Dublin restaurant review
The weekend trip to Belfast was miserable, and I am ecstatic to be back in Dublin. Throughout the trip, I needed to consciously discern between what I can eat and what would bring about inevitable food poisoning. I did not have the opportunity to splurge on a good meal in Belfast, and so, fast food from shoddy restaurants was all I ate.
We pull up to the side of Trinity college and exit the Bus. I stretch my legs, for the first time in hours, and my stomach begins to growl. Now that I am back in Dublin, I know that I need a decent meal.M. J O’Neill’s is just down the street from Trinity College’s front gate. Up a block from Dame Street and onto Suffolk Street. We had visited the pub at one point during our Literary Pub crawl. We only had twenty minutes to slam down a pint, so I opted out of eating there. In those twenty minutes, however, I remember staring at the food bar and peoples plates; everything looked delicious. As my stomach’s noises become increasingly louder, that exact food I had seen at M.J O’Neill’s is on my mind.
I dodge a double-decker bus turning at the corner and pull the door open into O’Neills. I am sure I have entered through the gates of Heaven as my nose immediately fills with the scent of steak, potatoes, and Guinness. I beeline for the food bar and wait impatiently behind a line of irritating old Italian women with cameras. The walls are covered with vintage metal signs and advertisements. “Drink Guinness it’s Good for you!” one says with a pint of smiling froth. People are scattered all over the bar, sitting on high chair tables and at small corner booths. I see a Woman’s plate stacked full of mashed potatoes, Wicklow lamb shepherd’s pie and mushy peas. My cravings start to get the best of me, and I decide to just splurge a little. Most of the menu is over 10euro in the hot food aisle while sandwiches vary from 2-7 euro.
The food options are vast, and each looks freaking delicious. I literally cannot decide which meal to get- I wish I could have one of each. All I can think about is a never-ending spiel of all of O’Neil’s fresh cooked food, and then about going back to their sandwich bar for dessert. A cute ginger guy with a chef’s hat cuts slices of steaming corned beef. Could I marry him? Would he give me free corned beef if I offer? I decide against it and opt for the breaded stuffed chicken smothered in Irish red cheddar with a pineapple slice on top. The serving size surpasses my fist’s size, but I still want to ask for that salmon dressed in white cream sauce and lemon. Rather, I get some rosemary potatoes with soft cooked carrots and a lot of gravy. A Scottish woman cuts the line and gets to walk off with her food before me; I am pissed but let it go as soon as I get to the register. After ordering a Carlsberg, the total is just over 15euro luckily the meal looks like it will be completely worth it. I find a seat at a small high table facing a large screen showing a hurling game.
I heard later on that Dublin won a big game that day, but I couldn’t tell you if it is the one I saw on that projector- I am way too consumed by my meal at O’Neill’s. The food is so good that despite hitting satisfaction around halfway through, I force myself to nearly clean my plate. The chicken is incredibly savory while the potatoes are rich in flavor. The Irish cheddar is a nice addition to the crunchy breaded chicken and dried cranberries are embedded within the stuffing. I drench my potatoes and carrots in a dark, thick gravy which adds a bit of a sweet flavoring. I feel nostalgic for a Thanksgiving turkey feast, but if anything, I wouldn’t mind having this meal on holiday instead. O’Neill’s is a special treat, and my stomach feels redeemed following the shoddy food in Belfast.