On our recent trip to Dublin and London, one of the main things on our to-do list was to enjoy some good meals. Dinnertime at home with a three-year-old is far from relaxing or luxurious, so we wanted to enjoy some dining experiences on our adults-only trip that we can’t replicate at home. I think we were successful in meeting our goals, and I’m excited to share a few of the places where we chowed down in case you have a similar trip in your future. This is by no means a foodie blog, so I’m not going to be able to tell you that the such and such spice brought out the such and such flavor, but I will tell you if I thought it was good or not. One of the ways I love to experience different locations is by the food, and atmosphere matters just as much as food quality. I want to actually feel like I am in a different location, and most of these restaurants did a good job with that.

If you want to play catch-up, here are the other installments in this (almost finished) European trip report.

European trip to London and Dublin: Planning

US Airways Envoy Suites to London

Getting To and From London Airports

Sheraton Heathrow

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin

Things To Do in Dublin

Get Out of Dublin for Amazing Sights

Westin Dublin

British Airways to London

Andaz Liverpool Street (London)

Eating Our Way Through London and Dublin (this post)

Since our first night on this trip was spent eating at a restaurant outside of Windsor, I will start my highlighting with some of our better meals in the greater London area before moving on to Dublin.

The Winning Post:

The Winning Post is located in an 18th century building in Winkfield, which is just outside of Windsor. It is about 20 minutes from Heathrow Airport by car. It has a bar, restaurant, and ten rooms where you can choose to stay. We just went there for dinner, but it was a meal and location full of character. It was a fun way to spend our overnight near Heathrow without feeling like we wasted a night of our vacation.

20130408-134624.jpgThe ceilings were a little low, so duck if you are over six feet. It gave the place a homey feeling on a snowy February night.

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20130408-134821.jpgTheir menu seems to change regularly, but one of our favorites was an appetizer platter shown below. It was huge and after eating it we could have likely just split an entree, but as usual our stomachs were bigger than our eyes and we ordered a ton of food.

20130408-134845.jpgWhile I enjoyed everything, I felt like the standouts were the meats, breads, and coffee.

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Most entrees seem to run in the £15 – £20 range, so not McDonald’s prices but not insanely expensive either. My only regret about our meal here is that it was already dark when we went to the restaurant as otherwise I think we would have been in for a very nice and scenic drive. They do accept reservations on their website.

Afternoon Tea at Brown’s Hotel (London):

A friend insisted that I have afternoon tea at the Brown’s Hotel while I was in London. The hotel touts itself as London’s first ever hotel that opened in 1837 and continues to be a top five star hotel in the Mayfair part of London.

20130408-141015.jpgTraditional afternoon tea is £39.50 per guest and gives you your choice of 17 teas and a variety of finger sandwiches, pastries, fruit and plain scones with cream and strawberry preserves, as well as a choice of freshly baked cakes. They replenish it as often as you like, so there is no reason you will do anything other than roll out of there. In other words, come hungry.

20130408-141045.jpgI opted for the traditional choices, but they had a low-cal option as well that actually looked really good.

20130408-141100.jpgThe scones and salmon/lox sandwiches were my favorite, but I didn’t come across anything that wasn’t pretty good.

20130408-141116.jpgOh and of course there was tea that was pretty enjoyable as well. All in all it was a very relaxing way to spend a couple of hours just chatting and enjoying being in London having an experience that we could have never had at home. While our daughter was not there on this trip, it would be a blast to take her for tea when she is a bit older as she could enjoy reading books about it in advance and getting all dressed up for the experience.

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I do recommend making reservations ahead of time if you want to do tea at Brown’s Hotel as they seemed to be quite busy.

Bentley’s Oyster Bar (London):

Bentley’s Oyster Bar has been open in London since 1916 and still uses the same marble topped bar. You can eat at the oyster bar, outside, or at an actual table. We had reservations for a table, but opted for the bar as we like the interaction and weren’t really hungry enough after tea to warrant a table.

They have a full menu, but we opted to just try different oysters. Where we normally eat, there is usually just one or maybe two types of oysters, so having over a dozen was quite different for us. We let them help us select different oysters so we could taste a variety of flavors (and yes they do all taste different). We made reservations ahead of time on TopTable (the UK version of OpenTable).

The atmosphere here was great, as were the oysters and service. I would like to come here again when I am not stuffed with scones, but I’d have to plan on spending a lot more as even just a few oysters added up relatively quickly.

The Winding Stair (Dublin)

The Winding Stair hasn’t been around as long as some of the places we visited in London, but it makes up for it with a good view and good locally sourced food. It is located on the river Liffey in Dublin and you must go up a winding stair to get there….shocker, huh?

We actually didn’t have reservations here, but went right when it opened for dinner and they were able to give us a window seat as long as we promised to be done by a certain time.

