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Why isn't a great restaurant like Shanahan's in the Bridgestone 100 Best?

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.
Thursday evening in Shanahan's, and the place is leppin'. It's so busy, that there are folk who are even eating downstairs in the bar, and elsewhere there isn't a table to be had. Confident, smart staff negotiate the three floors of the complex, always charming, completely in control.
The little amuse of foie gras is perfect, the trio of Irish salmon is spot on, the scallops are small but excellent, and the meats are pitch perfect – the petite filet, the New York striploin, the fine rib-eye. Side orders are simple as they should be – good mash, good creamed spinach.
So, if it's all this good and this professional, then why isn't Shanahan's top of the Bridgstone pile? If we can agree that a capital city needs big, brassy restaurants such as this – and the demand for tables on a quiet week in October shows that indeed we do – and if we can agree that they do what they do superbly, then how come they ain't critical darlings?
Simply because the nature of a big, brassy restaurant such as this means that there isn't room for any true individuality to shine though, and that is what the Bridgestone Guides are about. We are after the quirky, the maverick, and you can't run a big operation such as Shanahan's in that fashion. We respect what they do at Shanahan's, and even if there are glitches – we were entertaining a visitor from France, and the restaurant had no Irish cheeses!, never even mind the Irish raw milk cheeses we were hoping to introduce to our guest! – you can forgive them because the theatre is so fine. So, a great place for a Big Night Out, and not a place to worry about the prices, and a slick, calm, business-like operation that purrs with energy and pleasure.

Ireland the Best 100 Places

NEW! Ireland the Best 100 Places

Hardback, out October 2019

John and Sally McKenna have selected 100 extraordinary Places throughout Ireland that epitomize what is unique and entrancing about the beautiful island of Ireland.

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