For over thirty years this spacious, elegant French restaurant in a Georgian townhouse adjoining the Merrion Hotel has been the leading fine dining restaurant in Ireland.
Approached from the street or directly from the hotel through a fine drawing room, where drinks are served, this Dublin restaurants bright, airy room is enhanced by an outstanding collection of Irish art (inspiration for the bespoke carpet which sets the tone for the restaurant), and opens on to a terrace and landscaped gardens which make a delightful setting for drinks and al fresco dining in summer.
Head chef Guillaume Lebrun has presided over this fine kitchen since the restaurant opened in its original premises in 1981, and is renowned for exceptional modern classic cuisine, based on the best Irish produce in season with menus changed daily.
His luxurious, wide-ranging menus include a wonderfully creative 8-course Dégustation Menu at €130, with a shorter midweek alternative offered at €90; at the other end of the spectrum, a daily table d'hote lunch menu has long offered the best value fine dining in Ireland.
Contemporary French cooking at its best, combined with the precision and talents of a team of gifted chefs, produces dishes of dexterity, appeal and exceptional flavour: a speciality starter of lobster ravioli, for example, is made from Clogherhead lobster coated in a coconut scented lobster cream and served with hand made free range egg pasta, toasted almonds and lightly curry-flavoured olive oil.
The main course house speciality is a magnificent dish of Challan duck (for two people) and, in due course, an assiette of chocolate ends your meal in spectacular fashion, with a plate of no less than five cold and hot chocolate desserts.
Consistent excellence is the order of the day: cheeses are supplied by Sheridan's cheesemongers, breads are home-made, and the mostly French wine list includes some great classics, alongside some reasonably-priced offerings - from a magnificent cellar of some 25,000 bottles.
A visit here is always an experience to treasure, each dish a masterpiece of beautiful presentation, contrasting textures and harmonious flavours, all matched by faultless service - under the relaxed supervision of Restaurant Manager Stéphane Robin, service is invariably immaculate, and Patrick Guilbaud himself is often present to greet guests personally.
Every capital city has its great restaurant and this is Dublin's gastronomic heaven: Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud continues to set the standard by which all others are judged.
* Blending the history of this remarkable restaurant with forty recipes and photography by Barry McCall, a beautiful book 'Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud The First Thirty Years' is available from the restaurant and can be purchased online through their website; all profits go to the Irish Hospice Foundation.