excellent black pudding appetizer and a plate of different smoked fishes that was generous and delicious.  For an entree I got the pork belly with colcannon.  The pork belly was juicy and tender, but the crispy skin was chewy like chewing gum.  It was tasty, fatty, porky chewing gum, but it stuck to my teeth and was hard to get off.  The colcannon, though, was terrific, nice creamy potatoes matching the nutty, bitter greens.

    While I liked the food, the local craft beers from Porterhouse left a lot to be desired.  Not sure what I was expecting, but I would've rather had Guinness.

    It was a solid meal overall, I'd go back.

  • 5.0 star rating
    21/6/2013

    Last night my co-workers and I (there were 4 of us (3 Americans, including myself, and 1 Dubliner)) visited this restaurant. The atmosphere was superb - homey but elegant. The view outside the windows was terrific.

    The food started appearing. The charcuterie board was fabulous and I really enjoyed the fact that there were non-pork meats. The lamb and steak charcuterie were very flavorful. There was this crab salad under this hard clarified butter appetizer which sounds weird but was SO good. We also had the butternut squash soup, which the super helpful waiter split in to cups for us. The main meals were divine. I had the mussels and cockles and was very sad that I wasn't able to finish the dish. Absolutely terrific. The other main courses were equally as good.

    • Qype User SugarS…
    • Liverpool, Merseyside
    • 3 friends
    • 71 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    22/5/2009

    The view from here is stunning, if you can wrestle your way to a window table. The food tastes great, and the service and cost are reasonable.

    I remember the coffee being good, too.

    However: if you suffer any kind of allergy, be careful. I asked if a particular dish was possible without an ingredient that is likely to send me into anaphylactic shock. The waiter assured me it was. The kitchen merely scraped off the offending ingredient. Anaphylaxis ruins your evening.

    And they never responded to my complaint letter.

  • 5.0 star rating
    3/7/2013

    Myself and a close friend made reservations on a Friday night.  Despite how busy they were they ensured there was a place ready without fail, near the windows overlooking the Liffey.  I thought that was quite a nice touch on a rare sunny day.  Seating was prompt and maneuvering was surprisingly easy, despite how tightly packed the space seemed to be.

    The two different fish courses we ordered were lovely, with well-recommended red wines for the both of them.  One of the things that surprises on every visit was just how perceptive the staff seem to be.

    All in all a delicious place to bring a loved one to, with friendly, courteous and attentive staff.

  • 5.0 star rating
    20/4/2011
    Listed in My Ireland Trip

    I found the winding stair through a "Good Food Ireland" guide - be sure to pick one up if you're visiting. Like the other restaurants in the guide, Winding Stair features locally produced ingredients, so that may account for some of the higher prices than other places. All in all however, its not so bad for a more upscale restaurant. We spent about 50 euro for 2 entrees and drinks. It is definitely worth it, in my opinion.
    My dish was wonderful - rhubarb stuffed pork loin with roasted potatoes, greens, and black eyed peas, in a creamy, fruity sauce. It was a cool mix of old and new world cuisine. The pork had that amazing flavor that differentiates small local producers from CFO meat. The vegetables were cooked so perfectly, too.
    Special accolades go to our server, who recommended two excellent local-made brews. They have a great beer and wine selection here.
    Also I loved the atmosphere. Its small inside, sort of intimate, romantic, and has large, strategically placed windows that overlook the river without somehow also overlooking the road below. Magic!

  • 4.0 star rating
    7/12/2009

    5 because it's the best meal I've had in Dublin and I love the space itself. 4 because not everything was as good as everything else and the service was slightly bizarre. (And because I tend to review based on my expectations.)

    Atmosphere/decor: Any restaurant with a big block print of Oscar Wilde and a robins egg blue enamel pepper grinder on the table immediately gets my vote. But it's also got a definitive casual bookish bistro feel that I love. You feel intellectual eating here. Wine, beer, and food specials are up on blackboards that are actually visible from every table (maybe a first?). Matching dark wood floors, tables, chairs, and a little bar that you wish had room to actually sit at. The room is small and the tables are tight, but the way they're set up does not make it feel like you're eating on top of another party. So key. Love that you can see the kitchen through a small diner-esque service area. I think they've done an amazing job with such a small space. The service flow is so, so important in a restaurant and often underestimated. Servers wear adorable white and red striped aprons and owner/manager was so casual-stylish...I wanted to hang out with him.

