Beloved of theatre-goers, a veritable Dublin institution, and renowned for glamour, the Trocadero has been around for years.
Last weekend, it was my mum’s birthday, so SnackBox and I took her there for the three-course, €25 early bird before heading off for a few drinks. The Troc is well-known as a “celebrity” haunt, which sounded quite off-putting; I remember spending an evening in that other Dublin celebrity haunt, the Unicorn, eating vastly overrated, mediocre food while an enraptured audience cheered on a drunken singing and dancing Eamon Dunphy. I thought how, if he wasn’t famous, he would have been asked to leave.
The Trocadero, however, was a far more enjoyable experience. When we arrived at 6.20pm on a Friday evening, the place was buzzing and the atmosphere was electric. It’s impossible not to be immediately enchanted: pictures all over the walls, perfect lighting, and plush red surroundings give the Trocadero the feel of a glamorous Parisian restaurant.
It’s much bigger than it appears from the outside, yet it feels quite intimate inside. Many of the waiting staff have been here for years, and they treat every customer as though they’re a regular in a neighbourhood restaurant.
The food is simple and old-style: deep fried brie and pate for starters, meat, chicken or fish with potatoes and vegetables for dessert, profiteroles for dessert. We all had the sea bass, and it was very enjoyable: cooked to perfection and served with just a hint of chilli in the butter.
It’s perfectly lovely, but it’s not the greatest food you’ll ever eat in your life. I’m loathe to say this, but it doesn’t matter: what the Troc offers is comforting, familiar food done well and the best ambience you’ll find in Dublin.
When we booked, we were told we’d need to be out before 8pm, but we didn’t feel rushed at all and stayed an extra half hour. The perfect start to an evening out, especially at this time of year: it’s impossible not to leave with a smile on your face.