Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
We don't have it too bad for restaurants down here in Cork. We've had great meals in Gleesons in Clonakilty, Casino House in Kilbrittain and Broly's in Bandon.
Unfortunately most of the places in Bandon target the lower end of the Market and it's nice to see Broly's trying something better. It is a coffee shop/cafe during the day and they re-jig for more upmarket dinner at night. Good tasty food. I hope they do well but it was empty the night we were there before Christmas.
Other places in Bandon we've tried; Roccos - not too bad mid-ish-range place. Overuse of microwaves tho. Sorrento - very average Italian but the kids liked it.
Takeaways in Bandon (all sit-down too): Anarkali Indian - one of the better Indians around. Ho Kee Chinese - pretty average. Rainbow Chinese - started well, degenerated very quickly. Hong Kong - not bad (used to have a fantastic name "Memories of China", why change it to something so utterly crap?)
[Gleeson's](http://www.gleesons.ie/) has given us some great meals over the last two years but the last meal was a let down - just lacking in flavour. The service by Alex and her team is always top class and extremely friendly.
Casino House got voted [best restaurant in Ireland](http://www.ireland-guide.com/awards/2.asp) by Georgina Campbell which tells you everything you need to know - fabulous food in an awesome setting. Proving that being situated in the middle of no-where is no disadvantage if the food is good enough.
Our most recent expedition was into Cork City to eat at [Les Gourmandises](http://www.lesgourmandises.ie/aboutus.htm) in Cook St (always makes me smile - where else would you have a restaurant? Also the barber on Sheare Street still causes a grin). I first heard of these in the RTE program last year about small businesses starting up. They had a baptism of fire but their commitment to the food shone through the program. I got a voucher for de wimmin in Passage to go there recently and they raved about it. So it was about time we checked it out.
The starters were both excellent. Very tasty, great attention to detail. My Red Snapper main was fabulous. Catherine not a huge fan of her Pork Belly but there was nothing really wrong with it, it just didn't suit her. We should probably have swapped plates. Desserts were good but not enough chocolate sauce on Catherines. When will restaurants learn? When a woman orders a chocolate dessert, she does not want to be short-changed. If sauce is involved, bring out a jug of it. None of this "dab here" "dab there" nonsense. Service was efficient and very discreet. Not cheap tho - ?106 for two with just half a bottle of wine. But we'll definitely be back.
Where is left to try in Cork? Cafe Paradiso obviously. Need to go back to Jacobs on The Mall. The Ivory Tower was just a bit too kooky for the sake of it to build up any loyalty. And we have a voucher for [Otto's in Dunworley](http://ottos-creative-catering.com/) from CandT which we will use very soon. What sort of nutter sets up a restaurant 20 Km from anywhere down a windy headland in West Cork? And then makes a huge success of it? Bloody genius.