We opted for their pre-theatre menu where you must be done (and gone) by 8:15PM. The three course menu is €29.95 per person. For the first course I had the potato cake with smoked salmon and cream. It was amazing – I’ve craved it since eating there. Pretty much everyone around me was ordering this same first course.

For the second course I stuck with the fish theme and while it was great, I wish I could have tried more local produce that they seem quite proud of.

All in all we thought the restaurant was a good value with a great view.

The Pig’s Ear:

This restaurant advertizes “no frills seasonal Irish food” and that was enough to sell me. It is located very close to Trinity College and the Westin Dublin. We went right when they opened for lunch and took advantage of the two course lunch €17.95 though we did add the bread for €2.95.

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20130408-155342.jpgFor the first course I had some pork which was presented in a little glass jar.  It was great as it was actually really functional for making sure I was able to spoon out every last juicy drop!20130408-155405.jpgThe second course was a hashed duck pie that was equally beautiful and delicious.

20130408-155436.jpgThis was literally real “meat and potatoes” type food that made it feel like we really were in Ireland.  I know not everyone likes to experience new places with their appetite, but we sure do.

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On this trip our strategy was often to get one free meal from the breakfast included in the hotel, and then have one “big” meal out per day – most of which are shown here.  That makes the price tag that can come with some nicer meals much more palatable…though we did a pretty reasonable job of using lunch and pre-theatre menus when possible to keep costs down.

Do you like to experience destinations via local food and restaurants when you travel?  If so, I’d love to hear your favorites!

 

Posted by Mommy Points | 13 Comments

13 Responses to “Eating Our Way Through London and Dublin”

  1. Ryan from MA says:

    Great post!…i’m going to London next week and I was wondering did you have any opinion about the London pass or the 2 for 1 deals or just any attractions to def see or NOT see

  2. mommypoints says:

    Ryan, food and rest were our two main attractions in London – especially since we had just been there are few months prior and didn’t have all that much time there. I really wanted to go to Churchill War Room and the Imperial War Museum, but I just ran out of time for the former and the later was closed until sometime this summer. We did go to Tower of London and that was good, though pricey (suggested donation I believe).

    So, those are all ones I wanted to do, but I only made it to one. I had done some of the other sightseeing like Buckingham, Big Ben, etc. on a previous trip.

  3. Robert Hanson says:

    @Ryan If you mean the half price theatre tickets, make sure you go to the official TKTS ticket booth in the center of Leicester Square. The area is filled with rip off shops pretending to be the official one.

    For anyone interested in world history, the British Museum is just stunning. Entrance is free, and there are free guided tours much of the day, usually around an hour about a special topic: Egyptian, or Roman, or Greek etc. They have the schedule on line. It would take days to see it all.

    For anyone interested in art, from medieval thru post impressionist, the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square is incredible. Again free, with a hour long guided tour of four or 5 paintings twice a day, different paintings each tour. Daily 11:30 and 2:30, be a little early as they do start on time. No sign up, just meet the guide at the Sainsbury Wing Information desk.

    The Impressionist section here is wonderful. {don’t confuse this with the National Portrait Gallery next door, which is just a bunch of portraits of people you have never heard of}.

  4. Jen says:

    Just landed in MSP from LHR via Bus Elite on Delta. great timing on your story. If you go make sure to visit Bath and Oxford, worth the trip. Sixt upgraded us to an E320 Mercedes for 10 pounds extra per day or less than 30.00 total US per day. Amazing trip

  5. A. S. says:

    Yummy!!!

  6. Dell says:

    I hope you ventured all the way upstairs to the restroom at The Pig’s Ear. There was some interesting artwork and it was quite a long walk upstairs when I visited last year. Great review!

  7. AM says:

    What, you didn’t have any Indian food in London?! Chicken tikka masala is widely known as a true British national dish.

  8. tassojunior says:

    I don’t understand the no fees on BA DUB to LON. I keep getting 9K Avios plus $155 fees rt.

    • mommypoints says:

      tassojunior, from DUB – LHR I am seeing 4,500 Avios + 22.50 in taxes/fees, and RT I am getting 9K + $45 taxes and fees, so I can’t replicate what you are seeing.

  9. tassojunior says:

    That’s really odd that I keep getting 9K plus $155 fees on BA. I’ve tried several times and also tried a few other close cities with similar fees.

    • mommypoints says:

      tasso, yeah I don’t get it. I did the search again last night and still got the same low fee amount. Are you actually to the point of booking and it still says the higher amount?

  10. Louie says:

    I’m guessing tassojunior doesn’t qualify for Reward Flight Saver – “Our newest type of reward flight is designed to offer better value on shorter flights. Reward Flight Saver is available on British Airways and Iberia flights in zones 1-3 to members who have collected at least one Avios in the last 12 months. All you pay is Avios plus a flat fee or Avios & Money plus a flat fee — we pay the taxes, fees and charges for you.”

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