The jaunty canopy and hedged-in pavement terrace are at once inviting and stylish, and the interiors at Marcel’s don’t disappoint either.
Inside you’ll find a smart dining room with a faintly retro sensibility featuring beautiful orange leather chairs, button-back banquettes and patterned Arabesque wallpaper.
Mismatched glass lamps throw light onto crisp linen tablecloths, while the open kitchen sits snugly in a wraparound wall of wood. It’s cosy, chic and comfortable, all the hallmarks of a welcoming neighbourhood restaurant.
Filling the shoes of the late lamented Expresso Bar, which occupied this premises for years, the new incarnation feels more relevant, vibrant and enthusiastic. Staff are relaxed but attentive and there’s a welcoming vibe in the air.
Sister to Exchequer Street’s The Green Hen, menus tick all the crowd-pleasing boxes, with offerings like steak, salads, risotto and a variety of seafood. It may sound low-key but this is modern Irish bistro fare at its best. Each dish delivers great flavour and is handsomely presented with thoughtful accompaniments.
A simple starter of heritage tomatoes, goat’s cheese fritters and basil gel shows there’s excitement about great ingredients. Roast fillet of halibut might star with clever prawn and dill gnocchi and a piquant bisque, while fillet steak comes exceptionally well dressed with crispy shallot rings, duxelle mushrooms, excellent chips and a fine green peppercorn sauce. Someone clearly enjoys cooking at Marcel’s.
The concise wine list offers a great choice of wines by the glass and there’s a surprising selection of Bordeaux wines. Prices are mid-range, with Marcel’s Sunday lunch menu especially good value. Serving 2 quality courses for €20 there’s a tempting choice of roasts that’s proving popular with locals looking for something more satisfying than brunch.