    Food/drink: There's so much on this daily changing menu that it's a little overwhelming. And everything sounds amazing. I might suggest editing, but why bother? They do a 2 or 3 course prix fixe which will help you make your choices but I stuck with a la carte. Salad and soup of the day were both pretty perfect and incredibly fresh and simple. I had a smoked fish starter - oh my gosh! Like...a tray of Irish sushi. Brown bread, butter, pickles, capers and a lot of fish (including eel) I had never had smoked before. It was rich and I couldn't finish it, but pretty spectacular. I had a blue cheese polenta entree with veggies which was unfortunately a little boring and a little bitter. Like they couldn't come up with a second vegetarian option. The other veggie option - lamb's cheese and veggies in filo was much, much better. Creative and quite well done. My dad won the best entree award with a venison dish in black cherry reduction with sweet potatoes and kale. So unique and so spectacular! Stew-like textures with an incredible combination of flavors. They have an excellent bottled beer selection (I missed you Belgium) and a good variety of wines by the glass. My glass of rose was just ok and I think a little overpriced. You know when you have an incredible meal and then the dessert falls flat? That is NOT the case at Winding Stair. The only bummer was that they were out of the only chocolate dessert on the menu, so my mother was left without her chocolate fix. I had a cardamom yogurt with pomegranate. I have no words to describe it's simple delectability. A great way to end a meal. Their bread and butter pudding with whiskey sauce is one of the best things I've ever eaten. Order this dessert if it's on the menu! I can no longer order bread and butter pudding anywhere else without being disappointed. Coffee was also good with cute, crispy cookies.

    Service: this joint is run well. Most of the time I didn't realize I was getting service...which is my favorite way to get it. I'm having a difficult time thinking of anything that was neglected. My only, only complaint was sort of the energy of our server. Everything else about the restaurant was so excellent and I really thought she could have matched the energy of our table. But she came on so strong it was almost rude and when my mother did not understand something about a dish, she just repeated the same thing louder. If anything will make you feel like an idiot, it's that. So yea, she wasn't too good with the questions. Oh and when I called to make a reservation they said yes, but limited my dining time to 2 hours. Eh. I guess...

    But overall, my kind of place, my kind of food. You're getting the best, freshest ingredients prepared with a lot of expertise and creativity. It's not precious, it's just excellence. When do I get to go back??

  • 4.0 star rating
    12/9/2010

    Love Love Love this place. I used to come here before it was a fancy lil restaurant for a cup of tea or some soup. Since then a lot of water has passed under the bridge but this place has not lost any of his quirkiness nor the friendly service.

    I had booked a table for 2 @ 8. When we arrived our coats and umbrella was taken, we were guided to the table and the specials were pointed out. While we decided on what to eat water was served.

    The place was busy enough and every single of the 15-20? tables was full. Sometimes in small places with no music and a lot of ppl talking you feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable because you can not understand your company - not here. Even though everyone was talking and had a good time, it was not really noisy.
    The view was great too - straight onto Ha'penny bridge.

    Finally we settled on wood pigeon with beetroot, the smoked chicken salad, the cider marinated pork neck and fried portobello mushrooms.
    Picking the wine was a bit harder - due to the 10 pages wine list and numerous specials listed in the restaurant. The friendly waiter helped us out and we finally settled on my second choice, a fruity Riesling.

    My BF normally does not eat salad, but he could not stop eating the yummy smoked chicken salad. The chicken was tender, the pears delicious and soft and the salad was darn smoky. Finished of was the whole dish with blue cheese.
    My wood pigeon was delicious too - very tender and the salad on the side was divine. Just the perfect amount of vinegary dressing to accompany the pigeon perfectly.
    Then the main courses came and darn - I still dream about this cider marinated pork neck. Juicy and tender with this delicious aftertaste of apples and cider served with an incredible rhubarb sauce. - a rhubarb, cider, apple and meat explosion leaving every single of your taste buds screaming for more, more and even more.
    Next to the pork the portobello mushrooms went slightly under, still nice to eat though, very light and perfectly rounded due to the layers of potato boxty, spinach, mushrooms and toped with blue cheese.

