10 romantic restaurants for Valentine’s Day (it’s tomorrow)

Looking for romantic inspiration? Here are 10 of the best tables to impress your Valentine

Glovers Alley by Andy McFadden in Dublin 2

Glovers Alley by Andy McFadden in Dublin 2

 

Chefs and restaurant managers say it is the worst night of the year to dine out. But their negativity about February 14th may have more to do with the logistics of accommodating a full house of tables for two, with heightened emotions and expectations, rather than antipathy towards amour.

Here are 10 of Ireland’s most romantic places to dine a deux.

Glovers Alley, Dublin 2

The new “hot-ticket” on the Dublin dining scene would be the perfect place to impress a significant other. A €1.3 million makeover has given this room, overlooking St Stephen’s Green, a sophisticated and luxurious new look. Chef and co-owner Andy McFadden’s Irish sourced, French influenced menu is garnering universal approval. Executive pastry chef Aoife Noonan’s rhubarb, blood orange, opalys chocolate, vanilla creation, with its pretty as a picture pink and cream tones, might just be the perfect St Valentine’s dessert. gloversalley.ie

Piglet Wine Bar, Dublin 2

Decadent 18th century Venice and one of its most famous residents, Giacomo Casanova, are the inspiration for a seven-course menu (€55) at Piglet Wine Bar, hosted by co-owner Enrico Fantasia. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you have to be excluded from the St Valentine’s day shenanigans – single bookings are welcome at this event. Oysters, of course, along with sardines, pasta, chicken and chocolate feature on the menu, with cheese served pre-dessert, in the French style. There are two sittings, at 5.30pm and 8.30pm, and bookings are being taken on 01-7079786. pigletwinebar.ie

The Lady Helen at Mount Juliet in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny
The Lady Helen at Mount Juliet in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny

The Lady Helen at Mount Juliet, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny

This sumptuous room with its three tall windows overlooking the river Nore, is the perfect blend of grandeur and comfort. Michelin-starred food from executive chef Ken Harker and head chef John Kelly is sophisticated and elegant, and perfectly in tune with the surroundings. It’s the perfect place to indulge a Valentine who doesn’t eat meat, as the nine-course surprise tasting menu can be vegetarian and may feature treats such as potato and truffle ravioli with duck egg yolk and hazelnut. mountjuliet.ie-/the-lady-helen

Wilde at The Westbury, Dublin 2

Something of a well kept secret, this gorgeous space steeped in 1930s glamour is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner for two. Request a table in the conservatory and nab a Lloyd Loom chair at the picture windows overlooking Harry Street. Classic sole meunière might be the perfect Valentine’s night/Ash Wednesday order. Preface dinner with a cocktail at the stylish Sidecar cocktail bar. wilde.ie

Moran’s Oyster Cottage, The Weir, Kilcolgan, Galway

There’s something timeless about this 300-year-old cottage with its familiar menu of oysters, salmon, crab and prawn platters and bowls of chowder and mussels. For optimum romantic impact, try and snag a snug in the original cottage, rather than the vast extension. moransoystercottage.com

La Fougère at Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, Co Mayo

The redesigned dining room at Knockranny makes full use of the cinematic views of Croagh Patrick and Clew Bay that unfold outside. Time your Valentine’s dinner to coincide with sunset to get the full impact. But the predominant feature of this jewel of the west is the assured cooking from head chef Seamus Commons. Locally landed fish and shellfish is a highlight. knockrannyhousehotel.ie

La Fougère at Knockranny House hotel in Westport, Co Mayo
La Fougère at Knockranny House hotel in Westport, Co Mayo

Chez Max, Baggot Street and Palace Street, Dublin 2

Nobody beats the French when it comes to putting the ooh in amour, and these two lay on the Gallic charm with a heavy hand. Choose the Palace Street venue if your idea of a loved up dinner is sitting elbow to elbow in a jam packed and buzzy space, or opt for Baggot Street if a spacious, weather-proofed outdoor room is more your scene. Classic bistro fare, including staples such as onion soup, goats’ cheese salad, and moules frites, won’t deflect attention from the person sitting opposite you. chezmax.ie

The Demi-Salle at Chapter One, Dublin 2

A former coal bunker might not sound like the most romantic spot in which to enjoy in a special meal, but this sunken den, secreted away in a hidden corner of the Michelin-starred restaurant, is special. Totally secluded, with banquette surrounding a hand-carved Irish elm table. There’s a minimum booking requirement of four people, so you’ll have to team up with a similarly loved up duo for this one. chapteronerestaurant.com

Catalina restaurant at Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh

The lough views from the dining room seal the deal on the inclusion of this Enniskillen five-star here. And if it was good enough for the G8 Summit in 2013, it’s good enough for a pair of love birds. Executive head chef Noel McMeel has designed a seven course Valentine’s tasting menu featuring Kettyle fillet beef and chocolate delice with salted caramel gel and caramel ice-cream. lougherneresort.com

Catalina at Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh
Catalina at Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh

Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare, Co Kerry

If a window seat at The Falls restaurant, overlooking the eponymous water feature on the river Sheen outside, isn’t romantic enough, the hotel’s wine cellar can be hired for a private dinner. The candlelit space is home to 10,000 bottles of wine from 18 countries. Arranging for dinner to be served there carries a €200 booking fee, but what price love? sheenfallslodge.ie

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