This bustling Ballsbridge bistro has been a hit since the day it opened. Today, Executive Chef Paul Cartwright's imaginative, reasonably priced seasonal menus please a large number of appreciative regulars at lunch and an early dinner, and also an evening à la carte menu - and founding chef-patron Colin O'Daly's paintings adorn the walls and the menu card, which has a delightful reproduction of his "Sensitive study of a young dancer in morning light".
A lively interpretation of classical French cooking gives more than a passing nod to Irish traditions, world cuisines and contemporary styles, and carefully sourced ingredients are the sound foundation for cooking that rarely disappoints.
Breads (from the in-house bakery and also available to purchase), may include sliced yeast loaves, bacon & onion, tomato and pesto flavours, gluten-free bread and brown soda. Many specialities have evolved over the years: Dublin Bay Prawns are always in demand (and may be served with coriander scented wild rice), for example, and an upbeat version of traditional Kerry lamb pie is another favourite.
This first floor Dublin restaurants service is usually attentive and efficient, although high demand can sometimes lead to a rush to turn around tables too quickly; but everyone loves the buzz, and Roly's has always given value for money - they offer a good range of wines at an accessible price.
Offering quality with good value has been the philosophy of the restaurant from the outset; this it continues to do well on the whole, and the set menus - notably the pre-theatre - offer particularly good value.
* Roly's Cafe & Bakery also open on the ground floor, 7.30am-10.30pm. A relatively recent addition to the original (1992) bistro, the café is ideal for a casual bite; also sells breads from their own bakery and dishes (a range of about 15) to take home. Value and innovation are key features here; interesting initiatives include 'pops' starters - a menu of 5 dishes presented lollipop style and perfect for sharing - and tapas style desserts, offered in a display unit at the front of the café at just €1.95 each.