Isn’t GRUEL the best name for a restaurant?


Gruel is just around the corner from the Temple Bar district, and across the street from the Dublin Castle.  Dame Street is crazy busy, and this restaurant is tucked away amidst the chaos.  The neon sign lured us in.

Gruel happily does take away or sit down.  In fact, we were humming and hawing about a sandwich, and the staff behind the counter were exceedingly patient and helpful.  I have to say the service in Ireland far exceeded most service I’ve had in Edmonton – in Ireland, even in the big bustling city of Dublin, people made eye contact, smiled and were friendly.

RANT ON: I was at an Edmonton coffee shop yesterday, and over the entire transaction, the young lady did not say one word to me and also did not cease gossiping with her co-worker.  I was as if I did not exist, except for the exchange of money.  This happens a lot here.  I used to blame it on the boom because there was a glut of jobs, but we cannot say that now the we are in a recession, can we folks? RANT OFF.

OK, back to Dublin.  Yes, the service is personable at Gruel.  But in our limited experience, the food was tasty too.  If you don’t believe me, here’s a food blogger that loves Gruel too.

We were tiring of eating in sit down restaurants, so we got take away (called ‘hand out’) sandwiches and a salad to haul up to our hotel room.  (Have I mentioned that The Clarence is the best hotel I have ever stayed in?  Ever?  More on that later).

I had an aubergine and avocado sandwich and a deluxe roasted vegetable and goat cheese salad.  The sandwich was on a soft whole wheat bun with generous fillings and the salad had spinach and chickpeas in it and was just dreamy.  The best thing I’ve ever eaten sitting on the bed of a hotel room.

the output from gruel

the output from gruel

Gruel reminded me a bit of Salumi in Seattle – and for you Edmonton folks – remember that little place on 104 street (where Tzin Wine Bar is now) that used to serve the best porchetta take away sandwiches?  All the bike couriers went there.

Well, it was just like that, but it was in Dublin.  So I guess that might have made Gruel even tastier.

68 Dame Street
Dublin, 2, Ireland

queen of tarts, dublin
queen of tarts, dublin

We were in Dublin for the first three days of our trip, and it took me a while to unearth some food gems.  I had a few missteps with too-brightly-lit cafeteria style places.  I vowed to do better, and discovered the Queen of  Tarts on our second day in for breakfast.

The Queen of Tarts was just around the corner from The Clarence, where we were staying in Dublin.  (More on The Clarence later.  I LOVED THE CLARENCE).  I’d term many of my foodie finds in Ireland as delightful because they were – quaint and authentic and dedicated to the fresh and the local.

Oatmeal is called porridge in Ireland, and Aaron had a big bowful of it, along with brown sugar and maple syrup.  While the maple syrup is Canadian, the brown sugar was very Irish, and served on all tables along with white sugar.

proper irish porridge
proper irish porridge

Mike and I had scones, which seemed appropriate at a place called the Queen of Tarts.   Much of the food in Ireland overlapped the British, but don’t tell the Irish I said that because they have a long, understandably fraught relationship with the UK.  Scones and teas were very common, and ours at the Queen of Tarts were very soft, flaky, warm and delicious.

scones and jam

scones and jam

The cafe was small and jammed with tables and I found out afterwards that there is a bigger version of the Queen of Tarts in the alley just around the corner.  No matter – clearly someone had been up since 3 am baking the delicious for the customers.  This was greatly appreciated by us weary travellers.

window at queen of tarts

window at queen of tarts

Queen of Tarts

4 Cork Hill, Dame Street
Dublin 2


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