    The deserts were fantastic too. We ordered rhubarb crumble and  apple & pear cobbler. Both were served hot with ice cream on the side. Tasting the delicious sweet and hot cobbler brought back memories of past christmas in front of a fireplace - the steaming hot dish infused with cinnamon & apples .... hmmmm

    I can't wait going back for seconds, maybe with a bunch of friends this time since the restaurant can easily accompany groups up to 6.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1/12/2010

    I adored this restaurant.  We went for a casual lunch without a reservation, but probably should have had one.  It was quite busy.  We opted for the 2 course lunch for €17.85.  My husband had a goat cheese terrine (of which I ate half and then licked the plate) and Rose livers (?).  I had kidneys on toast and Irish sausages on mustard mashed potatoes.  Both were delicious.  The only reason I did not give 5 stars is because neither of us enjoyed the liver.  The Rose flavor was wildly overpowering, but perhaps that is just our taste.  Excellent service and perfect atmosphere.

  • 4.0 star rating
    8/9/2010

    I wanted a true Irish food experience so I left my choices up to the chef and I was not disappointed!  Additionally, the wine selection is outstanding.  If you are in Dublin, I would highly recommend going as it was just as good as going to the top rated restaurants I went to.

  • 4.0 star rating
    18/9/2010

    Went for a late lunch with a reservation. Had a nice seat overlooking the Liffey (Swim). Food, decor and service were great. Opted for a 2 course special as the menu was a little pricey, yet mouthwatering. The food was delicious. Hope to return.

  • 4.0 star rating
    7/9/2010

    I have read so many great reviews about this place that I had to check it out on our trip to Ireland this summer. The food was absolutely outstanding! I would have given it 5 stars but a few things annoyed me:
    1. When they first seated us, we were right by the kitchen and the door to the bathroom AND there was a big lamp that my head kept bumping into! We asked to be moved.
    2. It was really crowded and warm- they should have turned up the AC.
    3. The tables were really close together so I could hear everyone's conversations and it was hard to get up and go to the restroom.

  • 2.0 star rating
    9/5/2011

    Passable food - good only if you cook meat like the English do (until it dies again).  Was thrilled to get dinner reservations (good luck getting walk-in tables on the weekend).  Ordered black pudding with chorizo for starters, and stuffed pork with rhubarb for main course based on previous yelp recommendations.  Mediocre, at best.
    Black pudding was okay - a bit salty and a bit overcooked, but reasonably enjoyable.  My friend apparently scored a hit with the seafood chowder.  The condition of the main course was unforgiveable:
    Pork slice was overcooked dry, with the rhubarb doing little to salvage some internal moisture.  In contrast with the super salty chorizo, the meat was actually bland.  Overall, the pork tasted like a previously frozen item prepared on a George Foreman grill.
    Plan was to let the waitstaff know of my disappointment at the customary two-bite status check.  Perhaps this is an American phenomenon, but it didn't happen.  Like a good soldier, I sawed apart the pork and shoved it down.
    There was no way I was staying for dessert, particularly with the price tag.
    The last time I was this disappointed with dinner was when I ordered T-bone steak at the Buckles Family Restaurant in Williams, AZ.
    Don't get the pork.  The fish looked good on a table next to mine - if you must go, try that.

  • 3.0 star rating
    25/7/2012
    Listed in Dinners to Impress

    I keep getting bad seats in this place. Last time I was beside the loo, this time beside the kitchen serving space. At least the smells were better this time. This is very nice food but I just am not mad about the place. I don't know what it is about it. It's a swanky place I might bring someone I wanted to treat, but it's not a place I think about outside of that context. Go figure.

  • 3.0 star rating
    26/10/2012

    Tried : Smoked haddock : good but may not try again.

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