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“Staff lovely , food not great”

The French Paradox Wine Shop & Wine Bar
Ranked #293 of 2,831 Restaurants in Dublin
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$11 - US$57
Cuisines: Wine Bar
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, After-hours, Reservations
Description: Ballsbridge's The French Paradox is the stuff of food legend. Imagine this, you have popped in to buy a bottle of wine from the range of more than 150. Hang on a minute, they offer freshly baked bread too... And cigars, cheeses, oils. It is enough to make your stomach gurgle with longing. And how on earth are you going to choose from those bottles, each one glinting at you cheekily? I suppose you could head for the tasting room and just try a little sip of wine and, seeing as your there, a dish or two from the amazing menu of French tapas-style dishes. A little charcuterie, a few cheeses, perhaps a larger salad or omelette now your stomach is in the mood. Now, what was it you came out for again?
Reviewed 5 August 2017

The French staff were very welcoming , professional and efficient
However the food on the prix fixe menu was poor
Caviar d'aubergine looked awful and did not taste much better
Warm 'silk purse' was a pigs ear complete with cartilage with pork meat on toast
It looked disgusting and I can't imagine anyone other than a die hard Frenchman eating ear cartilage
The cassoulet was a poor imitation of the classic Toulousain dish - quite oily with large chunks of fatty sausage and a paucity of white beans and flavour
The smoked salmon salad was average and again looked messy on the plate
Tarte tatin was excellent as was the café gourmand

Wines are expensive - entry level €29 quickly rising to € 40 -50 for regional wines and much higher for decent Bordeaux etc.

Overall a disappointing evening

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank graham w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pierre C, Manager at The French Paradox Wine Shop & Wine Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 8 August 2017

Dear Graham,

We are very sorry to read your disappointing experience with us. We were saved from total humiliation, thanks to our staff performance and your sweet tooth that gave top marks to our tarte Tatin and our café gourmand. These positive comments go straight to our hearts.
Perhaps a misunderstanding about the type of place we are is at the origin of your shocking but helpful review.
Since our opening in 2002, every decision we took was to stay as close as possible to our vision: for our wine shop, a simple and unintimidating place where a lot of the Old World wines that had disappeared from the shelves in Ireland could be found again. For our Wine Bar, a casual, romantic, intimate place where the wine culture would be made available through a selection of French and Spanish wines and their associated local gastronomy. The French Paradox is built around reasonably priced wine and the food its supporting actor. We use a State of the Art Wine Keeping equipment that allows to order 6.25, 15, 18.75 cls glasses, 25 cl carafe to gently discover wines that people might have never heard of. But full bottles are also available from our 160 wines selection. At the very beginning, we were only serving a range of artisan cheese and cured meats charcuterie. But the first winter saw the demand of our customers become more precise. The Food & Wine matching game became more elaborate. We asked our producers their advise. Nobody better than a winemaker from Languedoc can recommend a dish that goes well with his red Minervois or full body Terrasse du Larzac. In this case, it is a Cassoulet from Castelnaudary with duck confit. When we venture in the South West of France, true rugby territory, with Cotes du Marmandais or Madiran, the Basque specialties from Pierre Oteiza reign.
We are aware of the initial repulsive sentiment a stuffed pig's ear can trigger but we recorded the same negative reaction with:
- the duck gizzards, we had to introduce as duck delicacies
- the Andouille (basically a tripe sausage) that we named chitterlings
- the Boudin noir (100% pig blood sausage) that were christened Basque Black pudding
- some pungent types of cheese have made our regulars, at the beginning, uncomfortable.
After 1 year or so, by public demand, we finally told our delighted customers what they really were eating. It was refreshing to see on their face the expression of this slight sentiment of being fools with pre-conceived ideas. If a die hard Frenchman eats it, why can't an adventurous Irish person eat it too? In our experience, ladies seem to be more adventurous that their male companions, as far as unusual type of foods are concerned.
Apart from the curing process that we do not master, we have opted to make our own French Tapas dishes in our kitchen, such as tapenades, hummus, caviar of Aubergine and foie gras . The rest, like our wines, are coming straight from the Producers.
What we are not? We are definitely not an aspiring Michelin star restaurant. We are almost embarrassed to be called restaurant. We also have too much respect for chefs and their crew who kill themselves day after day trying reaching the Holly Grail of the star system that is anyway, between you and me, not for the decent middle class family budget without a Company credit card. We are also not an aspiring Provencal joint, trying to bring the Med to Dublin. We are not great fans of mega clear rosés that are so light they could be whites.
Your comments have, however, resonated with some evolution debates we are having with our Team about the portioning of our dishes, the rebalancing of some of them where there might be too much healthy food such as salad, introducing more and more seasonality, more unusual foods, a more casual and unintimidating approach. We are as always working very hard to be in harmony with our faithful clientele, and to be attractive to a new breed of customers. When we read your review, it was not hard enough, but we cannot have been so wrong if we are still alive after 15 years. Let's call it a massive misunderstanding and we hope you will give us another chance.
The last lesson we get is that we should make the learning and discovery process everyone goes through with us more obvious and accepted, for the sake of more pleasure and happiness only.

The Team of the French Paradox
Wine Shop & Wine Bar
Est. 2002
A small family business in the heart of Dublin 4

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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30 - 34 of 195 reviews

Reviewed 4 August 2017

Lovely little spot with great food (the salads are huge, by the way), a wonderful wine selection and friendly and efficient staff. Loved it.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank wheelie07042
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 July 2017

I had two simple lunches at the French Paradox - just the soup of the day and pate. Both were delicious. Food and service were of the highest quality though my order was so modest. Highly recommend.

Thank Istemewa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2017 via mobile

I've dined in this amazing little Resturant / Wine bar on a number of occasions. Both pre Leinster rugby (who play close by in the RDS arena) with my pals and also when looking for a nice romantic evening with my wife. The standard of food and service always excels. The resturant itself is beautiful, a rustic interior which matches the rustic French food it serves. The wine list is incredible and delicious. Finish with the cheese board if you can manage it.

Thank Eddie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2017

You could be in a Paris backstreet restaurant this place is so French! Delicious french dishes accompanied by the finest wines served by French men with humour!

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    • Food
Thank Eddie G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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